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Now Open- Bollini's - The Best Pizza in L.A.

  • j

There's an old 1930's song called "I Found A Million Dollar Baby (In A Five and Ten Cent Store.)" That's exactly how my wife and I feel about Bollini's Pizzeria on Garfield Avenue, two blocks North of the 60 FWY, in the Southern part of Monterey Park. Christiano Bollini, the owner/chef was born and raised in that area. He grew up with his Grandmother's recipes and a profound calling to be a chef. He attended Cordon Bleu, apprenticed with Celestino Drago and Piero Selveggio (Valentino's) and spent a couple of years in Italy soaking up the secrets of regional cuisine from Venice to Napoli. But for Chris, home was where the heart was, and unlikely as it seems, he's opened up a spectacular! pizzeria in a non-descript storefront just blocks from where he lives. Opened a mere ten days ago, Bollini's is a cause for wonder – serving the finest Neapolitan style pizza in Los Angeles and a select group of pasta entrees and salads as good or better than anything available at Valentino's, Locanda Veneto, Il Moro, Giorgio Baldi's or anywhere else in this city. The difference is, of course, the minimal decor, the correspondingly low prices and the assiduous personal care Chris brings to his cooking. It's not a restaurant, not a date spot, it would even be an insult to formica. In the hallowed tradition of the East Coast, it's a pizzeria. To me it's a cathedral.

Bollini's uses a wood-fired oven (it burns hotter than gas) to turn out a chewy, smokey and splendidly crispy crust. I've long been a fan of Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey, owned by Pepe Miele, who is, I believe the only certified Neapolitan pizza master in the U.S. Bollini's crust is even better, thin yet firm, a perfect platform for a luscious selection of toppings. Their specialty pizzas are listed on their website (see below) and they will make any combination you can dream up. I'm a traditionalist - if it doesn't have red sauce and mozzarella, it's abstract art to me. My wife is more the gourmet - she created a pizza of fontina cheese, roasted garlic, fennel sausage, fresh tomato and a homemade horseradish sauce. The latter initially made me cringe, but it's the centerpiece of their steak pizza.

Our deal was that if she drove with me from Santa Monica, she could order what she wanted. For once in our twenty-five year marriage, I was glad to have her along. The resulting pie was simply beautiful - perfectly charred, colorful with a sprinkle of basil, and as pleasing to the nose as a fine perfume. We sat there for a moment, stunned by the beauty, inhaling the scent, and falling in love before the first bite.

The pie was sheer perfection - especially the fennel sausage which Chris has made to order in Vernon (the sausage capital of LA?) The fontina was a better choice than mozzarella and the horseradish sauce (which is mixed with parmesan cheese) added a surprising but mellifluous undertone - sharp, but not jarring. For the first time in years of carb-counting, we agreed about the crust - she actually ate all of hers, avoiding her repugnant habit of topping scraping. And that's when things went from right to wrong to right again.

We each inhaled a slice and lapsed into orgasmic moans. Bollini, who was heading out on an errand, stopped by our table to give us a sample of his wild mushroom fettucini with chicken, laced with truffle oil and garlic. It may be the best ten dollar entree in the city - perfect fettucini wearing a silk smoking jacket of truffle oil and garlic. We tasted it and in the midst of congratulating him and shaking hands, the table shook, and the pizza slid onto the floor. We wept and wept for what seemed like half a second before Chris graciously offered us a replacement.

Having had a clam and mushroom slice to start (good but not really to our taste), plus one of their exquisite house salads (imagine golden teardrop tomatoes and a citrus vinaigrette at a pizzeria) we were already almost full. But we couldn't resist - it was on the house. So we ordered again, their Porco ($15) a traditional red-sauce (my turn) pie with mozzarella, fennel sausage, 3 pepper sausage, bacon, tomatoes, onions, basil and parmesan, to which we added roasted garlic. In the twenty minute drive back to Santa Monica we had the best smelling car in the world (new product idea - pizza air fresheners.) It was still warm when we got home, and our teenage son, who just got back from Italy added his approval. Eureka - we found it!

I'm from New York and chronically unhappy about L.A. pizza. I've been looking for years - not for New York pizza (it seemingly can't be duplicated here) but for some place that truly knocked my socks off. It isn't Vito's, Abbot's, Caioti, Casa Bianca, the diffident Mozza, or even Antica. I had a pizza specially made for me at Il Moro the other night - it was great. But even that, as part of an evening that always costs at least $150 per couple, can't compare. Bollini's is the true, classic essence of pizza.

