Saturday, May 10, 2014

My Favourite Pizza Place in Florida, Pizzeria Oceano, Lantana, One of North America's Greats and, in Palm Beach and the charm of Pizza Al Fresco

Pizzeria Oceano, Lantana, Florida (Immediately South of Palm Beach).

This is it....Pizzeria Oceano: no reservations; lineups to get a table if you arrive after 5:35pm and when the dough runs out, and it runs out, they close. I have written about this restaurant before, but, it is worth writing about again. 

The chef very carefully makes one pizza at a time in a wood burning oven of his own design. Here, the pizza crust has the slightly smokey flavour of the wood smoke and is thin, flakey/crispy and delicious. The "non-pizza" items change daily and are often creative renditions of what is available locally from farmers, fishermen and artisanal producers of the region. 

Other than 24 seats outside and seating for 10 inside, this is it. Not too many tables. As you can see, people wait patiently for what they love. The resto opens at "5:30 ish"...anytime between 5:30 and 5:50 and the door is locked till then. It is only open when the outside music starts to play!

Fresh white shrimp stuffing, "dippy" egg and baby celery.

Crispy skinned, fried green tomatoes with zucchini, onion, dill/mustard aioli. They do this  dish from time to time and I love it.  

Not offered on the same day as the above courses, this simple but wonderful, tasty heirloom tomato salad came with manouri cheese, red onions, crispy croutons, olives, herbs and olive oil dressing.

Another dish not offered on the same day is this very good kohlrabi slaw with apple, fennel seed, shallots, and a lemon and creme fraiche dressing.

Trust me, this is the best tasting pizza crust available almost anywhere. Toppings are prime and tasty....but secondary to the crust, in my opinion, and the choice of toppings changes as to the whims of the chef. When I day-dream or get a craving for pizza, I dream about this crust! This one above, is "the basic" with tomato sauce, mozzarella, baby arugula and basil.

These are pieces of pizza of what remains of the delicious smoked pork jowl, spigarello, fontina cheese, creme fraiche and potato.

Offered on another day was this cremini mushroom pizza topped with spring onion, black pepper, fontina, Grayson and mozzarella cheeses.

Pizza Al Fresco, 14 Via Mizner, Off Worth Ave, Palm Beach

For those those steadfast Palm Beachers who do not wish to step away from Worth Avenue, there is a charming outdoor patio. Pizza al Fresco restaurant is an inviting oasis for lunch or snack, in one of the alleys off of Worth Avenue, that offers credible, good tasting pizza that is, however, nowhere near the stratosphere of taste of Oceano, above.

Thin, crispy-crusted pizza topped with rapini, mozzarella and crumbled sausage.

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