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Vito’s – long review w/ pics

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So Wednesday was my birthday, and my mother was in town from NJ and said she’d take me to dinner anywhere, and I chose Vito’s since I’d heard so much about it. Also, it was about 5:30pm, so I was pretty sure we’d beat any crowds (and we did).

For anyone who has yet to go to Vito’s – it is a tiny place. There are maybe 7 small tables. There were only 2 other people seated while we were there – one guy keeping to himself and his slices, and an old guy with a huge grey beard who seemed to be just hanging out more than actually consuming any food, and I guess he added to the neighborhood ambience of the place in that way. All the guys working there were nice and had a great rapport with one another.

But on to the food - overall A+!

Since we ordered main entrees, they came with small house salads to start, and they were great – greens, tomatoes, onions, and olives with a vinaigrette. Perfect small portion size and just the right amount of dressing.

I then had a cheese slice and a pepperoni slice. They didn’t taste exactly like what I remember from NJ, but they were damn close, and they are definitely the best by far that I’ve had in LA! The crust was absolute perfection! Even though Vito’s is totally out of my way, I don’t think I can eat pizza from any other place in LA ever again, and I can see myself making a trip there every weekend for a pie to keep at home for the week.

My $9.95 Penne Pesto came with some parmesan cheese on top, and I’m not really into uncooked cheese, so I was a little apprehensive. But it turned out to be a really great tasty touch; it went very well with the pasta and the great pesto sauce which tasted very very freshly made. However as great as the sauce was, there was way too much of it. This is a very oily dish – you can see some of the oil puddle in the photo. If I order it again, I will ask them to go light on the sauce.

My mom had the $11.95 Pasta Marinara with Meatballs. I’d assumed the pasta would be spaghetti, but it turned out to be penne. My mom said the sauce tasted very fresh and very homemade (true to the menu description I suppose – “Nona kept it simple, fresh basil, and her tomato sauce”). I had one bite and had to agree. This is definitely something I will order for myself next time.

For dessert – a slice of cheesecake. I normally detest cheesecake and will not touch the stuff, but it was not my choice, and this slice turned out to be so fantastic I ate the whole thing. I’m not sure if it’s a regular menu item, because of some jokes Vito was making about it, but if it is I highly recommend it. It was not cheesy at all. It was some kind of raspberry or strawberry kind. So fluffy and perfectly sweet with great crust.

I should caveat that the photos are not great. I was trying to be stealth, and my camera is very old. Hopefully you get the essence of it all. Everything seemed very homemade with care and love, and Vito is such a great nice guy. Count me in as a Vito’s customer for life! I can’t wait til my next visit there; I’m going to eat through their entire menu!

http://www.vitopizza.com

 
 
 
 
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  1. Went in last night to try it. Picked out four slices. White cheese was the first and I was sold from the first bite. It's a perfect slice of pizza. Absolutely addictive. The Vito's w/everything on it was very good, the Mediterranean vegetable was excellent, the Garibdali w/sausage and jalapeno was my least favorite but still good. The people could NOT be any sweeter -- God willing they stay that way as they get busier. This is a definite addition to my rotation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jcwla

      I've been converted by my lads into a chese slice fan but the white slices at the new Vito's are my (and GF's) new addiction! Add some fresh garlic......YUM!

    2. Glad you made it to Vito's, great review, next time I make the trip over the hill I'm going to try some of the pasta dishes..... if I can get away from my usual 3 slices. I love this place!

      1. It's tasty and a good approximation of NYC pizza but they need a hotter oven -- or at least to cook their pies longer. Crust is too droopy...

        2 Replies
        1. re: a_and_w

          Bet they'd do that if you asked them. (Keep it in longer, I mean, not get a hotter oven.)

          1. re: David Kahn

            Yes, I asked for it "well done" and "extra crispy" but they didn't quite get it. Next time, I'll ask them to make sure the edge of the crust is literally burnt before they give it to me. They do seem fairly accommodating, so I'll let you know...

        2. I gladly drive about 5 miles to Vito's when I want a slice, even though my office is half a block from Mulberry Street! I've had many of their slices but always come back to the vegetable pizza. I'm not at all a big vegie type but this is awesome. Everyone should try it.

          21 Replies
          1. re: Bob Brooks

            Anybody compare this to Lamonica's?

            1. re: ns1

              Well, I personally think Mulberry St and Lamonicas are better than Vito's. Though, it could have been an anomaly in my experience, (I've only been once - though same with Mulberry St), I liked the overall slice best at Mulberrys and the crust at Lamonica's. Vito's to me tasted like an average attempt at NY pizza. I will definitely give it another shot, since everyone here keeps giving it such glowing reviews.

              1. re: mdpilam

                Man, I really hate to post anything negative, but since we had tried out Vito's for the first time last week, I am not quite in agreement with all these glowing reviews. Tried the plain cheese slice and really that was quite oily, soggy and just not good. I had the veggie which was much better but eh, that cheese slice turned me off quite a bit. Maybe I'll give it another shot if I'm in the neighborhood.