It seats maybe sixteen people, there's a huge stack of wood by the door and a picture of the Last Supper hanging on the back wall. Chris Bollini is a master chef doing what he loves, for the people he loves (half the customers seemed like his lifelong friends.) If pizza is a slice of heaven, when you die, I hope you go to Monterey Park. If my last supper were to be in Los Angeles, I think it would be at Bollinis.


Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana
2315 S. Garfield Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754


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  1. Can't wait to try it. Thanks for the great write up.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gaylenwaydelich

      You're welcome. Go tomorrow (they're closed Sundays.) Or call them - 323 722-7600 . They're having special tasting nights for the next few weeks to add a few specials to the menu.

      1. re: Jeryy

        Dude, you are my hero.. I will be going out that way for a pizza before my next Dodger Game.. or maybe sooner. I am a Fan of all of you above posts but never tried Mozza or Bianca. But I will report back. Thanks for the post!

        1. re: Foodandwine

          Cool. Just be sure to leave enough time to have your own pizza made fresh. The slices (six varieties) are reheated, and, like everywhere else, they suffer from that. But you can get a basic 12" pie for 8 bucks. And extra toppings are only 50 cents each! That's not a typo - this place is unreal.

    2. thanks for the info - i am a huge sausage pizza fan - it will be interesting to compare this place to my personal fav - chris bianco's pizzeria in downtown phoenix ( the fennel sausage is top notch...i also enjoy the sausage at casa bianca, mozza and petrillo's )

      btw - there is another "certified" neopolitan pizzeria...not too far away... in henderson, nv ( about 10-15 miles from the vegas strip ) if you ever make it out to vegas you should give it a try

      1. what a nice piece...we're coming into LA from NYC and staying in beverly hills...how would we get there and what else would you recommend, both high end for my teenage daughter's celeb radar and simple for my wallet

        11 Replies
        1. re: JKFinally

          Beverly Hills to Monterey Park is a bit of a trek. I don't want to discourage you from making the journey, but if budget is a consideration, keep the gas money in mind.

          1. re: JKFinally

            Thanks. If you're just visiting from NYC, it's a long, unneccessary trek from Beverly Hills. You might as well go to John's on Bleecker Street or Patsy's in East Harlem. But if you need to try Bollini's, look up the address on Mapquest.

            As for celeb watching, have lunch outside one day at any of the cafe's at Sunset Plaza. For fine dining, or medium/fine or budget dining in and around Beverly Hills, first decide if you want cuisines that are available in NYC? Please tell me what your favorite kinds of meals are and I'd be happy to make some suggestions.

            1. re: Jeryy

              Love Johns on Bleeker.. grew up on that coal..

              1. re: Jeryy

                Tx...we certainly don't want to go to the same restaurants that we have in nyc, such as craft/nobu...we have 4 nights and my daughter definitely wants a night at Koi, so probably one more higher end and 2 more fiscally responsible choices, plus a few lunches... we like most foods...italian, non haute french, sushi, steak/burgers etc...and while I have you would you know the best method of getting from beverly hills to usc for a campus visit?..thanks

                1. re: JKFinally


                  Please do keep discussing the chow, but driving directions are out of scope for Chowhound.


                  1. re: The Chowhound Team

                    Sorry...my first posts...did my post go thru or do i need to revise it?

              2. re: JKFinally

                For celeb radar - Koi on La Cienga. If you've been to Tao, it's the same thing with more celebs. The Ivy on Robertson for lunch or dinner. Try Urth Cafe, Toast, "little Italy" in Brentwood. Usually have random celeb sightings at The Grove. Lunch at Fred Segal WeHo and Santa Monica. Funny thing is my daughter attends NYU and lives in GV. She has more celeb sightings in GV than when she is home in LA.

                1. re: gaylenwaydelich

                  Spotting celebs at The Grove and Farmer's Market is a lot easier during the day / work hours. Pretty easy at ArcLight also, and what teenage daughter wouldn't want to see a movie?

                  1. re: gaylenwaydelich

                    The dfference is, as New Yorkers, we can't get excited about seeing celebs in the city...but on vacation, it's somehow different

                    1. re: JKFinally

                      well i have no idea how the food is, and considering how sublime the italian food is in ny/nj you may wind up disappointed in the meal...but you're likely to net a celeb sighting [or two, or three] at 'il sole' on sunset blvd in west hollywood...it's one of the most notable celeb faves in town. either there, or 'dan tana's' on santa monica blvd.

                      enjoy your trip!

