We were a group of eight, including a child, eager to try a new pizza spot in Mérida. We headed to the Remate, where Pizza Neo did not disappoint.
At Pizza Neo — which has taken over a longtime vacant lot bordered by a bare wall — there is courtyard seating and an air-conditioned dining room with eight tables. They provide homemade sauces, mild to fiery if you choose to spice up your pizza. Outside, a cute pizza cart sells slices to go — very New York, where one of the partners is 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 we probably should have done it justice by ordering from the wine list (where bottles are priced from 815 to 1,775 pesos). The menu had other entradas as well, including cabeza de ajo confit, roasted head of garlic (90 pesos) and organic lamb carpaccio (190 pesos).
As for their pizza creations, we ordered traditional pepperoni (275 pesos), meatball (325 pesos), and white ricotta with ham and pistachios (190 pesos). The crusts were super thin and foldable — in New York Style. Though traditional, pepperoni pizza was charred in just the right places, obviously coming from a precisely calibrated wood-burning Marra Fiore oven from Italy. The meatball pizza was a nice touch with good cheese and plenty of mini meatballs. The big hit was the white pie, which was creamy, well seasoned, and accompanied by the crunch of charred pistachios.
So to top off the pizza extravaganza 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 castacán (Yucatán pork belly), cherry tomatoes, and fresh, crisp 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 is their masa madre, sourdough, and their exclusive lacto-fermented tomato sauce. One of Neo’s partners is from New York City and through other partnerships is associated with restaurants in places such as Manhattan, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Miami. Adjacent to the pizza place is the former El Gran Café, which the same owners are renovating, adding a roof deck that overlooks the glorieta at the base of the Paseo de Montejo.
The staff was knowledgeable and willing to share their local sources, like when our publisher asked where they found arugula. (The answer was Slow Food Market.)
We ordered dessert, which was panna cotta and budin de chocolate, a chocolate pudding with a crunchy topping (each 85 pesos). Both desserts were tasty and an excellent 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 total endorsement.
Pizza Neo, Calle 56 486a, Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro, Mérida; Tuesday- Sunday 5 p.m.-midnight; Takeout: Tuesday – Saturday 8 p.m.-2 a.m. Phone: 999-445-4155. Follow on Instagram