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Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

Pizza may be one of America's favorite foods, a food that has become more American than Italian, with slices in cities from east to west offering a different take on how to best combine three basic ingredients: dough, cheese and sauce. There's New York-style, Chicago and Sicilian. Some bake up a thin crust, while others are thick and gooey. And what was once basic shredded mozzarella has now moved to include dollops of cream-like goat cheese, or finely shredded blends of imported and aged specialties.

Today, when it comes to pizza, anything goes -- and personal taste means every place has its fans and its haters. In South Florida, we all have our favorites.

But there's still good pizza and bad pizza, no matter how you slice it. To help navigate the South Florida selections, we've taken the liberty of selecting the area's best pizza joints, from the old-school mom and pop spots that to the rustic coal-fired ovens that produce some stellar gourmet slices.

See also:

- 2013 Readers' Poll Finalists: Voting Ends May 29

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

10. Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria

Although it's somewhat of a chain with locations in states like Nevada, Arizona, New Jersey and New York, Grimaldi's pizza is a top favorite for those that live above the West Palm Beach line. According to Grimaldi's, everything from the coal used to cook the pies, to the water that makes the dough, is specially imported. The coal-fired, brick-oven-baked pizza has a unique flavor with a crisp, crunchy crust (here considered a New York-style slice) thanks to what Grimaldi's claims is 100 years worth of pizza-making tradition. How? First, they use a special Pennsylvania coal called anthracite, delivered to each location monthly, which burns cleaner and more eco-friendly than gas or wood. The fires are stoked daily at 4 p.m., a way to keep things consistent, and thanks to the fuel source the ovens are known to get intensely hot, baking the pizza quickly and evenly. As if that's not enough, the restaurant also claims to have hired a chemist to find the exact formula of the Brooklyn location's water so they could recreate the exact mineral content for a replicated taste profile.

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

9. Camilli's Pizza

This Lake Park pizzeria has been serving up slices since opening its doors 45 years ago. Even though they don't deliver, this hasn't stopped people from coming back -- year after year -- for a taste of one of the best pies around. Anyone born and raised in the North Palm Beach area has most certainly had a slice or two of this "Chicago" style pizza, one that has a thin and crunchy crust, and is delivered to your table steaming hot with tons of cheese, light on the sauce. Three generations of Camilli's have worked the small restaurant, but it's owner Ken Camilli -- born in Minnesota -- who founded the place. His recipe for the dough is Chicago-born, passed down from his uncle who visited the city in the '50s and shared the secret weapon for making some of the best pizza around.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

8. Vito's Gourmet Pizza

Serving Fort Lauderdale and Coral Spring since 1999, Vito's offers this American staple with ingredients made in-house, from-scratch -- everything from the dough and sauces, to the marinated toppings that offer more than 30 flavor combinations. The brushed-crust, stuffed-crust and gourmet pan pizzas offer a wide variety of shapes, styles, toppings and texture. If you're lucky you'll catch a glimpse of owner and pizza-maker Vito Maffei hand tossing his dough to make the restaurant's thin crust New York style pie. Oh, and they deliver, too.

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

7. Franco & Vinny's

Franco & Vinny's "pizza shack" restaurant offers Fort Lauderdale a taste of hand-crafted pizzas made using fresh spices, imported olive oils and meats from local butchers have mastered the art of the artisanal pizza. Here, everything is made in-house using only super-fresh, specialty and imported ingredients. Of course, the dough is made fresh daily, a secret recipe crafted in small batches to ensure a consistent product. The pies come in three sizes (11" up to 16") and you have a choice of 10 toppings, including favorites like bacon, meatball, sausage, pepper and mushroom.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

6. Nick's New Haven Pizza

After moving from Lake Worth to Boca Raton, Nick's New Haven has moved right on up -- our list, that is. The restaurant opened its new 4,600-square-foot space in 2011, a far cry from the original, tiny Lake Worth Nick's. The only thing that hasn't changed: the pizza. It's still amazing. The real secret, according to its owners, is in the sauce: A 20-year-old homemade recipe. We're willing to bet the hand-built coal pizza ovens have something to do with it, too. Affectionately referred to as "the Dragons," these giant, tile-faced ovens are heated to about 750-degrees and pump out hundreds of New Haven-style "apizza" (pronounced a-beets) each day. That means a thin-crusted pie delivered blistered around the edges with your choice of gourmet toppings. Enjoy!