                  2. re: JKFinally

                    Try sitting outside at Il Fornaio and inside at The Grill (very $$$$) both in Beverly Hills for celebs. Also Cafe Montana in Santa Monica on Montana Ave. Also The Ivy on Robertson - very celeb, very $$$$. But you can get the same view from The Newsroom across the street.

                  3. I have to totally disagree with this favorable post. I ordered a plain cheese pizza to go. (I only live 3 blocks away). I have to admit that I am spoiled on good pizza, such as Petrillo's in San Gabriel and Damiano's New York style pizza on Fairfax across from Canters. These are two different types of pizzas, but both are delicious in their own way. The pizza I had at Bollini's was possibly the WORST pizza I ever tasted. The crust is burned and is the cracker-type crust. Give me a hand tossed real pizza crust, not cheap cracker dough, Even Shakeys destroys this pizza. The tomato sauce and cheese at Bollini's barely covered the crust and stopped about 3 inces from the end. Why skimp so much on the ingredients? The cheese & tomato pizza I had was tasteless. I was extremely disappointed in this pizza and will never go back again, even though I can walk there in 5 minutes from my house.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: wojpol

                      So you were extremely disappointed in this pizza and will never go back again? Go back. Next time do not anticipate having “Pizza.” This is, “Pizza Napoletana.” That term does not imply pizza in general but rather the very specific.. Anticipate having a thin open-face quesadilla – Italian style. You should then be satisfied. On-the-other-hand, with that thought in mind, $8 for a small quesadilla and $12 for a large? Well....

                      1. re: wojpol

                        Odd, your description of the "bad" pizza sounds very much like authentic neopolitan and italian pizza. sparse on toppings, very thin crust with char spots.

                        1. re: wojpol

                          Chacun a son gout. I live five minutes from Antica Pizzeria in MDR and don't like their Neapolitan style of pizza, while Jeryy prefers it to anyone's except Bollini's. FWIW, statistically, the majority of posters are jonesing "Pizza Abbondanza", not "Pizza Napoletana".

                        2. Neapolitan is a distinct style that's obviously not to your taste. My suggestion is that you go to Shakey's and order the Wild Mushroom Fettucini.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Jeryy

                            excellent point - neapolitan style is not your "one pound of cheese" style pizza - yes, the toppings generally are on the skimpier side - keep in mind in italy, pizza is not the "meal-in-one" , it's usually one course of several...same is true of pasta...it is generally one of several courses in a meal. when it comes to the sauce...well, some argue there shouldn't even be a "sauce" on pizza....i enjoy most styles of pizza though personally, i find the chicago "pies" to be a little too much.....Enjoy !!

                            1. re: kjs

                              i live in monterey park and went to bollini few days after they open. yes..their pizza is really good but not sure if i would drive across town for it?
                              not much of place to eat as well...only table there are for party of two and it is very tiny place. more of take out place imo.

                              1. re: rickym13

                                They could possibly combine a couple of tables to seat four. But six wouldn't be practical.

                          2. I have had Neapolitan pizza in Washington at 2Amy's Pizza (a meal on it's own), and maybe the best thin crust in the country at Regina’s in Boston. I was born in Broklyn and never liked thin crust there. Today I went to Bollini's Pizzeria (NOT the best pizza in L.A.) and bought three (cheese, pepperoni, “sausage”) Neapolitan style pizzas. The price is low but so is the amount of “pizza.” I would say that if you want it hot you must eat it there because this “thin crust” is ultra thin (thinner than a saltine cracker) and it has very little cheese. Maybe the crust and cheese combined amount to 3/16 in., thick., or a little more than a saltine. I am talking thin. Therefore there is NO mass to hold any heat that makes it from the wood fired oven to the box (which I thought is thicker and heavier then the pie and probably drains the heat from this pizza), let alone a trip home. IMO, the crust has no flavor at all except for the nicely burned edges which I liked. However, I did not notice any wood smoke flavor anyplace on the pie. A friend and I ate some there and two pies went on a ride with us. I like cold pizza and this pizza is just fine cold.

                            Of the three pizzas my group tried today we all agreed that the cheese is the best. Although the pepperoni is sliced very thin it takes away from the taste of the very flavorful sauce and good cheese (good cheese -- not great). IMO the pepperoni should be a better quality. I like sausage pizza. IMO this was not a sausage. It looked, smelled, and tasted like sliced hot dog and for the next two hours the only aftertaste I had was like I ate hot dog. That “sausage “ IMO ruined the cheese pizza it was put on. OK, maybe hot dogs are sausages, but really.

