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MOZZA - Top Restaurant in LA??

it took all year but i finally had a meal that lived up the hype. By far the best meal i've had all year and could possibly be the best LA restaurant at this moment...

why i feel i can make this claim

a) not normally a pizza fan (meaning I started off the meal as a doubter)
b) grew up eating pizza in brooklyn - pizza capital USA (according to some)
c) it was a year full of eating at some of la and nyc's "top" restaurants including Providence, AOC, Luques, Le Bernadin (nyc) and Normans (miss that place), etc (meaning I'm not just comparing Mozza to the local burger joint)
d) I'm not known to be generous with my compliments.

if you haven't made a reservation...better get on that

the two of us had Proscuitto plate, Cod with Olives, squash blossom stuffed with ricotta, fennel sausage pizza, goatcheese -leek-bacon pizza, butterscotch pudding, bottle of wine - a reasonable $120 bucks for 2

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  1. A bold bold bold bold *bold* statement. I've heard some glowing reviews and some mixed reviews, but this is the first time anyone has thrown down the gauntlet and thrown Mozza into the mix.

    1. I had one of the best meals (with the exception of a few places in NYC) in a long time, the other night at Mozza. Everything was exceptional.

      1. Mozza is really good, but not the best restaurant in L.A. Being from NY, it nice to be able to have a decent pizza here, but there are still some kinks which need to be worked out. A bit more tomato sauce with a tangier taste would help with the margarita. Perhaps a bit more time for fine tuning and then it should be considered...

        1. Not even close.

          Pizza is good, not transcendent. Specials are better, but even then not on the level of Angelini's places. Service and atmosphere quite nice but inconsistent. Tabs quite pricey considering the relative simplicity of what's being served.

          1. Thems fightin' words, but I tend to agree. I wouldn't say that Mozza is the best restaurant in LA, but I certainly think it's the best of it's genre. The ingredients are superb, the ambience is spot on and the price is very reasonable.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hrhboo

              agreed, I'm not saying it the best restaurant in l.a. (yet) but the best of it's genre. in fact, what else compares (in this genre)?

              1. re: hrhboo

                Yeah, I agree - I wish the pizzas were bigger though; I might have to order two next time I go with my awesome girlfriend. Either that or Bacos... What's better a Mozza pizza or a baco at Opus?

                1. re: brightonrocco

                  Oooh, that's a hard one! For ease of getting a seat, I'd have to go with Opus. Maybe your awesome girlfriend should take you there on Tuesday, and then you can take her to Mozza to celebrate the anniversary you missed.

              2. Angelini Osteria, BEST Pizza, White Pizza covered in ALBA WHITE TRUFFLES 80- and worth it!

                1. I would agree and said as much after I dined there only once two weeks ago. For rather seemingly uncomplicated fare beautifully realized there's no question that experiencing the passionate intent of those involved, namely Nancy Silverton, adds to this perception. I still embrace Hatfield's dinner and B.L.D.'s brunch as well as Bin 8945's ambitiously tight quarters to name some of this year's other accomplishments; but it may be as Kenneth Turan said last year of the film "Brokeback Mountain", "It is groundbreaking simply because it isn't."

                  1. Best PR perhaps, but none of the food I have had at any of Nancy Silverton's projects has been exceptional

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Ernie

                      agree. excellent pr. excellent marketing. makes you think you really are going for something special.

                      it wasn't.

                      it wasn't bad, but nothing special. the batter on the squash blossoms was impossibly light and crisp, but too much cheese inside (a lot of cheese is not a bad thing, of course) that made it very unbalanced.

                      pizza was okay.

                      dessert was just below okay (fig crostata with a crust that was too much like buttery cardboard)

                    2. Went in for a late dinner last night. We had the squash blossoms which were excellent, then Nancy's chopped. Very light and flavorful. The bianco pizza - crust is quite addicting. And finished it off with the fig crostada. Did not drink last night. But the bill came to a total including tip $62.00. Will definitely return - especially since it is right around the corner.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: kproq323

                        i was there too last night after 9pm. saw a couple of celebs, giada d. and lauren graham (gilmore girls). ordered the squash blossoms, liver bruschette, egg/guanciale and fennel sausage pizzas, butterscotch budino, quartino of sangiovese. i think i got through the "best of" and i was not impressed. i think the place is overhyped from the amount of rave reviews on this board. my expectations were way too high, and mozza didn't live up. crust is decent, not enough toppings. i feel the pizzas are more like flatbreads with gourmet ingredients thrown on. bill came out to $80 after tax/tip. i don't think i'll return, unless i'm already in the area and after the crowd dies down. i'm looking forward to the opening of the osteria next door though. asked the hostess about the opening date and reply was apr/may 07.

