July 6th, 2009

Miami Pizza Crawl Part III

Sosta

Sosta pizza

Heavy pizza eating kicked off my holiday weekend last Thursday during the third installment of the Miami pizza crawl. This time around the group visited three Lincoln Road restaurants: Sosta, Piola and Spris. Overall, this crawl was the weakest of the three crawls but there were some good pies in the mix as well as some serious disappointments. Here’s the recap.

Sosta

Siciliana pizza at Sosta

Siciliana

Sosta was the only one of the three that I hadn’t previously visited. We sat outside but a quick look inside revealed a sleek, modern-looking interior at the old Johnny Rockets space. The kitchen is fully visible from the dining room and wine bottles line the walls. The menu is predominantly pizza but it also include some pastas, several salads and a good selection of antipasti.

We chose:

  • Sosta - sundried tomato spread, mozzarella, burratta and prosciutto
  • Siciliana – anchovies, capers, black olives and basil
  • Carpaccio – beef carpaccio, arugula and parmesan
  • Brie and speck (from the white pizzas)

Maybe I was expecting too much from Sosta’s pizza. Though I didn’t dislike it, it didn’t blow me away as I expected after reading various raving reviews prior to my visit. The crust was good; not too crispy, not too thin but it also didn’t have a notable flavor. Of the four pies we ordered, the Sosta was my favorite. The sundried tomato spread had a nice flavor to it and I liked the addition of the burrata. Others favored the Siciliana but I’m not a fan of capers or anchovies so that made this pie a non-candidate for me.

Carpaccio pizza at Sosta

Carpaccio pizza

On paper, I liked the idea of the carpaccio pizza but where I would’ve liked the beef to stand out, the parmesan eclipsed all other toppings making it disappointing. In the the brie and speck, I actually liked the flavor of the speck but the pizza seemed a little dry and the brie didn’t really add much to it.

Piola

Piola pizza

Posillipo

Our next stop was Piola. I’ve been there several times before and never has it been as disappointing as it was on this visit. Perhaps it was the choice of pizzas or maybe something changed in the kitchen or maybe all the other pizzas I’ve tasted of late have put it into perspective.

The pies we ordered here were:

  • Piola - sun dried tomatoes, basil, tomato sauce
  • Curitiba – Catupiry cheese, artichokes and hearts of palms
  • Carbonara – bacon, egg and parmesan
  • Posillipo – anchovies, oregano, cherry tomatoes

I first tasted the Posillipo. This was from their Neapolitan pizzas, meaning it has a thin crust but thicker edges. The crust at Piola is ultra-thin, think cardstock, so it didn’t really hold the toppings on this pie very well. The tomato sauce was thin and runny so that you couldn’t really hold up the pizza without things starting to slide off.

Piola pizza

Piola

The Piola was my favorite here. It was nothing impressive but it was the best out of the group for me. I was one of the people in the group who vouched for the Curitiba as I really like catupiry, a Brazilian creamy cheese. Unfortunately, the artichokes and hearts of palm added nothing to the mix, making the pie quite bland.

Spris

Patata e pancetta

Patata e pancetta

As we headed to the last stop of the night, several of us commented on how blah this crawl had been. Thankfully, Spris somewhat redeemed the Lincoln Road pizza crawl and emerged as the favorite for most.

The four pies we ordered were:

  • Carbonara – pancetta, egg, parmesan and black pepper
  • Frutti di mare – calamari, clams, shrimp and mussels
  • Ortolana – grilled eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, roasted peppers and portobello mushrooms
  • Patata e pancetta – pancetta, thinly sliced potatoes, rosemary and parmesan

Frutti di mare at Spris

Frutti di mare

For me, Spris’s clear win came down to the patata e pancetta pie, my favorite here and of the evening. The combination of pancetta, parmesan and potato worked really well on this pizza. And the rosemary was an extra touch of flavor that made it all more of a pleasure to eat.

The frutti di mare was a good concept but the generous amount of mostly calamari that topped the pie overpowered the crust, making me feel like I wasn’t eating pizza as I could barely detect the crust’s flavor and texture over the taste and chewiness of the seafood. Though I didn’t dislike the carbonara, I found it to be a bit salty. The ortolana was disappointing.  The generous amounts of vegetables atop were divided — each quarter had a different vegetable — so I had to choose which vegetable I wanted to taste. Mixing them on the pie would’ve been a good idea.

Though Spris emerged as my favorite in Lincoln Road, I liked Racks, Pizza Volante and Joey’s much more. And I’m not good with absolutes or favorites so you won’t be getting a ‘best of’ from me. A cop out? Perhaps. There are just some things that I liked more at some of the places than others and I’d likely be happy eating at any of those places. So for now, this is it.

Sosta Pizzeria
1025 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
305.722.5454

Piola
1625 Alton Road, Miami Beach
305.674.1660

Spris
731 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach
305.673.2020

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6 Responses to “Miami Pizza Crawl Part III”

  1. As a huge fan of the Carbonara, I can totally agree that it can be salty from the combo of the prosciutto and parmesan. The Patata e Pancetta could be my new favorite at Spris now though.

    As Ive stated on Chowhound, Spris has been my favorite so far. I guess Im biased because I go there often and have never had a bad pie? Or maybe its because the 2 pies I mentioned above really hit the spot for me? PizzaVolante and Joey’s were good too. I think that, at the end of the day, it will come down to location and desire when I decide what kind of pizza I want. None of those 3 are bad choices.

  2. BM – I agree that they are all good choices and I’d likely decide based on whether I’m in the area. I’ve always liked Spris (the Lincoln Road location) though I had never ordered any of the pizzas we tried last week. The patata e pancetta is definitely on my to-order list now. The potato worked really well on this one versus the one we tasted at Adiamo. Now can I find pizza like this closer to the Gables? :) The Spris there just doesn’t seem to be as good as the one on the beach.

  3. Yeah, the Gables doesnt really have a pizza spot besides Spris that I know of. I know there is University Pizza on Bird Rd but Ive never had a pie there. Cazzoli’s in the Grove used to be serviceable but now its gone and I havent had anything from the place that took over called Boardwalk Pizza (maybe thats closed too?). Ive also never tried Blu in South Miami.

  4. Blu is not bad actually. I’ve been to the one on Brickell several times but just visited the South Miami location once about two weeks ago. I had a quattro fromaggi pizza that really hit the spot. I remember Cazzola’s being really greasy but I haven’t eaten there since college days…

  5. It was Cazzoli’s in the Grove. I think you may be thinking of Casola’s on 17th?

  6. Duh! Sorry, yes, thinking of the wrong place. Never went to Cazzoli’s either. :)

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