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Jul 13, 2007 06:57 AM

Pizza Lunch Near Westwood/UCLA

Three of us are having lunch in the Westwood/UCLA area tomorrow (Saturday). Any good suggestions for good pizza in that general vicinity at a place that has tables to sit down? Someplace near Westwood or else points towards the ocean or a bit south of there (West L.A., Santa Monica, no further than Culver City). Thanks everyone.

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  1. Have you been to D'Amore's before? Not bad (Boston "style" pizza). Not a restaurant setting, but they do have more of a table friendly, sit down environment than Lamonica's, which has better pizza but really seems like it's only for take away.

    1. i'm a fan of lamonica's. but if you want something more chainy there is bj's.

      1. If you just want pizza and sodas, my vote is Lamonica's by far. They are on Gayley, between Kinross and Weyburn, and have the most turnover, thus the freshest slices. I stay with the simple NY-style with pepperoni, sausage, and/or mushroom, but they also have other toppings and thicker Sicilian-style pizza as well. There are plenty of tables to sit at, including one or two outside.

        It is only if you want other alternatives, such as salads, pasta, or sandwiches, that I'd consider D'Amores (on Broxton) or the place on Weyburn a couple of doors east of Stan's donuts that has a slice/salad/drink lunch special -- Enzo's, I think. Don't forget Diddy Riesse for big cookies (3/$1) or ice cream sandwiches ($1.25) for dessert.

        3 Replies
        1. re: nosh

          Totally second Lamonica's, which I keep meaning to post about on its own. Yet another example of how the pizza situation in LA is nowhere near as bad as some laments suggest. I like the crispy crust, though it can sometimes be a little tough and I think they're cheating by using cornstarch. Overall, however, I've been impressed.

          1. re: a_and_w

            Thanks everyone. I used to go to the downtown location of Lamonica's almost every day when I worked in that area - loved their pizza! Haven't been to the one in Westwood, though. So there are a lot of tables there? I thought it was just a counter and you takes your pizza and eats it elsewheres.. if there are places to sit down I'd like to go there.

            1. re: monkuboy

              I've gotten delivery both times I've ordered. Sorry!

              BTW, can anyone compare the pizza at Lamonica's and D'Amore's?

        2. Lamonica's is super good!!! D'Amore's is good too. Both are pizza places. You can sit and eat - but there is no waitstaff.

          I think B.J.'s is ok - not bad/not great chicago-ish style pizza. But it's more of a "real" restaurant and so if you're looking for that and pitchers of beer - it's good.

          15 Replies
          1. re: dtud

            Thanks - I've been to BJ's and I'd prefer the thin crust. BJ's is kind of eh, although the atmosphere is not bad. I don't care if it is a order at the counter/pickup at the counter operation as long as there are tables to sit down.

            1. re: monkuboy

              How is Enzo's? I saw someone eating it and it looked pretty good.

              I tried Lamonica's and it wasn't that great. Too much cheese, not enough sauce, not thin enough and overcooked. I can see how it would be a great place at 2am though.

              1. re: stangoldsmith

                In my very limited experience, Enzo's slices do look good and especially big. But a bit tired, as if they'd been sitting too long and not reheated well enough. (I have not had a freshmade entire pizza, as I've often had delivered from Lamonica's. But on the occasions I'm walking by and want just a slice at Lamonica's, it is crisped up from some time back in the oven and tastes very hot and much fresher. More turnover, as I may have written above...)

                1. re: stangoldsmith

                  We ended up at Enzo's - split an 18" sausage/olive/pepperoni pizza. It was good - the crust was firm and on the crisp side, and there was a good balance between the cheese, sauce and ingredients. The edges were nicely chewy. Since we ordered a whole pizza, it was made fresh. Originally we intended to go to D'Amores but discovered that it had somehow turned into a soon-to-be Chipolte location.. so we walked over to Enzo's and were not disappointed.

                  1. re: stangoldsmith

                    I'm glad Lamonica's cooks the pizza as long as they do -- this is the number one thing that LA pizzerias get wrong. I can tell, for example, that Vito's undercooks their pies to suit the taste of Angelenos.

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      Undercooked pizza? Yuck! Is that really the case that Angelenos prefer undercooked pizza crust? The crust is the most important part of the pizza.

                      1. re: monkuboy

                        Thanks for reporting back. Enzo's also has coupons occasionally in the Daily Bruin and I've never tried a full pizza.

                        1. re: nosh

                          i bought a couple slices the other day from Enzo's and they just take a couple slices of premade pie and put the toppings you want on it and re-bake it. i suppose for 2 bucks it's not that bad since it's a big slice and while premade still tasted good.

                          i'd like to taste a fresh pizza from there though.

                        2. re: monkuboy

                          Not just Angelenos, but Californians generally. In my experience, most would regard a properly charred crust as overdone. Here's the rub with places like Lamonica's, Vito's, and Abbott's, all of which serve surprisingly decent pizza, imo. They use gas ovens, which aren't as hot as wood or coal. They thus have to cook pies a lot longer and risk drying out the crust. It can be done, and I frankly prefer it when pizzerias err on the side of "too crisp," but most people will complain. Hence the problem of droopy, soggy, undercooked crust. I think that's also why crust tends to be so thick out here -- cooks are trying to compensate for the aforementioned problems.

                          1. re: a_and_w

                            VERY interesting observation and analysis, a and w. If I'm ordering a Lamonica's pizza for delivery, I preheat my oven and a castiron skillet a bit after the call. Then when the pizza comes I can take a couple slices, supplement with some parmesan and red pepper flakes, and immediately place on the castiron and crisp up in the oven. Much better that way than a slice "fresh" from the cardboard tray and delivery.

                            1. re: nosh

                              Totally agree, nosh. Pizza stones work well too. I use a frying pan in the summer to cut down on the heat. No matter how you do it, crisping up the crust is a must, imo.

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                a and w.. ever been to johns on bleeker in nyc. real coal oven you would love the crispy char to that crust... mmm good..

                                1. re: Foodandwine

                                  Small confession, I'm not a huge fan of John's, though it's definitely better than 99% of the slice joints in NYC. I'm a Patsy's and Arturo's guy for coal-fired pizza. On that point, are there ANY places in LA that have a coal oven? Or do the air quality regulations prohibit it?

                                  Regardless, if you're ever back in NYC, make a point of trying DiFara in Brooklyn (Q to Ave J). That guy is living proof that gas ovens can make a truly transcendent pie!

                                  1. re: Foodandwine

                                    i much prefer johns pizza once it has had to sit around for 20-30mins or so. i dunno why but it feels like the dough becomes more chewy (in a good way) and the flavors more pronounced.