                        for now, i'll have to get my fix from lupa and babbo nyc. scored a res for the latter on 1/6!

                        1. re: zack

                          I'm flying down to LA for the weekend and am debating whether or not to go to Mozza since I'll be going to Lupa AND Babbo in 3 weeks. Do you think your ambivalent feelings towards Mozza are based on the fact that you HAVE been to Lupa and Babbo?

                          It's Mozza or Beverly Soon Dooboo and I'm caught in a deadlock.

                          1. re: Porthos

                            i was commenting on wait for the future mozza osteria when i mentioned lupa, not really as a comparison between the two. at this point, mozza pizzeria is more scene than food. l.a's never been strong with pizza and it still isn't. on the other hand, korean is quite good here.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              I have been to Lupa (3x) and going to Babbo next week- you will enjoy Mozza very much

                              1. re: Porthos

                                Haven't been to Mozza yet, but from the descriptions it sounds more like Otto than Lupa or Babbo.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  we agreed regarding sasabune but i hope you held off on mozza
                                  and saved the pleasure for Babbo in particular; there's no comparison

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    soon dooboo is good and everything, but as a korean, i'm always amazed at how people can go bananas over it. i like it now, but growing up, i was always pissed when my mom made it.

                                    i'd be more excited to go to mozza. then again: pizza or tofu soup? meh.

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      do as i do when faced with those dilemmas:
                                      eat at both.
                                      if you dont already have reservations at mozza youre going to have to eat at off hours anyway.

                                2. It's not even part of the conversation.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: jcwla

                                    second that vote. just home from a night of sea urchin shots at a japanese place
                                    + a foie gras festival on saturday night, going to several places and didn't even think of
                                    mozza

                                    1. Angelini's Pizza SMOKES Mozza..... I would like some pizza with my salt.....

                                      Mozza is not the best restaurant in LA, I beg to differ.

                                      1. I definitely had my favorite dish of the year here (at least in LA): the Tuesday night crispy duck with lentils. So simple, yet so incredibly perfect.

                                        1. not even close..good, but not the best.

                                          1. Mozza might not even be the pizza in the 323 area code!

                                            1. Mozza is definitely not even the best restaurant that opened this year in the 323 area code. That honor goes to Hatfield's as I see it.
                                              Here is a review I just posted on another thread that summarized a very disappointing meal yesterday.

                                              Had the squash blossom thingy, chicken liver and brussels sprouts apps. All 3 very disappointing, especially the squash. Fried framework with no taste and just a lump of gooey cheese inside - good cheese, but still just cheese. B/Spts much better at AOC, as is the chicken liver appy.
                                              Fennel pizza and the goat cheese/carmelyzed onion pizza - good sausage, yet no other taste on top. On the goat cheese one, the flavors did not blend whatsoever. And as to that crust - Carr's Water cracker in taste - blech! Properly cooked yet dreadful taste.
                                              The butterscotch dessert was fine enough yet hardly comparable to the one at Jar, and the fig thing was awful as the crust tasted like it was made with day old shortbread cookies and, as dull as the crust taste was, it still overpowered the lack of a fig taste. Who created that idea needs to start over.
                                              Wines nice enough, coffee awful.
                                              Over all, maybe a C+ for food on PoetKitty's scale. Decor and feel - B+. Doubt I would return.

                                              As to top restaurant in LA, that's a joke.

