Come get an authentic New York pizza on the Remate
We were a party of eight, including a child, keen to try a new pizzeria in Merida. We headed to the Remate, where Pizza Neo did not disappoint.
At Pizza Neo — which has occupied a long-standing vacant lot bordered by a bare wall — there’s courtyard seating and an air-conditioned dining room with eight tables. They provide homemade sauces, mild to hot if you choose to spice up your pizza. Outside, a cute pizza cart sells takeout slices – very New York, where the owners are from.
We started with a Caesar salad (150 pesos), organic meatballs (195 pesos) and carafes of red or white house wine. The starters were so good that we probably should have done it justice by ordering from the wine list (where bottles cost between 815 and 1,775 pesos). The menu also had other starters including confit de cabeza de ajo, roasted head of garlic (90 pesos) and organic lamb carpaccio (190 pesos).
As for their pizza creations, we ordered traditional pepperoni (275 pesos), meatballs (325 pesos) and white ricotta with ham and pistachios (190 pesos). The crusts were super thin and pliable – authentic New York style. Although traditional, the pepperoni pizza was charred in all the right places, evidently coming from a precision-calibrated Marra Fiore wood-fired oven from Italy. The meatball pizza was a nice touch with great cheese and lots of mini meatballs. The big hit was the white tart, which was creamy, well seasoned and accompanied by the crunch of charred pistachios.
So to top off the extravagance of the pizza already in front of us, the staff told us about a pizza not yet on the menu. A white-pie version of the BLT, but this time castacan (pork belly from Yucatán), cherry tomatoes and fresh and crunchy arugula (275 pesos). The pizzas were good, but this surprise from the kitchen was our favorite.
We didn’t notice it at first, but the top of Neo’s menu explained that the pizza base was their masa mother, sourdough and their exclusive lacto-fermented tomato sauce. The owners, Blue Ribbon Restaurants, are based in New York and have established restaurants in other major cities including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Miami. Adjacent to the pizzeria is the former El Gran Café, which the same owners are in the process of renovating, adding a rooftop terrace that overlooks the gazebo at the foot of Paseo de Montejo.
Staff were knowledgeable and willing to share their local sources, such as when our editor asked where they found arugula. (The answer was Slow Food Market.)
We ordered a dessert which was Panna cotta and chocolate bud, a chocolate pudding with a crispy filling (each 85 pesos). Both desserts were tasty and a great way to end the meal.
But don’t take my word for it. My daughter Lindsay Cale, a travel writer, was here from Brooklyn and gave the pizza her full thumbs up.
Pizza Neo, Calle 56 486a, Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro, Mérida; Tuesday-Sunday 5 p.m.-midnight; Take-out meals: Tuesday to Saturday from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Phone: 999-445-4155. Follow on Instagram