                            I will return because I want to take another friend who I really think will like this place. He is a strict vegetarian who loves thin crust pizza – “the thinner the better.” He almost never eats bread and, come to think of it, he is very thin. Also, he loves seafood and the selection of pizza toppings include shrimp, clams, calamari, and anchovy. I also noticed a salad topped with salmon. Perhaps it's true that Bollini's “pizza” is best ordered with several other items from the menu. However, many other menu items are near $10 each and then the price per person is not really low. IMO, and this is no secret that needs soaking up in other countries, a great thin crust pizza must begin with a true pizza crust like the thin crust special order at petrillo's (which has the best crust, cheese, sausage and pepperoni in L.A., IMO) or regular crust at vitio's -- think tug and chew, not CRACK and CRUMBLE. Bottom line, IMO, Bollini's is Not the best in L.A. but it is here to stay because L.A. is big enough to support this thin version of a thin pie because many people here want to pretend they are eating pizza but are more concerned about staying thin themselves.It is worth a 10 to 15 min drive but I wish it had a pizza crust under it and not a thin cracker.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: JeetJet

                              I'm going to DC in September and looking forward to trying 2 Amys. As for the crusts at Bollini's, we had one slice and two separate pies. On the slice and the white pie ( see my original post) the crust was a bit thicker and hence better than the red sauce pie. The red sauce pie was slightly too thin, but the toppings were all excellent. I'm not kidding - the first white pie we had was simply bursting with flavor with a perfect crust. Maybe we all should ask for slightly thicker crust.

                              1. re: Jeryy

                                I look forward to taking my seafood /thin pizza loving friend to Bollini's. I plan to buy only one large pizza and save room for a large shave-ice for dessert across the street at Shakas. In fact, since parking is somewhat limited at Bollini's I just might park at the curb across the street to begin with, and then stop at Shakas when we walk back to the car. This friend of mine has not had a shave ice since he visited the islands years ago. I Know he will really enjoy this afternoon.


                                DC Hounds are great help!

                              2. re: JeetJet

                                Great review thanks for the 411.....So ....it's still Vito's then? I was going to make a trip to this place but I will just make a run to Vito's instead...

                                1. re: wizardx

                                  I've been to both and there is no comparison between the two places?
                                  Vito's is totally different style from a whole different Region.
                                  Bollini's is good for thin Crust if your in the Area.
                                  Our favorite Thin Crust is still D'Amore(Pizza Connection) in Sherman Oaks (Coldwater & Magnolia).

                              3. just a thought -- Bloom Cafe on Pico has great thin crust pizza with organic toppings and lots of vegetarian options. their Moroccan/French take on it is light and crispy and afterward you don't feel like you've eaten an 18" pie...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: at4

                                  I had Bloom's potato and comte pizza two nights ago and I can't stop thinking about it. I also really love the blue cheese and butternut squash one. Obviously, it's not for traditionalists in terms of toppings, but I think it's a great version of a very thin crust pizza.

                                2. Went to Bollini's yesterday with a party of ten (they just put the small tables together). As for pizza we ordered the Steak Special, the Cal Bianco, and the Porco. All were delicious and well made. The Porco was absolutely covered with meat. The other two weren't but I think that was intentional so they wouldn't override their respective flavors. We ordered two pastas: the Wild mushroom fettuccini and the Penne with sausage and peppers. Both orders were HUGE! They split the orders in half to make it easier for us to pass around the table and each half was the size of a regular order at most other places. As for fiber, we ordered the Green bean salad and Arugula Salad. Both were amazing, very very tasty, and once again HUGE. We will definitely be back.

                                  1. We had our first pizza today from Bollini's and I have to say it was one of the best pizza's we ever had including the one we ate at John's on Bleeker in NYC. We also had the 3 leaf salad and I think I'll pass on that next time. Too busy and too much dressing. I'm anxious to try their pasta. Thanx for the heads up on this gem. We live 5 minutes from it so we scored.

                                    1. based on comments here, we took the long drive to monterey park to check this place out tonight..and WALKED OUT.....the appetizers that looked most attractive on their webpage are 'no longer on the menu because nobody orders them"......what???
                                      the pizza chef says sheepishly..."oh, that's my fault, I just haven't gotten around to changing it...."
                                      they had half a dozen so-called gourmet pizzas 'chilling' on the counter...yuck!
                                      it was totally empty at 8 pm...
                                      and the decor?? the place makes pizza hut look elegant...