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: carter

                                                Thank God, I'm not the only one. I agree that Hatfields is the best thing in 323 right now -- other than Providence that is. I went to Mozza once, didn't like it, went again, still didn't like it. Then went again. Now thats two or three hundred dollars I wish I had back to spend at another place. I just don't get it. The flavors just don't blend for me. I've tried the fish, I've tried the pizza, I've tried the sandwiches. Aargh. I'd try it again, but can't be burned that fourth time. Can't figure out what I'm missing. Love unique flavors, interesting ingredients, even sceney places on occasion -- but just can't get with it. Going to Hatfields next week.

                                                1. re: foleydog

                                                  what is missing might be that you are led by your taste buds
                                                  and not the publicists

                                                  1. re: epop

                                                    Pfft! Mozza is the best Italian food I've had in LA. Not quite on par with Babbo or Lupa, which were two of my favorite restaurants in NYC, but only a small step below.

                                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                                      Not even in the top 5, and that is being charitable.

                                                      1. re: carter

                                                        Not even in the top 5 restaurants, or top 5 Italian? If you mean the latter, you're out of your mind.

                                              2. It's been so interesting to hear the various opinions from those who've been to Mozza. One thing's for sure - this place seems to be a place that people either really like/love or really don't like, so much - reminds me of Mastro's in this respect. Maybe because of the thype and anticipation.

                                                I've got a 1:30 next Thursday, and can't wait to check it out for myself. I'm not really very critical (most of my reviews here on Chowhound have been positive, maybe I'm too easy - but is that really such a bad thing, to be easily pleased ?) Anyway I hope to have a positive experience here, and all the stuff here on Chowhounds has been helpful in knowing what to look for on the menu !

                                                Happy Holidays every one !

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: mikester

                                                  Agree on Mozza.
                                                  Where is Mastro's? What to order?

                                                  1. re: surf2a

                                                    Mastro's is a steakhouse, there are several locations (I went to the location in Costa Mesa), you'll find lots of info and much opinion here on chowhounds if you do a search. Order the bone-in Ribeye, the sides are also very good, and do get the butter cake for dessert. The cocktails are massive. It's expensive, but for a splurge I say, go for it !

                                                  2. re: mikester

                                                    Reporting back from our trip last Thursday - well of course my wife and I loved it, we ordered the fried squash blossoms with ricotta, the chicken liver bruschetta (amazingly good!), and a pizza each. My oregano salami with mozzarella and hot chili flakes was delicious, and my wife's pizza also rocked. For dessert we had to have the butterscotch pudding, I thought the caramel on top with a hit of fleur de sel was a brilliant touch. We also loved the mini-carafes of wine, and thought the wines were very well-selected and nicely priced. All in all a great experience, we were swooning over our lunch all the way home ! One of our favorite dining experiences of the year, for sure.

                                                  3. Had a late lunch at Mozza today. 4pm and it wasn't scene-y at all, pretty empty in fact. We had the brussels sprouts antipasti which was served room temp with a vinaigrette, and the squash blossoms which were perfectly delicious.

                                                    We also ordered the tricolore salad with anchovy dressing and I think it's the best salad I've ever eaten.

                                                    All four of us had pizzas. My bf ordered the goat cheese pizza which I thought was good but not memorable enough to describe. My clam pizza was delicious, my friend's arugala and prosciutto pizza was very good as well. My other friend had the gorgonzola pizza which was really stellar. I'd be happy to order it next time I go.

                                                    We also had desserts. The butterscotch pudding was my favorite. I had the fig tart which was far too big and suffered the crust problems described by others. It was topped with a delicious lime panna cotta, though. I think they should serve that on its own and leave the fig tart out of the picture.

                                                    All in all, we were really pleased and will return.

                                                    Photos here: http://www.sideorderofham.com/index.p...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: steen

                                                      I finally made it to Mozza last weekend and I couldn't agree more about the tricolore salad - it was truly transcendent! I can't wait to get back and have it again - only this time I won't share. =)

                                                    2. Love Batali's NY joints. Thought this one was over-hyped. Squash blossoms were good because the cheese was good. Nothing special about them. Pizza was okay -- more like flatbread then pizza. We had the cheese, clams and garlic, and... damn, can't remember the third... had a mound of basil, I think, piled over it.

