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il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria

For me, pizza is first and foremost about the crust. It may seem amazing that the combination of four simple ingredients – flour, yeast, water, and salt – can result in such a wide range of qualities of a pizza crust. However, the type of flour used (the percent of protein and the mill), the type of yeast used (baker’s yeast vs. sourdough), the water used, the proportions of the ingredients, the technique of kneading the dough, the time and method of fermentation, and the temperature and time of baking can each make a difference in the quality of the crust. I recently discovered il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria on Hollywood Blvd. near the intersection with Hillhurst (4518 Hollywood Blvd.) I like their crust. It’s a Neapolitan-style thin crust that has the right balance between crispiness, elasticity, chewiness, and moisture -- and it tastes good! The pies are baked in a wood-fire oven, and heat of the oven produces a nice light to medium char on the crust. The toppings are applied in moderation to enhance, but not overpower, the crust. As Mario Batali constantly preaches, Italian cooking is all about balance. So, if you’re a pile-on-the-sauce-and-cheese-and-toppings type of person, the pies at il Capriccio probably won’t win your heart. The toppings are numerous, diverse, and creative. On my most recent visit, I had the pie with rapini, sausage, and mozzarella (no tomato sauce), and thought it was terrific. Other toppings, in addition to the usual standards, include shitake and porcini mushrooms, prosciutto, calamata olives, capers, bufala mozzarella, arugula, and radicchio. I’ve read complaints that the pizza at il Capriccio is soggy in the center, particularly when delivered or taken out. The folks at il Capriccio Pizzeria have read these complaints too, and have tried to address them by putting a mesh mat in the bottom of the pizza box to avoid the problem of the pizza “sweating” in the box and getting soggy. Frankly, I’ve never understood why pizza has become such a popular delivery/take-out item. It is extraordinarily perishable and fragile by nature, and will inevitably suffer from spending time enclosed in a cardboard coffin, mesh or no mesh. Pizza is meant to be eaten fresh from the oven, when the crust is hot, crisp, and full of life. If you want Italian food for take-out, order something like lasagna that can better withstand the rigors of delay and transportation. However nonsensical pizza delivery/take-out may seem to me, I understand that it has become a competitive necessity for most pizzerias. In any event, il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria gets my vote for a good pizza pie. You’ll find me there a lot, since – by extreme good fortune – it’s right around the corner from where I work.

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  1. on my one visit to il capriccio, i thought the pizza was okay, certainly better than a lot out there, but not as good as vito's (formerly on vermont). however, i won't be going back because the man who helped me (the owner?) was a complete jerk...which leads me to avoid a restaurant unless the food is so good i can't stop myself!

    1. Nice post.. I am a Vitos Fan and a Fan of NYC type of Pizza. However, you got me oin my car and want to try.. Will post back in the next 30 days with my "taste" history..

      1. Great review, Tom. Have you ever eaten at Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey? Sounds like il Capriccio comes out of the same "wood fired" mold as Antica. Always a gift of the food gods when you have such an excellent place right around the corner from your work or your abode. Thanks for sharing.

        5 Replies
        1. re: tony michaels

          all i have to say is il capriccio rocks!!! kelly the chef there is doing a great job!!! i am in there time and time again with my son and i will tell you this, he is very consistant!!!! the pies are always right on when it comes to flavor and texture. he gives them a great balance and keeps the menu exciting and new. i have been going to vitos, village and albanos for some time, and all i have to say is when you go to il capriccio you know what you are getting! when you go to village or albanos who knows on that day. as for vitos his pies are always good but you have to get them when he is there. like i said all i have to say is il capriccio rocks!!!

          1. re: foodiebpn1

            We love it too -- bye, bye Nicky D's. Our fav is the pizza with goat cheese, moz & tomato sauce... we add on mushrooms and it's perfect. My slight complaint is the salads are sorta less extraordinary -- an antipasto would be a nice addition or caesar. Anyway, this place has broken my diet more than once!

            1. re: Silverlaker

              I had the mushroom pizza the other night and those shittakes really made it special. I like the radicchio salad but it's kind of plain, you're right, they could use better salads. At least they got real plates -- and I agree with the top poster, it's really better just to eat at the restaurant. I still haven't tried delivery because I don't want to be disappointed.

              1. re: Chowpatty

                Nice review, T.

                Agree- very good pizza pie. I had the sausage pizza and more than enjoyed it.

              2. re: Silverlaker

                agree on the salads. I've tried two of their salads (the mix salad and the arugula salad) and both were very disappointing.

          2. The legendary Tom Armitage, scourge of the early boards! Welcome back, dude! If your taste is as formidable on pizza as it is on everything else, Il Capriccio must be a place to check out.

            2 Replies
            1. re: condiment

              Thanks for the compliment, but "scourge" of the early boards???

            2. Very nice review. We'll give it a try soon.

              1. Fair and balanced review with a good point about delivery. The SO and I dropped by the other night before a show at the Vista (btw Spidey does not rock) and grabbed a couple of slices. They definitely care about the product. The dough was tasty, had the right amount of give and pull and the crust was a good balance of sweet and salt. I'm not a huge tomato sauce fan but theirs was on the light side so all in all a good start. Once I save up 16.95 I'll try a whole one.

                1. I ordered a pizza for delivery from Il Capriccio. A large with sausage, bell pepper and olives. The toppings were meager, and spread very unevenly. The dough was slightly sour and unimpressive. The salad, at $5, was extremely small. Not sure how this could be considered even passable pizza.

                  1. I went for their soft opening and when they were very new and was impressed. I went again a couple of weeks ago, and they missed on all marks. The pizza was burt, soggy and greasy, this was in the restaurant, not delivery. I"m going to give them a couple weeks and try again because they were so good at first and I"m hoping this was just a glitch.

                    1. I am a native New Yorker. I grew up in Queens and Brooklyn just 2 blocks away from one of the top 10 pizzerias in all of NYC. Now living in Los Feliz in LA it has been very difficult to find acceptable pizza. Nicky D's is good but their delivery is SOO inconsistent, it's appauling. I think they try to do too much with their menu and can't keep up. But I came across il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria and really like it. I disagree with the people here who have written that the salads are "boring". Californians are so used to OVERkill. Sometimes less is more my friends! Fresh lettuces and ingredients with a light dressing are the perfect compliment to greasy cheesy pizza. In Italy, salads are simple. There is a lot to be said about showing some restraint in my opinion.
                      What I will say however, is that the service can be a bit aloof. I have received dirty plates and glassware, so I advise you look at your plateware and cups before indulging. Also, they made a big mistake in the construct of the place. The wood fire oven is awesome, but facing it TOWARDS the interior of the restaurant makes the whole place heat up, hence everyone sits outside. They should have faced it towards the back with a fan blowing the air out of the back door. I have been in the food business for awhile, so these types of management and service flaws are always striking to me. All and all it's a place I will return to soon. Gonna check out their delivery standard...hmmm I think right about...now. :-P