                                      19 Replies
                                      1. re: limaboy

                                        If you look at my Post above I said "IF YOUR IN THE AREA" it's worth a Stop. Nothing about it being worth a long drive?

                                        1. re: russkar

                                          The OP's post makes it sound like it is worth the long drive, though, even if yours didn't. However, the OP also said to order a fresh pizza, not a reheated one and limaboy's comment was made without even trying any of the pizza at all.

                                        2. re: limaboy

                                          “Based on comments here...” This thread is really a good one because the posters who claim to have been to Bollini's are posting different perceptions (Positive to negative) of what they experienced. In one of my mixed comments above I said it was worth a 10 to 15 minute drive. Even one of the positive reviews above tempered it with “We live 5 minutes from it so we scored.”

                                          Now even the ambiance is an issue because above it is said that the decor at Bollini's makes pizza hut more elegant. I disagree. I liked the soft color of the stained wood and the dark brown floor tile in the very small eating area. The walls and ceiling are also a soft pail cream/yellow as I recall – maybe just a little darker?. I would think who ever designed the color scheme has spent some time in Tuscany, or at least watched as many food TV shows as I have – LOL. A clear line of white paint divides the ceiling of the eating area from the modern stainless steal kitchen area – nice kitchen.

                                          Another post mentions that the tables for two can be put side-by-side for a large group. I cannot imagine that happening without violating a fire code. This place is set-up for lunch or dinner for two unless you sit at those few counter stools overlooking the street at the front window. These tables for two are set against a wall with only room for the walkway on the open side. The chairs are back-to-back with the chairs for the next table. The dining section looks like a hallway with tables along the right wall (Think of the hallway eating section at MILK and you got the picture). I noticed this because when I went there I was looking to see if there was even room to put a third chair at our table on the side of the walkway. I decided even that could not reasonably be done without making it awkward for another guest to walk past your table. To put the tables side-by-side, with chairs on each side of the resulting longer table, you would have to move the tables away from the wall thus using the entire walkway. You might even have to climb over the first chair to get to inner chairs. There would be no room for a server to reach the inner people and no room to run if a fire started in the kitchen area located a few feet away in the same small room. Thus, “Table for two, anyone?”

                                          Finally, about the ‘so-called gourmet pizzas 'chilling' on the counter.” As I said above, This is not “pizza, “ but rather “Pizza Napoletana” and IMO that is not gourmet. Also, I sat at the table directly across from those pizzas (oops, those Pizza Napoletanas) and I noticed that they actually are not on the counter top. While seated I was eye level with the counter top and noticed that they are on top of a long and very low stainless steel appliance which is on the counter top. I assumed it is some kind of device to keep the pizzas (opps again) warm. Thus my thoughts were the opposite of yours. I thought that as thin as these pizzas (damn-it, there I go again) are, that the result would be warm dry open-face quesadillas.

                                          1. re: JeetJet

                                            Well you posted an intelligent answer. Why you speak in pidgin sometime and propah English udder time? Lol.. I just have to try that pizza (the Napoletana pizza) asap! This guy sure is getting a lot of free publicity.

                                            Out of curiousity - did you ever try Compari's pizza? It's the tiny place on Centinela near La Tijera in Westchester. The pizzas made by the original owners (not the current ones.. I'm talking at least 20 years ago) had the best crust I have ever eaten, period. It had exactly the right degree of chewiness and texture.

                                            1. re: monkuboy

                                              I have never tried Compari's pizza. A crust with chewiness and texture sounds great. The crust is the foundation of a true pizza and that is why I loike petrillo's and Vito's - tug & chew. IMO, there is no crust under a Pizza Napoletana. As a rule the crust cannot be more than 1/16 inch thick. That is thinner than most flour tortillas. Hence my analogy to an open-face quesadilla. Therefore, whether you are sastified with Pizza Napoletana is truly depemdent upon whether your expectations are met, or more speciffically, whether your expectations are proper. I kew what I might get beacise I ate at 2Amy's in Washington. I recall thay offer One size pie. I had my own and a small salad. I left a little hungey but that was fine because I was heading for a ice cream place nearby. The same can happen with Bollini's because Shakas (shave ice) is right across the street. Maybe one of the specials at Bollini's (a slice, salad, drink for 7.50) and then a shave ice at Shakas -- that would be OK.

