Local Review – Harry’s Pizzeria

I’d heard good reviews for Harry’s Pizzeria for a while, but finally tried this Miami Design District restaurant for the first time tonight.

In one word, AMAZING. Let me tell you about it.

1) Valet out front. The Design District is sometimes a place where you don’t want to leave your car… if you can find street parking. And plus it’s been pouring rain for days. So, the very reasonable $3.00 valet (or, you know, $5 with tip) was much appreciated.

2) I had called earlier, and asked if we needed a reservation. The friendly guy on the line said “actually, we don’t take reservations, it’s first come, first served.”  Great! I was hoping on the rain keeping people home. But when we got there, pretty much all tables in the cozy restaurant were filled.  We were promptly approached, and offered the one remaining table. Whew!

3) The place has a nice, clean feel. Cozy without feeling cramped. There’s a big wood-fire brick oven in one corner, where the pizza chefs are doing their thing.  Our waiter greeted us promptly, and offered “still or sparkling water.”  I said “just tap” because I wasn’t sure what the deal was…. But it turns out they do the thing I love, where they have their own complimentary bottles of still or sparking “house” water.  Yay! Husband got iced tea, and it arrived with simple syrup (his fave) and a carafe to self-refresh his glass.

4) We ordered a yellow tomato/mozzarella salad to share. Delicious, creamy cheese, fresh basil, thick sliced yellow tomato. Olive oil with a nice bite.

5) For dinner, Husband got a pizza. I had one little bite, and it was fantastic.  A wood-fired pizza with roasted pork, gruyere, caramelized onions, and arugula.  Luckily for me, Harry’s has a dinner special each night of the week that isn’t served on top of a wheat flour gluten bomb.  Tonight it was wood-oven roasted pork ribs, with a peach/fennel/mint salad and roasted corn. Not strictly paleo, but perhaps “paleo friendly” if you don’t get ill from fresh corn. The ribs fall-off-the bone succulent. Really excellent stuff.

6) For dessert, lemon vanilla panna cotta topped with thinly sliced peaches and a balsamic vinegar. No, panna cotta is also not paleo (generally made with cream, milk and sugar, and gelatin)… But it’s a wee dessert, and it’s at least grain free. It’s got the little black specks because they used real vanilla… and probably lemon zest. Lovely, simple.  I also had an espresso (they brew Panther coffee, which is a local/Miami-based coffee roaster).

Everyone was friendly. The food was made with care. It reminded me a bit of Chez Panisse (the Berkeley, CA restaurant by Alice Waters) in the way the ingredients seem carefully chosen, treated, and combined.  Nothing was “overdone” and I don’t mean overcooked.  While red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese were offered for the pizza, there’s no salt and pepper on the table.  And nothing needed it.

Ultimately, the offerings are (of course) limited for someone doing strict paleo.  Hey, it’s a pizzeria. I was glad I reviewed the menu ahead of time to figure out what to eat. Also, I didn’t ask about substitutions, because I personally eat fresh corn on occasion. But my best guess is that they’d do their best to be accommodating.

Thumbs wayyyyyy up for Harry’s Pizzeria, especially for non-paleo folks.  And for paleo/primal people, if you go on a night where you’re cool with their non-pizza dinner offering, I think you’re going to love it.


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