Miami has lots of pizza joints, and some make very good pies. Almost four years ago Italian American, Franco Stanzione and his wife Ashley decided to open an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria housed in the heart of Brickell. That it survived the last several years of unbearable construction, sidewalk closings, noise and mess is a testament to the quality of their pizza. For those who don’t know, Neapolitan pizza is made from “00” flour imported from Italy. The dough is either kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer. It is then formed by hand and must be thin. The pizza cooks in an Italian wood burning oven in under 90 seconds. The pie must be soft, elastic, tender and fragrant. Stanzione 87 scores on all these points. The sauce tastes perfect and so is the crust.
The restaurant is small – about 40 seats including the bar – the vibe is casual. What makes this little gem extra special is the warmth and friendliness of its owners. They are on the floor to greet you, help with any questions and make suggestions.
The menu is simple, offering snacks and starters, such as wood-fired meatballs made in a wonderful tomato sauce. The mozzarella is made in-house, but when we visited, we opted for the imported creamy burrata e prosciutto with cherry tomatoes and basil. It’s a good dish, but ours’ would have even been better if it wasn’t so heavily salted.
There is a salad section, and a wood-fired entree section with sandwiches, paninis, eggplant parmesan and so on. But the real star here is the pizza. All the pizzas are twelve inches and cooked in a 900-degree wood-fired Stefano Ferrara oven, using only the finest imported and local ingredients. They have about sixteen different selections of pies, as well as allowing you to choose up to two additional toppings.
I decided to go with a Margherita pie because it’s traditional and something you would get in Naples and throughout Italy. Americans tend to add all these extra features on their pies, but Italians often go classic, always with San Marzano tomatoes, tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, basil and Parmigiano. The pie is not overly dressed either. If you are looking for a heavy crust and a pie dripping with cheese and oil – this pie isn’t for you (you may prefer Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza). My husband tried a San Daniele pie with prosciutto, homemade mozzarella, arugula and shaved Parmesan. Next time I might consider the brussel sprout, pancetta, mozzarella, olive oil and Parmesan pie.
Stanzione 87 offers one of Miami’s better-tasting pies. They serve local beers and a small selection of wine. For dessert, we tried a light, lovely, respectable tiramisu. They are open daily for lunch and dinner, except for Monday, on which they are open for dinner only. The restaurant is not far from the Mary Brickell Village, at 87 SW 8th Street. They play nice soft background Italian music, and the glassed in pizza kitchen offers great entertainment. They also do takeout, and I noticed a lot of people doing this.
It’s a cute, friendly neighbourhood spot, that feels attentive and welcoming and follows a simple approach to Neapolitan regional fare.