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

5. Brooklyn Boys Pizza

The Brooklyn Boy pie in Boca Raton is what some say is South Florida's closest find for a New York slice. Interesting, however, seeing as the place is now owned by a pizza-cooking Latino. Although it was Italian-owned for years, the recipe -- as well as the taste and quality -- remain. The thin crust is baked up just right for those who don't like super-floppy or extra-crispy. It's not too thin, and not too thick, either. Despite a good plain pie slice, a "must" here is the white pizza. A mix of ricotta, mozzarella and pecarino romano cheeses and no sauce make this a house specialty worth trying.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

4. Umberto's of Long Island

Pizza experts have traced the history of the famed "Grandma" slice back to this Long Island establishment, the first of which opened in New Hyde Park in 1965. And just what is a "Grandma" pie? The basics rules say it's a thin layer of dough stretched into a square "Sicilian" pizza pan, topped sparingly with shredded mozzarella, crushed (uncooked) canned tomatoes, fresh-chopped garlic and a good dousing of olive oil, then baked until the top bubbles and the bottom is crisp. For more than 40 years, Umberto's has been known as the spot to go for some of the best Sicilian-style pizza not only on Long Island -- but in South Florida -- where the family extended its locations in the mid-70's to include restaurants in Fort Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton and Pompano. Here, expect to find a pie that is well-charred on the bottom, with the perfect balance of sauce and cheese, and serving their signature pie, the Grandma, made with the original recipe of house fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, garlic, fresh basil, oregano and olive oil.

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

3. Scuola Vecchia Pizza

Scuola Vecchia in Delray Beach is truly old school style, which means the recipes -- and the pies -- are straight from Italy. This is as close to authentic Neapolitan pizza as you'll get in the area, everything made with housemade ingredients the old fashioned way, including the mozzarella and dough. Even the Acunto wood-fired oven was delivered straight from Napoli, Italy, baking pizza in just 90 seconds with temps that reach an astounding 1,000-degrees. Throw in pizza-making trainer Roberto Caporuscio, President of APN America, a nationally accredited Neapolitan pizza making school, and you have one hell of an authentic pie.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

 

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

2. El Tamarindo Pizza & Continental Cuisine

El Tamarindo -- which is about to celebrate the opening of its fourth location in Lighthouse Point -- opened its third location in Deerfield Beach last September, what is a growing list of family-owned establishments originally from Fort Lauderdale and Hallandale. Chef Néstor "Alex" Amaya is the man behind the magic. From El Salvador, Amaya -- who came to South Florida at the age of 12 -- began working in the restaurant industry, starting his career in the kitchen at his uncle's restaurant, Bella Napoli, as a prep chef. Amaya later owned and operated his first restaurant in Miami. In 2003, at just 23, Amaya opened El Tamarindo Cafe in Fort Lauderdale, a contemporary restaurant serving his own brand of Latin American cuisine. Today, his newest location in Deerfield Beach (and now Lighthouse Point) is known for its pizza, which is unique thanks to a doughy crust.

Ten Best Pizza Places in Broward and Palm Beach Counties

1. Pizzeria Oceano

Pizzeria Oceano takes a "slow food" approach to pizza, leveraging daily-bought, mostly local ingredients to create thin-crusted pizza perfection. The 450-square-foot bungalow-style restaurant in Lantana is little more than a shack, just a table or two inside to eat, with a drape of Christmas lights strung from the roof to the wooden patio that seats only a few more tables nightly. Each day, a new menu is printed that lists the days ingredients and specials, most locally sourced (and fished from nearby waters). The occasional imported cheese or specialty ingredient finds its way into the mix, but for the most part its a seasonal pick. The true beauty of Oceano's pizza is its crust, a crispy bed to lay out these marvelous gourmet toppings. It's a dough that's made fresh, daily -- and in finite amounts. If you get there too late, the dough may be done (especially on a busy Friday night) and they won't make more on the spot just to satisfy the line out the door. So get there early, and set up shop on the outdoor patio. You won't be disappointed.

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Want access to our Best Of picks from your smartphone? Download our free Best Of app for the iPhone or Android phone from the App Store or Google Play. Don't forget to check out the full Best of Broward-Palm Beach® online at bestof.voiceplaces.com.

Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.




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