                                                      Nancy's chopped salad too vinegary and I thought it was uninteresting. It sat in the middle of our table and didn't get finished. My favorite dish of the night was the lasagna, their Sunday night special. Worth going back for. Loved the salt crystals in the butterscotch pudding.

                                                      Don't think I'll be back any time soon.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Sandra W

                                                        I haven't been but tasted the leftovers a few hours later. I agree with you, the chopped salad was way too vinegry and nothing really distinguished it from a CPK chopped salad. I also tasted the sausage: tough casing and mushy meat filling.

                                                        Lupa is my all time favorite restaurant so I had high expectations for Mozza.

                                                        http://myculinaryadventures.blogspot.com

                                                      2. Just came back from a late night meal (11pm res) and I must concur. One of the best 3 meals I've had in LA, next to Sona and Bastide (Lefebvre), and best 3 in the last 12 months with Yountville's FL (the white truffle risotto with brown butter drizzle was truly astonishing -- there seems to be simply white truffle and Thomas Keller's WHITE TRUFFLE) and Las Vegas' Guy Savoy. Now, of course they are not on the same league in presentation, quality, etc.. but they are around the same in satisfaction, that is, absolute wonder - fresh, gee, so fresh - at first taste then pure heavenly indulgence. Here's a brief summary of our dinner in order of appearance:

                                                        Wine:
                                                        Batianich (fruili) red: Fruity and very sweet for a red, almost a light body. Fun and good with antipasti.

                                                        Starters-
                                                        Marinated peppers: addictive with a heavy vinegar tang but a tad sweet.
                                                        Roasted brussel sprouts with shaved prosciutto: So rich and greasy (olive oil) but god, they're so darn good.

                                                        Wine:
                                                        Super Tuscan (oaky and heavy body). Excellent with the entrees.

                                                        Mains:
                                                        Mushroon pizza: blows Cisco's A16 out of the water and even better that Otto's version with taleggio cheese. Perfectly crispy on the edges and chewy at the core. And the dough. And the dough. Please take a moment and find a way to cleanse your plalate just to taste the dough. Ummmm. We used the edges to soak up the sauces of our next dish...

                                                        Lamb stracatto: Like a tagine but served like osso buco on a plate. This is what extremely fresh lamb meat is supposed to taste like. It's served with stewed olives, spring onions and assorted herbs and vegetables. Perfect with the Tuscan. Definitely up to par with the best establishments up north and in NY, but finding lamb this good and at this price ($20) in LA is a very pleasant surprise.

                                                        Now, for all of you with big portions in mind, constantly calculating mass/price ratio, and thinking they'll get a diner portion of food, then please look elsewhere. This place is not for you. You'll be happier at La Terza, Pecorino or Angelini's (their veal chops and osso bucos are B.I.G.).

                                                        Fennel sausage pizza: Wow. My favourite of the two pizzas. The sublime sausages are served like little meatballs. Some might complain they're few and far between but it was perfect considering how heavy and rich they were. Literally gone in 60 seconds between 2.

                                                        Desserts:
                                                        Affogato: Very refreshing. The little biscotti's were great for dipping after slurping up the ice cream. My friend hates coffee even fresh blue mountain (yes, a living freak), but he loved it.

                                                        Butterscoth pudding: Strong on flavour but not on sweetness. A thin layer of cream on top accompanied by pine nut cookies. Very good but I prefered the affogato.

                                                        I can't wait to get back but not too soon. Although the food was hands down spectacular it was also quite rich. I won't be surprised if I got sick of it if I went to Mozza too often.

                                                        On a side note: We had a table reservation but decided to go the bar after seeing how packed the tables were next to each other. It turned out in our advantage as the bartender, Jan, was more than accomodating as he insisted that we taste all the wines by the glass before choosing out favourites. Doubt if we could've done that at the table without pissing off the waiter.

                                                        Overall, top notch meal with stellar service. Can't wait to try their duck and lasagna next time. Overall tab with 4 glasses of wine and taxes was 130. Same price for a extremely reasonable and superb meal at Opus the other night for a 3 course menu for 2 with wine pairing.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: jackkirby

                                                          I'm realizing that an experience at Mozza (awesome or mediocre) is dependent on what one orders. There are some things on the menu that are boring or mis-executed and it's very possible for one to walk in here with high expectations, order the wrong things, and be very disappointed.