                                              As fo dat pidgin talk. Sometime It say mo den all da words -No? Really it is mo like how I think. I have real bad hearing problem and so only hear,or foucs, on the main words. I also have distractability and dat makes writing mo hard. That explains why my bad spelling and syntax. I must focus on writing wot I be think'n mo den the spell'n or maybe i forget wot i think'n bout. In odder words, sayn wot I think in da fastis way is mo betta fo me. At Dis place, chowhound, dats ok,cuz dis bout the chow -- dis not spell'n bee.com Da focus is da chow. Dat reminds me, why I talk'n bout me, huh?

                                              monkuboy, you go down Monterey Park, have a quesadilla Napoletana and report back. tell us wot you tink.

                                              1. re: JeetJet

                                                Well Jeet Jet, I hope to have a Bollini's report for you. I used to live in MP quite a few years.. anyway, I do enjoy your posts, regardless of which style of writing you use!

                                                Oh, and Comparis - that to me was the perfect example of tug and chew. The crust was thin (not thin like how you describe Napoletana) but it was a lot thinner than the normal Petrillo's crust. I've never had a pizza with as good a crust texture as theirs, but sadly they've been out of business for a long time. The folks who took over the restaurant, as well as the name, make a decent pizza but it is totally different from the original.

                                                1. re: monkuboy

                                                  Comparis -- "out of business for a long time."I hate it when that happens. To me it is not like your life has ended but more like part of what you live for has.

                                                  What I like about Petrillo's crust (special order thin crust, about 1/8" to 3/16" thick) is the flavor. The tug and chew is there but IMO Vito's has a better tug and chew. Petrillo's also has a great house bread that they serve inside when you eat there. The texture and flavor is perfect. Anyway, the Petrillo's thin crust is a whole different pizza than the regular crust. What drives me nuts about this place is you must tell them how to cut a a round pizza -- "Like a pie, no squares -- Wot?"

                                                  BTW, I enjoy your post and like dat name -- monkuboy. Sound like from da Pacific someplace.

                                                  1. re: JeetJet

                                                    Hey Jeet -- give me your top 5 pizza places in the LA. I feel like we're in line in our tastes and though I've done 40-something different joints out here, I want to make sure I'm not missing anything special.

                                                    1. re: sloanedone

                                                      40-something different pizza joints -- my respect. Which come to your mind when someone says, "How about pizza?"

                                                      Pizza is So subjective and so many factors can sway you. For example, IMO, the best ambiance for a take-out is the back door counter at Carmine's in Arcadia. It is like walking into some place in NJ. On a rainy night it just seems like the right place to stop on your way home. The pizza is good but not great. I would like to think that the importance of the texture and flavors, which each of us assign to the elements of the pizza (crust, sauce, cheese, toppings), cause us to like one pizza more than others. However, I think other factors having nothing to do with the pizza also come into play for many. Finally, the price of the pie and what you get for that money (amount?, something special?).

                                                      It is good to keep an open mind and try new places. Just today we went to W.Covina to get some deli meats and bought a pizza at Old World Deli. As soon as I tasted it I thought the owner of the place must have once worked for "Dick," the founder of Lampost Pizza (El Monte and many other locations -- once upon a time). It was IMO the same crust, sauce and cheese.

                                                      With all that in mind, I have only four places in L.A. that come to mind when someone says, “How about pizza?”

                                                      Petrillo's Pizza Restaurant and take-out (IMO, the best in L.A. High quality cheese, Pepperoni and sausage on a very good pizza crust. The negative here is they give you too much. Therefore, you could ask them to be easy on the cheese, Pepperoni and sausage. Also, if you want a thin crust you must SAY SO. You Must Request thin crust and pie cut – not squares)
                                                      833 E Valley Blvd
                                                      San Gabriel, CA 91776
                                                      (626) 280-7332

                                                      Tony's Pizza (NY style thin crust pies & Slices)
                                                      2555 Huntington Drive (NE Corner at Del Mar)
                                                      San Marino, CA 91108
                                                      (626) 793-4114

                                                      Vito’s Pizza (Thin crust pies & Slices. Also try a calzone
                                                      )846 N. La Cienega Blvd. (Near Melrose, walk into this place and feel like you went to NJ.)
                                                      Los Angeles, CA
                                                      (310) 652-6859

                                                      Pizza Bakery (Thin crust pies & Slices. California style)
                                                      1741 Westcliff Dr, (I like to eat in my car and watch the foot traffic in/out the front door)
                                                      Newport Beach, CA 92660
                                                      (949) 631-1166

