141 Aragon Ave.
Coral Gables FL 33134
Let’s be frank: we are total pizza snobs. When it comes to pizza, it takes a lot to impress us. Maybe it is because we had superlative pizza in Naples, and let’s be honest, there is nothing like pizza in Naples. Maybe it is because both of us come from Italian families. Or maybe (and this is probably the most important) it is because Matt’s grandmother has owned and operated her own pizza shop for the last fifty years. In any case, we were surprised to fall so quickly in love with Pummarola, a small restaurant serving up pizza that part Neapolitan, part northern Italian, and part pure Miami. Small with not even ten tables, the tiny space is dominated by a stone pizza oven and a red Fiat 500 car stuck into the wall as decoration. Love it. Maybe an allusion to the Neapolitan traffic?
Pummarola’s menu includes pasta and salads, but the main attraction is the pizza, which is made exactly like we had it in Naples – and thus exactly as we have come to expect it. The obvious reason for this? Everyone who works at Pummarola, from the owner to the pizzaolo, is Neapolitan. Everyone except the ebullient and witty manager, who hails from northern Italy: “I’m the only real Italian here!” he quipped with a wink, echoing the north / south Italian cultural divide. With a Neapolitan pizzaolo behind the counter, it is no surprise that we found the pizza to be purely Neapolitan. It was fun to watch the pizza being prepared and the white tiled pizza oven heating up. We went twice, and each time split a large pizza (which is really is enough for 3). The first was a perfectly-made margherita, with buffalo mozzarella and perfect tomato sauce. Other varieties included spicy salami, truffled mushrooms and pancetta.
On our second trip we had a prosciutto and arugula pizza, also fantastic. L, always one to explore further afield, tried the arancini, which was good, but nothing to write home about. Our quest for a respectable arancine in the US continues. Still, that pizza just blew us away. This was one of the best pizzas we’ve had in this country (not on this side of the Atlantic, though – we’re looking at you, São Paulo) and one of the few that approximated those we had in Naples. We liked both pizzas, but our hat tip goes to the margherita, for its clean flavors. If you are craving Neapolitan style pizza, do not think twice to head Pummarola. It is cheaper than a flight to Naples!