                                                          For me, I'll stick to the white bean puree bruschetta, tricolore salad, mushroom pizza, budino or sofiata, nightly specials and wine. It's not cheap, and it is very rich. The nights I ordered the above I left very happy and very stupidly full.

                                                        2. best in LA?? oh my. it is everything i've come to dislike in dining out

                                                          3 Replies
                                                            1. re: radman123

                                                              i don't have one at the moment but like the mostly traditional sushi places, like Zo. i try places (like Melisse several times this spring) but
                                                              they don't cut it, basically. i have to make it to Providence but am saving it, it seems, just so there's some hope on this issue.

                                                              1. re: epop

                                                                Sushi Zo does not remind me of any "traditional" place I've been to in Japan in any way

                                                          1. Went there for lunch yesterday -- certainly not the "best", but damn good. Especially for a quick(er) meal at the counter. Fooddude37, what you order matters. If you like mushroom on your pizza, this is a good place for it.

                                                            1. Given Frank Bruni's glowing write-up of Mozza in yesterday's NY Times - it further validates my claim that Mozza is tops in LA - i hope you guys booked your reservation months when i intially posted because now forget it...

                                                              here is link to story:
                                                              http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/05/09/...

                                                              1. I've been eating at Mozza regularly since it opened and have had wonderful meals. Silver has created amazing and unique pizza based in her experience as a legendary baker. I have my faves but really everything is sublime in its own way.

                                                                HOWEVER, I had my first mediocre meal there the other night when Silverton was not in the house. Apparently she's weaning the Pizzeria from her constant supervision as she focuses on the Osteria. The "pepperoni" pizza - which is my favorite - was so loaded with chiles that it was inedible. Honestly, no one at the table finished their slice. The Brussels sprouts were oddly mushy. The chicken liver crostini were tasty but the bread was under-toasted and a bit soggy.

                                                                Every restaurant is entitled to an off night. I just hope my experience wasn't a sign of Mozza after Nancy.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: letthemeatcake

                                                                  please tell me how a business like this goes flush-city when the owner goes down the street for a pick-me-up? do the recipes change, the chef takes a couple 'ludes..WHAAT??? i see this happening in a lot of places these days if HRH is not
                                                                  behind the stove.

                                                                2. Sadly, six months after my last response, I must report that I had a truly bad meal at Pizzeria Mozza. Not just an off night, not just a couple of poor dishes, but an awful meal with awful service. The meat lover's pizza - a horrible name that belongs at Pizza Hut - was so loaded with meat that the crust couldn't support it. The salami pizza was undercooked and doughy. The tricolore salad was dressed with - unbelievable! - bitter oil. The "hot chocolate" with ginger cookies was brown sludge. To top it off, there was a 45 minute wait between the salad and the pizza.

                                                                  I was a total fan when the joint opened and evolved with Silverton on premises. As soon as she left, I felt the quality deteriorate. I continued to eat there regularly and waited for it to come back together. It never did and never will until the management realizes that continued crowds does not mean continued quality.

                                                                  1. I am addicted to the pizza here. No other pizza will do anymore. Fennel sausage and the mushroom pizza is the most popular. I must eat here at least once every 3 weeks.
                                                                    I have eaten pizza in Europe, NY, SF and Japan but this is THE BEST!

                                                                    1. I can't even begin to think of what goes into deciding the best restaurant in a huge city. But, I had a fantastic meal at Mozza last week. We waited less than 5 minutes without a reservation, the food was delightful, the service was good, and it wasn't crazily expensive. I can't wait to go back.

                                                                      1. I ate at Mozza last week for lunch with the wife. I was not real happy sitting on a backless stool for over and hour, but the food was excellent. Fennel sausage, meatballs, a pizza with clams and two deserts. The server/bartender poured us a teriffic white wine and we were very happy. I will go back in a heartbeat.

                                                                          1. I ate at Osteria this past weekend. It was good but not great... i think i might have ordered the wrong dish: orecchiette with sausage & swiss chard. It was just too salty, and i generally like food on the saltier side. The butterscotch pudding was delicious tho!