Casola’s Pizzeria & Sub Shop
2437 SW 17th Ave.
From the minute you walk into Casola’s, you can’t help but sense the no-frill, casual atmosphere emanating from the place. The family-owned (hailing from Boston, Mass.) and operated joint lies in the outskirts of Miami’s ritzy Coral Gables neighborhood. And there’s a world of difference between this laid-back eatery and the upscale restaurants of nearby Miracle Mile.
Casola’s looks like a neighborhood diner straight out of the movie Grease, where you might see throngs of teenagers gobble down slices after a Friday night football victory. (Full disclosure: A friend of mind, who happens to be a Gables native, told me that’s exactly what happened during her high school career.) And your dining experience at this pizzeria might go something like this: Place your order at the counter, fill up your own cup with soda, grab a seat and wait for your name to be called. They even offer free pizza samples while you wait. Yeah, it’s that kind of place.
What you might not expect from such an unassuming pizzeria is the enormous portions they serve up. My husband and I split a mushroom slice ($4.69), which we cut in half, and it was more than enough to satisfy the both of us. What with its chewy yet crispy handmade dough, meaty mushrooms and tangy sauce. However, being as Casola’s claims to be the “Home of the Croissant Sandwich,” we also shared the cold chicken salad ($7.09), which itself was an enormous portion, complete with a buttery, flaky croissant.
When it comes down to it, Casola’s offers a low-key respite from Miami’s otherwise swanky dining scene. And with the extensive menu — chicken wings, pasta dinners, submarine sandwiches, milk shakes, specialty pies, and what they call “super burgers” — I have a feeling Casola’s might soon become our own Friday night dinner spot.