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SGV Pizza tour de force ...

With relatives in town (esp. a young nephew in tow), I had the pleasure of sampling some of SGV's many pizza establishments.

So here goes (in no particular order).

AVANTI CAFE (http://avanticafe.com/ ). If California Pizza Kitchen ever focused and put more individualized attention and effort into its pies, then what you would get is probably a pie from Avanti Cafe. The crust is nice and charred on the outside, but slightly chewy in the center. It's got all the typical nouveau California style toppings covered, including a rather funky "glazed apple" creation -- not to my liking, but it does offer a nice change of pace to the more pedantic BBQ, pesto, seafood, 3-cheeses offerings. Not a bad joint, and it can crowded during peak hours.

PIZZA PLACE CALIFORNIA (303 South Mission Drive, San Gabriel,(626) 570-9622) Decent California-style pizza, but a bit pricey. Very good garlic rolls, however.

SAVOY PIZZA & PASTA (138 East Valley Boulevard Alhambra, (626) 308-9535) Skip the pies at this place. Nothing spectacular and the crust leaves much to be desired. What to get here? The Hainan chicken rice. Best in the area, and this includes all the HK-style restaurants that have this dish.

PETRILLO'S PIZZA (833 East Valley Blvd
San Gabriel, (626) 280-7332) I know this is a favorite of the many on the board, but I am not necessarily a big fan. Maybe because it's neither a thin crust, nor a thick crust ... just somewhere in between. But I think the biggest drawback for me for this place is that there is too much cheese on the pies. A major selling point for many perhaps, but just not my kind of pie. That being said, it is a very filling pizza and the ingredients are all tasty and fresh.

TONY'S PIZZA (2555 Huntington Dr, San Marino, (626) 793-4114) One of my long-time favorites. A basic thin crust pie with nicely proportioned amounts of cheese, sauce and toppings. Ain't going to change the world, but then it's only pizza and it shouldn't have to, right?

ZELO (328 E. Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, (626) 358-8298) Well, if you don't like thick crusts and you don't like cornmeal crusts, then avoid this place like the plague. Otherwise, head on out cuz the pies here are truly delicious and unique in their own way. The cornmeal crusts (at least for me) just gives a pizza that extra special something. Sort of like how just the right pinch of salt in chocolate chip cookies makes all the difference. Favorite pie here is the corn pizza -- just wonderful.


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  1. Thanks for the report! I was glad to see a couple of my favorites mentioned: Avanti and Petrillo's. I've driven by Zelo for a years now and have never stopped by, but I have to admit that the cornmeal crust sounds really intriguing so I'll have to check it one one day.


    1. Now that is a good report.. thanks!! I need to give Zelos a shot! :)


      1. I've had Avanti and enjoyed it a lot. These others are revelations -- I can't wait.

        With that caveat in place, I want to throw in a good word for Domenico's on Washington near Altadena in Pasadena. It's not Cali-pizza, there's absolutely nothing special about the joint -- but the sauce is great. It's the best pie we've found in Pasadena. They've got other locations over in Arcadia & (I think) Monrovia, but I don't know if they're uniformly good.

        -- Jim

        2 Replies
        1. re: jimverbose

          Yeah, Domenico's is a solid choice. Just wasn't on the rotation this time around.

          And who says they don't have "Cali-pizza"? On a rec from one of the servers, I tried a chorizo and garliz pizza. It was quite good, but not necessarily something I would want everyday.

          The garlic bread ain't too bad either (although sometime it can be over salted).

          2411 E. Washington Blvd
          (626) 797-6459

          1. re: jimverbose

            The Domenico's in Monrovia (on Huntington Drive, south side of the street) is way better than the Pasadena location. Best pizza in LA, in fact. Request they roll it extra thin.

          2. you can also ask for thin/crispy at petrillo's...that's how i like it !

            1 Reply
            1. re: kjs

              I did not know about the thin/crispy option at Petrillos. I'm going to try that next time!

            2. My favorite pizza place in the area is probably Roma's in Arcadia. It's a small place near the high school on Duarte between Santa Anita and First.

              Roma Pizzeria
              33 E. Duarte Rd.
              Arcadia, CA 91006

              3 Replies
              1. re: crystaw

                Is this the place next to that Chinese/Taiwanese joint that serves a rather "interesting" pork chop rice??

