Pizzarium Brings the Roman Art of Pizza to Downtown

By Hannah Sentenac Mon., Aug. 20 2012 at 9:00 AM

Italians know their way around a pizza. Hundreds of years before the first NYC pizzeria was hawking slices to harried commuters, Italy’s poor were eating it in the streets. In fact, the citizens of this European country are so serious about the craft that they have their own authority on all things pizza — Universita della Pizza.


Romans, in particular, are masters at creating a style of light, crisp crust topped with gourmet edibles that puts most American versions to shame.

Luckily for Miamians, two men have brought the Roman tradition to downtown in the form of Pizzarium, an East Flagler Street beacon for hungry cube-dwellers. Organic ingredients, a light and fluffy crust, and utterly unique flavor combinations are the benchmarks of this modern, spacious eatery. With two weeks under its belt, this Romanesque pizzeria has received primarily positive buzz.

Co-owner Massimiliano Saieva had a vision of bringing healthy, unique pizza true to Roman tradition to Miami, and he stucks to it when sourcing ingredients and crafting their menu.

Saieva, who’s spent 15 years in kitchens across Italy and Venezuela, is a member of the Universita della Pizza, and he even brought in one of the association’s champions (yes, Italy has pizza champions) to assist with the opening. Their vegetables, dairy, and dried fruit are all organic.

Other ingredients, including mozzarella, burrata mozzarella, olive oil, etc., are Italian DOC (denominazione di origine controllata – a quality-control standard).

The dough rises for 96 hours (about 94 hours longer that at your standard pizzeria).The limited amount of yeast and extended rising time lead to an almost focaccia-like crust, albeit not as thick – lightly crisp on the bottom, soft and airy on top. The pies are square –sheet-pan-style –as are the slices Pizza varieties include appealingly unique fusion such as the earthy “Funghetto” – a blend of mushrooms, porcini mushrooms and Truffle cream. Or the sweet and savory “Zucca gialla” – a mix of pumpkin cream, round pancetta and smoked cheese.

They also offer some of the more popular flavor combinations, including “Margherita” and “Caprese”. There are a whopping 27 varieties, and the options will rotate out regularly. Not all will be available at all times, but guests can always count on a robust assortment.

Though the establishment stocks standard pizza accouterments such as red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese, it does so grudgingly. “I almost cringe when I see people pile it on, often without tasting it first,” Co-owner says. “That can make it lose the subtleties of flavors.”

Every week will bring new recipe twists, and they plan to experiment with uncommon combos, including grapes with cheese and pumpkin cream, amaretto di Saronno, and Parmigiano.

So stop by for a satisfying slice of Roman tradition. Your Papa John’s-weary taste buds will thank you.