Taste Of The Town: Old School Italy Has Arrived At This Miami Beach Eatery

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Welcome to Antico Pizza Napoletana, Miami Beach’s newest little Italy.

At the helm is Chef Giovanni Di Palma –  a celebrity pizza maker who has quite the celebrity following with his first multi-concept pizzeria which opened in Atlanta back in 2009.

“I decided in Atlanta. I found an old bakery in a bad neighborhood. I thought what do I have to lose? I took a shot and it became a cultural phenomenon and it’s number one in America on Zagat and “Best Pizza” on The Food Network.  Now we’re here on South Beach. It’s Atlanta with palm trees and better weather,” said Chef Gio.

Chef says Antico Pizza is not a restaurant concept.

“Everything in this building, this neighborhood, my neighborhood is my life, my family, my lineage to my grandfather. So everything you see here comes from not just Naples but our town in Naples,“ he explained.

First and foremost is the dough.

“The dough takes two days to make. It’s mostly done all by hand. It’s Italian yeast, sea salt and a water we use in Atlanta and send it here to Florida,” Gio said.

For CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo’s Santa Margarita Pizza, the chef added fresh mozzarella from Naples, then San Marzano tomato sauce and fresh Buffalo mozzarella along with fresh chopped garlic, fresh basil and olive oil.

The oven has ancient Santa Maria brick.

“Underneath the stone is volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius and sea salt hardened, so that oven is 800 degrees. It never gets cold,” he said.

Chef says it’s all about the constant turn for the perfect bake.

“So 75 seconds from now, that’s going to be a pizza,” said chef.

“75 seconds,” asked Petrillo.

“Yes, 75 seconds and you’ll be chewing,” he said laughing

He timed it perfectly.

“Chef, that is an amazing pizza. The cheese, the sauce, the dough. It’s really special,” said Petrillo.

“Send him up. Send him up,” yelled Chef Gio.

The next thing Petrillo knows, they are a few floors up waiting for Giuseppe, Gio’s brother, to send up her Porchetta. It’s Italian roasted pork, broccoli rabe and melted provolone pressed on a fresh roll. Up it came in a basket!

“The pork is super thin and moist. The broccoli rabe gives it a crunch and the bread is soft and gooey and delicious,” Petrillo said.

With their signature sandwiches, award-winning pizzas, class Italian dinners, it’s clear that old school Italy has most certainly arrived in Miami Beach’s Art Deco District.

Pizza Antico is open 7 days a week – all day and night. Click here for more info.

CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo would love to hear from you. Please send us a suggestion at tasteofthetown@cbs.com. You can also contact Lisa through Twitter or Facebook

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