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Nov 10, 2006 06:26 PM

Pizza in Pasadena

Just moved to Pasadena from Seattle and I'm dying for some really good pizza. Any tips for great pizza? NY floppy style preffered but any tips would be great.


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  1. You're not going to find NY style pizza in Pasadena, that's for sure. But that said, there are some places that are better than others.

    I like Avanti Pizza on Lake & Union for their wood-fired pizza (unfortunately, they only make California-style , "gourmet" pizzas in the wood-fired oven. I wish they would make their traditional topping pizzas in the wood-fired oven, but they don't seem to get it.)

    For decent take-out pizza, there's the Big Mama's and Papas pizza chain. This is Sunday football watching type pizza. Much better than the other delivery alternatives, but with the caveat that the wait is usually very long. They also have some interesting Georgian/Russian menu items that are quite good. 1772 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA.

    For Chicago thin-style pizza, there's Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock (about a 10min drive west on the 134). Most people either love this place, or they hate it. I happen to think the only pizza worth showing up for contains one of their two ingredients: sausage or fried eggplant (preferably both). I don't know how, but these 2 ingredients turn a pie that is just okay, into something worth waiting a few hours in line for. 1650 Colorado Blvd
    Los Angeles, CA 90041

    I've had the pie at South Lake Italian Kitchen & Tarantino's and can only recommend that if you've heard of them, you lose their number.

    10 Replies
    1. re: ozzygee

      I'm sure you'll make your way to Casa Bianca at least once. Get the sausage and garlic pizza "pie"(that's what they call it...kind of kitchy)


      I concur Domenicos on Washington has a good traditional pizza.

      Also now that almost all the pizza places in the Pasadena area have been mentioned, might as well mention California Pizza Kitchen.

      1. re: ozzygee

        Your comment about Tarantino's really surprised me? What didn't you like about their pizza? We ordered a large the other night and were very pleased - fresh made tomato sauce and tons of cheese. It probably isn't the best in the area, but its light years ahead of the cheap, dry, mass-market stuff Big Mama's and Papas sells.

        1. re: spankbot

          The crust was like a cracker. Maybe it was a bad night the first time, but the second time I went? It's not worth going back when there are better places.

          And you're wrong about Big Mama's & Papa's. First of all, they're a small local chain so it's not mass market, and they also toss the pizza to order (which is why it usually takes forever to get it). Anyway, I didn't say it was the best pizza ever, i said it was the best delivery pizza in town.

          1. re: ozzygee

            Did you order thin crust at Tarantino's?

            1. re: spankbot

              Interesting. I've never had anything approaching cracker like in Tarantino's crust in the many, many times I've gone. I actually like their crust because it tends to be a bit thicker and chewy.

            2. re: ozzygee

              I'm a huge Big Mama's and Papa's fan...

              It's not the most "gourmet" pizza experience, but it's solid, tastes good, and is great for feeding a bunch of people at a party.

              I still haven't tried those one georgian specialties that they sell...or whatever they are, but I know I want one!

              1. re: therealbigtasty

                The khachapouri are great! I've had the regular with "only" feta, mozzarella, butter and 2 fried eggs. Maybe when my arteries clear, I'll work my way up to the bacon one.

                1. re: ozzygee

                  Damn the arteries! There has to be some sort of home artery cleaning kit...has to be.

          2. re: ozzygee

            If Avanti is representative of the best pizza in Pasadena... well, it makes me sad. We ate there last night, and had their wood-fired, gourmet pizzas. The toppings would have been the absolute best of what you could get in Von's, and the crust could have easily come from a frozen-microwavable-pizza factory. The pizza wasn't horrible, but it wasn't really good either.

            My five-year old was convinced by their sign "The best pizza in town". It might be. But if it is, that's pretty disappointing for the residents of Pasadena.

            Avanti Cafe
            111 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

          3. We recently dropped by Manny's Pizza at 16 N. Fair Oaks - Mrs. O had a big jones for pizza and we were in Old Town anyway. We got the margherita with anchovies added, and found it very good. Next time I'll ask for the cooking time to be extended, as I thought the crust needed more time in the oven. I will also try it with more traditional American-style toppings - I do like the occasional gloppy one! - just to get more of a feel for how good theirs are. But prices are good, service is fast and friendly, and it passed our most crucial test: it was excellent cold the next day!

            1. Two places I like.

              ZELO in Arcadia for deep-dish.

              TONY'S PIZZA in San Marino for thin-crust (a la NY-Style).

              Oh, and welcome to the 'Hood!

              328 East Foothill Blvd

              TONY'S PIZZA
              2555 Huntington Dr
              San Marino

              1 Reply
              1. re: ipsedixit

                Zelo is easily one of the best pies around, but it's not very traditional.

              2. Another option a bit west of Pasadena proper is Fratelli's Pizzeria on Verdugo in Montrose (an area where northwest Glendale, La Canada Flintridge and unincorporated LA County come together - just south of where the 2 and 210 freeways intersect).

                Be sure to ask for extra thin crust, and if you like it spicy, try ordering their arrabiata sauce.

                1. I agree on Casa Bianca, and no one ever does. I think the wait is the turn-off. But, the best pizza to me is in South Pasadena at Carmine's. The place is not a beauty but the thick crust pizza with tons of toppings will keep you thinking about the next time you'll go back. Also, get a plate of the gooey and garlicky "Gumbi" to go with it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chefthisguy

                    Welcome to the 'hood! I agree on all points with Chefthisguy. Carmine's does make the best pizza in town (IMO). I always get it cooked well done - that is a rule with me!! Gumbi is great, but instead of meatballs, I get it with their delicious sausage! Also, they have a great happy hour in which you can get their bambino pizza - a decent individual size with 2 toppings for $3.75. I also love their spicy chicken tenders (delish). Their Pasta Pescadore is amazing as are their soups. Actually, come to think of it, I like it all!! Just remember, get the pizza cooked well done! You can also order thin crust.
                    Not a fan of Big Mama's & Papas. The one time I had pizza at Tarantino's, it was worse than any frozen pizza I had ever had! House dressing and pastas are okay, though.
                    Mama's Brick Oven in South Pas is pretty good. Be sure not to pass on their garlic knots. Actually, I prefer their pizza roll-things to the pizza slices. Domenico's, very good. Especially the one on Washington. Their antipasta salad is amazingly good as well!