                                                      Not for the pizza

                                                      Carmine's (Try the "Italian Cheesesteak," Spaghetti with either meat balls or sausage, and lasagna)
                                                      311 E Live Oak Ave
                                                      Arcadia, CA 91006
                                                      (626) 445-4726
                                                      East of Santa Anita

                                                      1. re: JeetJet

                                                        is pizza bakery on the same street where 17th st in costa mesa changes into westcliff? also, necesary to specify thin crust or what? thanks. is it also in the same mini-mall as ristorante max? thanks.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          Yes, 17th st in costa mesa changes into westcliff and Pizza Bakery is on the South side in a mini mall. IMO, this pizza is good because it is like a cross between NY and Calif. It is different. So many locals go there at lunch for the special -- a large slice, salad and drink. A larger slce is like a NY size slice.

                                                        2. re: JeetJet

                                                          See, I LOVE Carmine's pizza. Think it is one of the best. I always get it well done. They have both the thin and thick crust - which most people do not know (about the thin one). I have not been to the Arcadia location - only the So Pas one. Also, their Gumbi (with sausage, not meatballs) is great. I love their pasta pescatore (with the pink sauce) and their soups are delish as well.

                                                          1. re: WildSwede

                                                            I have not had a Carmine's pizza in over two years. We use to get the veggie pizza there. It had Cauliflower, Broccoli and other serious veggies. Not sure whether they still make such a pie. The main reason we go (still go once a month) is the spaghetti, Gumbi and garlic bread. The Gumbi is one of my sons fav meals anyplace.

                                                            I was unaware that they make a thin crust. I can understand why you feel the Carmine's pizza is one of the best. It is well above average IMO and with a thin crust I will try it with sausage on our next spaghetti run.

                                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                                              Here is a link with the menu. Garden pizza is still there! I also order their pizzas well done (actually, every pizza I order gets specified "well done"). They also have pretty good buffalo chicken tenders (which are not on the menu). I get them extra crispy, hot (the mild is nasty) and extra sauce. Yum!


                                                2. re: monkuboy

                                                  Comparis!!!! I grew up on that stuff. Thanks for the memories.

                                                  1. re: meatlessinla

                                                    Hey you're welcome! Now wasn't that a good pizza? The toppings were kind of skimpy but that crust was wonderful..

                                                    1. re: monkuboy

                                                      And the way the sauce merged with the top layer of crust.

                                                3. re: JeetJet

                                                  There was no fire hazard.....they put the tables together against the wall and everyone sat on one side, facing the wall. It might sound bizarre but we didn't have any problems with it. It was kinda like sitting at a counter. Besides, everyone was too busy enjoying the food to care!!

                                                4. re: limaboy

                                                  the much-lauded zelo has premade pizzas chilling in a display case, and nothing more than a few cheap tables and folding chairs. and people on this board love it anyway (fyi, i'm lukewarm about zelo).
                                                  besides, who of us hasn't checked the online menu somewhere, then gone to the restaurant only to find that the menu has changed? if we're looking for good food, there's only one way to tell... with our taste buds.

                                                5. Just a quick correction -- I'm pretty sure there are several other certified Neapolitan pizza places in the US besides Antica.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: a_and_w

                                                    When I mentioned Pepe Miele in the original post about Bollini's I was semi-recalling an article either in the Times or LA Weekly. There may be more many Neapolitan masters in the US. I hope they prosper and multiply.

                                                    1. re: Jeryy

                                                      I just enjoyed the pizza margarita for lunch and it was delicious. I prefer the thin crust, light toppings, but the familia likes the meal-in-a-pan pizza, so I'm usually outnumbered. Nice to have something like this close to home, instead of going over the river and thru the woods for a pie. The smell of the smoky wood oven was intoxicating. Very friendly staff, comfortable seating, I will return soon. A little slice of heaven here in my 'hood. Yay! Note--they are closed on Sundays.

                                                  2. Of Course NY Pizza can't be Duplicated here. First we don't have the Water. NY City has the Finest water in the country. And 2nd No one here has the Coal fired Pizza Ovens.....

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Skunk2Racer

                                                      Its funny to think NYC has the finest waters! ahhh

                                                      1. re: jroxybabe19

                                                        I've heard the water argument disproven, I think it's an urban myth. The coal oven, however...

                                                        1. re: sloanedone

                                                          Sloane, you are 100% correct -- the water stuff is a myth but the coal oven isn't. That said, it is entirely possible to get an excellent pizza from a gas oven. My favorite pizza in NYC (and the US) is from a place that uses plain old gas.