                1. re: bassbiz

                  Soggy, soggy, soggy. Try Petrillo's in San Gabriel for pizza toppings and crust that are the best, in my opinion.

                  1. re: brwencino

                    I also tried Petrillo's after reading all the hype on here.
                    It is good too but no comparison to how good Vito is.

                    1. re: jcwla

                      ITA, Petrillos is a different pizza, the crust has a completely different structure than Vitos. To me, Vitos is pizza at it's finest, Petrillos is comfort food...

                      --Dommy!

                  2. re: bassbiz

                    Soggy is bad but oily is good, provided it's added olive oil and not the cheese.

                    1. re: bassbiz

                      Good for you. You are honest! I agree in part. I have been to Veto’s twice. I would not say it is not good but I agree it has too much oil on top. Also, IMO, maybe too much garlic in the sauce also. And just a bit too much oregano someplace and the crust was not that great. The crust cracks when you fold it to eat NY style. The first time I picked up a slice of Veto’s the front half broke off – Wat? However, After eating Veto’s I did not feel that, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” feeling. In fact the three of us felt pretty good. I liked it better cold the next day. That is part of the reason we went back the second time. The other part of the reason we returned is that MILK is not far away. Bottom line, IMO, Petrillo's thin crust is way better than Veto’s. That's right, I said WAY better.

                      1. re: JeetJet

                        INTERESTING!!! Is it because it folds better? I've never had Petrillo's thin crust, just their regular 'squares', Is the thin crust at Petrillos crisp at all?

                        We're going to Petrillos this weekend... I will report back...

                        --Dommy!

                        1. re: Dommy

                          "Is it because it folds better?" Good one. Your So Good! So NY/NJ. That’s why I miss being Back-East. Dommy, are you from Brooklyn too? BTW, at Petrillos it is a special request for thin crust and also say pie cut for the medium or you get those square squares. The large will always be cut in squares because it is a big rectangle. In answer, NO. I like Petrillos thin crust because the crust is a real pizza crust -- not a hard cracker like you get at Veto's and Casa Bianca (Sp?). Also, the cheese, pepperoni, and sausage are, IMO, higher quality – not to mention you get much more of it for your money. The outer crust of Petrillo's thin crust does has a crisppy edge – nice. The rest of the crust is strong enough to not have to fold it to keep it from flopping all over you like Veto's if you don't fold it. I like the cold left-overs of both pizza’s about equally. If people are eating all of their Veto’s, and not saving some for breakfast the next day, then they are missing the better half.

                          I really wonder about the oil on top of Veto’s. There is not enough of that ultra thin pepperoni to create that much oil. On half the pizza I could see a reflection of the ceiling in that oil. Maybe olive oil? Don’t get me wrong, I live for oil, garlic and oregano, but not everyone is from Brooklyn.

                          1. re: JeetJet

                            Nope, Native Angelino born at Cedars.... But my SO is from back east and is in hopes in finding pizza like Pizzeria Regina. We LOVED Vitos... but it wasn't Regina... We'll see how Petrillos goes! :)

                            --Dommy!

                            1. re: Dommy

                              OK, your SO is from back east. That explains it. Pizzeria Regina in the old North End is the best. Also, very good cold the next morning but really hard not to eat all right now! IMO, Petrillos thin crust is the closest I have found to Regina's. I never liked thin crust until I ate it at Regina's. That pizza made me ask the server at Petrillos if they could do a thin crust. IMO it is the crust that makes the pizza and Pizzeria Regina knows all about that. The Petrillos regular crust is a real pizza crust also but ever since I had Regina's I learn to love it thin. I am pleased with Petrillos version of a thin crust. Now, if your SO could find anything close to a Boston Speeds dog here in LA I would like to hear about it. The Boston Board is driving me crazy to try one. I guess for now I have Carney's. Enjoy, .

                              1. re: JeetJet

                                Regina's sausage pizza is my all time favorite. (Although the fennel sausage pizza at Mozza is pretty damn good too.)

                            2. re: JeetJet

                              #1. You're from Brooklyn and yet you spell it "Veto's" as someone from Kansas totally unfamiliar with New York's omnipresent Italian-American culture might.

                              #2. If you're surprised by oil on the top of a NY style slice then the pizza you've been eating hasn't been from Brooklyn! Part of the ritual of eating a slice of pizza from back home is that you fold the slice, holding it downward and let the oil drip into your paper plate.

                              So where are you really from? ;)

                              Mr Taster
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                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                taster, you got #2 to a T, the beauty is in folding a slice of this style of pizza, although of course it shouldn't be droopy but once in awhile it is.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  Exactly. The grease is perfect. If there's no orange oil on top for me to blot off with a thin napkin, or to drip out when I fold it in half, then no way is it east coast pizza to me!

