When Italy tells you your pizza is good, you know you have something to brag about.
So three Miami pizza restaurants and one in Key West have earned the right to boast.
50 Top Pizza, an Italian pizza guide to the best pies on the planet, released its 2022 list of the top 50 pizzas in the U.S., and on it were three Miami-Dade pizzerias: O’Munaciello (no. 5) and Stanzione 87 (34) in Miami and La Leggenda Pizzeria (8) in Miami Beach.
Also on the list: Roostica Wood-Fire Pizza in Key West (46).
Here’s what 50 Top Pizza had to say about the South Florida restaurants, which all specialize in Neapolitan-style pies (that’s Naples-style pizza, made with San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala Campana and 00 wheat flour).
O’Munaciello: “Directly from Florence to Miami, tradition is key here, and the menu speaks Neapolitan: the pizza is, in fact, the classic Neapolitan style one. The classic margherita is very well made and there are also many seasonal variations to it. The rest of the classic pizzas are also good.”
La Leggenda Pizzeria: “[Owner] Giovanni Gagliardi is a true food artisan . . . . He created a place to share his passion, creativity, technique, knowledge, and attention to quality with his customers. In his pizzeria, Giovanni carries on the culture and philosophy of the traditional Neapolitan pizza. The service is excellent.”
Stanzione 87: “A Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood-fired oven with a very long leavening, at least 72 hours. The secret is not only in the excellent dough, but also in the tastiness of the tomato sauce that is used, which is top quality as are all the other ingredients.”
Roostica Wood-Fire Pizza: “There is a lot of commitment to the leavening process and it can be seen not only in the Neapolitan-style pizza, which is soft and melts in your mouth but also in the very fresh and fragrant bread.”
The locals earned individual awards as well. Gagliardi, who once participated in a Guinness World Record event (the most people ever tossing pizza at one time, 278, in Naples in 2014) was also honored with the Robo Award for Performance of the Year for 2022. O’ Munaciello won the Made In Italy 2022/Pastificio Di Martino Award.
Gagliardi, who was born in San Felice a Cancello, a small town in the province of Caserta, said he’s honored to represent Miami (his praised margherita pie is served with the motto: “This is the Italian flag in the world!”)
“My pizza is handed down three generations,” he says. “It’s made with simple ingredients — and with a lot of love and passion.”
Miami-born Franco Stanzione, who opened Stanzione 87 nine years ago when he was 23, says he was the first pizza maker in Miami to do a Neapolitan pizza (he even imported an oven from Italy). He believes that the pandemic, during which diners lined up outside his restaurant to buy take-home pizza-making kits, made customers realize the importance of good food.
“I feel like people care more,” he says, adding that Stanzione 87 has made the 50 Top Pizza list in previous years. “The nightclub and bar scene is less and less. Restaurants are replacing them as entertainment. I used to put facts about the food on my menu, then removed them because people didn’t care. Now in my newer restaurants, they do care. I put natural wine on the menu seven years ago and tried to tell people about it, and people blew it off. Now people want to know everything about it.”
The No. 1 pizza in the U.S. was Una Pizza Napoletana on the Lower East Side of New York City. Eight other New York and Brooklyn pizzerias made the top 50.
50 Top Pizza restaurant details
O’Munaciello: 6425 Biscayne Blvd., Miami; omunaciellomenu.com
La Leggenda Pizzeria: 224 Española Way, Miami Beach; laleggendapizzeria.com
Stanzione 87: 87 SW Eighth St., Miami; www.stanzione87.com
Roostica Wood-Fire Pizza: 5620 MacDonald Ave., Key West; www.roostica.com