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  It is next to some Chinese place that sounds like you describe. It's half a block west of 1st, on Duarte. I agree with crystaw, the pizza is good and the folks who run it are really nice. I like Petrillo's better, but Roma's is well worth a try.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Yeah-Romas' is next to a Chinese/Taiwanese place called May's Cafe- May's has been there as long as I can remember though it hasn't been there in ages.

                    Btw-Does anyone know if there was a Petrillo's in the Santa Anita mall way back before Westfield took over? I remember there being a little pizza joint there that I really liked as a kid and I think it started with a P...

                2. two places you should try thaat I really like here in Alhambra. One is Genovesi's Pizza located on Main just West of Freemont. Good crust but sauce is a bit sweeter than most. The other is Angelos Pizza right on Valley Blvd East of Marengo right by Mcdonalds. Good Pizza ask for it thin crust (still weighs a metric ton!!). These are the two we frequent most. I like Petrillos (again ask for it thin crust) but the service is so slowwwwwwwww in the dining room and no one that works there seems to care. We still go at least once a month but if the service was better.......

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: monkey

                    I second your recommendation on Angelo's. I would always ask for the pizza to be well done - you're right, their pizzas weigh a ton! I would order from them so often they knew my voice on the phone..and I'd request that a certain chef over there make the pizza because he did it better than the others.. but I think Petrillos is better. I don't care for Genovesi's that much because the crust seems more like pastry than pizza crust but that's my personal preference.

                  2. Nice report, Ipse! Agree on Petrillos, but not a fan of Avanti. Also, I like Domenico's - yes their sauce is really good.

                    I would like to add my fave, Carmine's (one in So Pas and another in Arcadia). They serve my favorite pizza. You can get it regular crust (thicker, but not pan) or thin. Regardless of what you choose, the secret is get it cooked (all pizza, for that matter) well done. Their sauce is wonderfully flavorful. Whenever I order delivery, this is who I call (or stop by for happy hour where you can get one of their Bambino pizzas with 2 toppings for $3.75!)! Also, everyone who works here (especially the delivery boys) are so sweet and kind.


                    1. Slightly OT here. Does anyone remember Licari's in Alhambra (near Garfield/Main)? Back in HS I remember going here for really good pepperoni slices and pastrami sandwiches.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: kure

                        As a former Moor, of course I remember Licari's ... I believe that location is now a medical center??

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          You're a former Moor? Me too! What class are you? I got out in 87. I remember Licari's well. When we had our AHS school lunch fairs (where all the campus clubs sold food), we ordered something like 20 boxes from Licari's and resold them for $2 per slice. We made a killing. And the pizza was good, too.

                          1. re: raytamsgv

                            Class of '91.

                            Just missed each other.

                            Did AHS have the sandwich bar in the cafeteria when you were there? I think it might have started when I was a soph, maybe??

                            Regardless open campus for lunch was the bomb! Esp. if you have "double-lunch" ...

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              AHS Class of '91 here too. I remember Licaris, Scooter's Pizza, Grandview Market, Rick's, etc. I miss the old Thanh Loy sandwich shop and their $1.50 banh mi!

                              1. re: Ernie

                                How about Lovebirds right on Main St. ... or that weird place on Second St. right next to the bungalows where it seemed like the Alhambra PD had a reserved spot for parking (and it wasn't for the food).

                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                I seem to recall a sandwich bar, but it was so long ago...when Rick's used to be called "Burger Time"....

                        2. I've had a great pizza at Carmine's...South Pas.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: chefthisguy

                            Absolutely - I think the best in town.

                          2. Angelo's on Valley has a gargantuan pizza. Garfano's used to be the pizza place, near Cal-State L.A. In Temple City, Mama Petrillo's on Las Tunas was good, haven't been there for quite a while.

                            1. I forgot to mention that Village Pizza in Sierra Madre serves up a good slice. but it's a little on the pricey side

                              1. The only thing worth eating at Petrillo's is the pizza. I've ordered the lasagna, fettuccine, and spaghetti there...it was all drowned in sauce. So as my bf ate his yummy pizza, I was disappointed by my selection =(