                                  And it's not "soggy" which implies wet. If you want to say droopy, fine, but what do you expect - to hold it parallel to the ground by the crust and the rest of it still stays straight? A little droop is how I remember it from back east, otherwise you end up with a mess trying to fold a hard slice in half.

                                  1. re: LisaStitch

                                    A proper NY slice should be crisp but fold without cracking in half. Generally speaking, west coast places get crust wrong because people aren't expecting the kind of char that's required for this effect. They complain about burnt pizza so the result is undercooked crust at places like Abbott's and Vito's. I always crisp up my crust in frying pan or on a pizza stone if I can. Works like a charm with Abbott's, and I'm convinced Vito's would benefit from it too.

                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                  1. It would matter if “Petrillo's” was spelled wrong.

                                  2. Never said “surprised by oil.” I said too much oil and it is.

                                  Also,

                                  3, Droopy, 2 for 2, but Not undercooked. The very bottom of the crust (1/8 inch maybe) cracked because it was either overcooked on a hot plate, or was not moist enough to begin with. Yet the top of the crust (maybe 1/8 inch) was droopy with too much oil. The only thing that could help my two droopy pizzas was to make them over and do it right the next time. When I picked up my first slice, slowly attempting to fold it, the front half cracked. It was like the Titanic. The front cracked on the bottom but somehow stayed attached. Oil and cheese went every place.

                                  4, “Ritual... fold the slice... let the oil drip ...” The paper plate was swimming in oil already – both times.

                                  4, “Mr. Taster,” if you know my home town so well then you must know the name we use downtown for someone who anonymously challenges the honesty of another. For some reason, unknown to me, my first reply was removed. So I will say part of it here, East 4th st.

                                3. re: JeetJet

                                  JJ I am really having a hard time understanding how you say you find Vito's crust to be like a hard cracker? I have to agree with some of the posts upsteam from yours that say it's a bit on the droopy side, (which I like - strange born and bred LA native that I am).

                                  I do get your Veto reference (which to me was a rather sly bit of word play that indicated your negative feelings about Vito's). If it was just a typo please ignore my brilliant flash of insight. ;-D

                        2. re: ns1

                          Vito's, Lamonica's and Mulberry all have their own charm. Vito's is a little better as a whole pizza, though the white pizza slices are amazing. With that said, I go there all the time. It doesn't hurt that I live five blocks away.

                          Lamonica's is more hit or miss for me, though for a while it was my favorite. Mulberry is decent, but the prices are just killer. Village on Larchmont is probably better and cheaper than all of them.

                          1. re: ns1

                            The old Lamonica's Downtown was awesome. My friend who was born and raised in Brooklyn, spent his youth in the SFV and now lives in Phoenix loved Lamonica's Downtown. The one in Westwood wasn't quite the same. We recently went to the replacement of Lamonica's Downtown ("LA NY Pizza"?) and he said, "It's not the same." I told him about Vito's and he's definitely gonna check it out next time he's in town.

                        3. I like my pizza well done. When we've been at Vito's we order it well done, but done enough for us, so we send it back. They are very accomodating, and get it so the cheese is nice and brown and the crust is crispy not soggy. If you have a problem just send it back and they'll take care of it

                          1. Is Vitos a chain, because there is one in Santa Monica on Ocean Park Blvd.

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: malibumike

                              Just a coincidence. Like a Chinese restaurant called Golden Dragon or a Mexican place called Alberto's.

                              www.vitopizza.com

                              1. re: malibumike

                                No. Vito on Ocean Park is an old school, sit down, white table cloth kind of place (with a very tasty Cesar salad).

                                1. re: malibumike

                                  Vito's pizza, sadly (or not), could never be a chain. Vito is the pizza. What he understands about making pizza could never be written down in a recipe or handed down to someone else. Which reminds me, it's been a few weeks since I've been there. Going there this weekend.

                                  1. re: malibumike

                                    To MailbuMike, the Vito's you are refering to on Ocean Park, is a nice Italian Restaurant,(no pizza on the menu), whereas Vito on LaCienega is the Pizzeria.

                                    1. re: foodhappy

                                      I need to try Vito's then.

                                      I'm still looking in the SGV, but I've found something I like better than anything else I've had so far, at least on my first try there, just the other day. I went to Carmine's on Live Oak in Arcadia and got a thin crust pizza. I should have said crispy too, it was a little soggy in the center, but most of it was really good, I'll try that next time. And the vegetables (we got green peppers and onions) were all actually cooked and browned too. I've been to Avanti a few times, and their thin crust pizza usually means thin on ingredient list too (like hardly any sauce or toppings to go with the thin crust ??), and it is pricy on top of it not being what I'm looking for. I've tried some of the places people have been mentioning on the board, e.g. in SPas too. I think Petrillo's is okay, but this pizza was to me, definitely better.