                                                    2. Finally we had the chance to try Bollini's. We went there for lunch today and found that it's very popular - even at close to 2:00 when we left, there were lots of people waiting. The pizzas? I side with those on this board that give them two thumbs way, way up. They were excellent. If you like thin-crust pizzas, Bollini's makes excellent examples. Just the right amount of tug and chew, nicely charred on the edges but not crispy or crunchy, and not soggy in the middle. The toppings (we had one large pepperoni and one large three-sausage with peppers) were fresh, tasty and well blended with the sauce, cheese and crust.

                                                      Mr. Bollini even recognized me by my t-shirt when I mentioned I had read many good things about his place on Chowhound. I was wearing a "monku monku" t-shirt my sister had given me and he pointed at me and said, "Monkuboy!" I said, "That's me!"

                                                      Anyway, I've got a full review with a couple of pictures: http://tinyurl.com/2t4v8k

                                                      There were five of us and we all loved it. It's well worth a visit.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: monkuboy

                                                        Cool - I love it when people agree with me. Next time I hope you get to try some of Christiano's other pasta dishes and their simple little salad.Brilliant.

                                                        1. re: Jeryy

                                                          Oh it was very easy to agree with you on Bollini's! Thanks for your original post, too!

                                                          1. re: monkuboy

                                                            Thanks. Maybe you could recommend a GREAT cabernet for under $50.00 per bottle?

                                                            1. re: Jeryy

                                                              Hmm.. sorry, I'm not big on cabernets and I can't remember any in recent memory that would be "great." I'd only lead you astray if I recommended anything! Actually, my favorite wine I've had this summer is the Cameron Hughes Lot 37 rose. I know it's "just" a rose but it's awfully good. Check out the reviews at Cellartracker.com.

                                                              1. re: Jeryy

                                                                St Clement (oroppas)(sapporo spelled backwards) , approx 42- at Wine Exchange in Orange.

                                                          2. If any of you haven't gone yet, perhaps this set of pictures will persuade you. Check out:


                                                            12 Replies
                                                            1. re: pleasurepalate

                                                              Those are gorgeous pictures! The food looks way too good for some tiny little place in Monterey Park, but it's a great addition to the neighborhood. Now hurry up and post your review on your blog site!

                                                                1. re: pleasurepalate

                                                                  I noticed that (RSS feed..). I really like the reviews you do and your review of Bollini's was another enjoyable read. I can't wait to go back there and try more of the menu. Thanks for your post!

                                                                  1. re: pleasurepalate

                                                                    Wow !!! i wonder if i ate at the same place you did !!!
                                                                    Last week i had planned to do a wednesday pizza crawl but my SO was in town from vegas for a few days so it was chinese food instead of pizza ! by luck, my girl wanted shabu shabu one night and after she described a past experience of a shabu place in monterey park i figured it was little sheep. while sitting at little sheep sweating while eating damn spicy shabu shabu i remembered that bollini's was nearby. i convinced my so i needed to order a few pizzas to go - ordered a sausage and roasted garlic, then a shrimp, pesto and wild mushroom. got there just as the pizzas were pulled from the oven... i was kinda surprised by the location of this place - but hey...why not ?!?!
                                                                    as we were driving away, SO was giving me grieve for wanting pizza after just eating her precious shabu shabu...are you kidding me ?!?!?! i probably had 1/4 pound of meat a handful of some weeds and various mushrooms in a broth that if i lit a match i think the table would explode ( in actuality, it was tasty and filling but i wanted pizza !! )

                                                                    it took my girl less than a minute to open up the pizza box and stuff a slice in her mouth...the pesto/shrimp/mushroom ) she liked it ...thought it was a little too oily...in retrospect, not the best sauce for this style of pizza, but my girl stuffed the slice in my mouth ( yes, while dsriving down the 60 fwy ! )...it was very flavorful.

                                                                    when we made it home, i took a closer look at both pizzas. i fully understand and appreciate Neapolitan pizza, but damn, when i order a sausage pizza, i expect each slice will have at least one piece of sausage...not the case here ...unfortunately, the sausage pizza was also drowning in oregano flakes...from what i can tell, they were placed on top of the pizza...it was not part of the sauce....the crust was soft but i'll attribute that to the drive home, but based on the color of the crust, i think it needed to stay in the oven a few more minutes. i will defer a final opinion until i eat at bollini's in person....i will definitely give the pasta a try too !! it is the kind of place that you hope will succeed. If i give it the thumbs up after my next visit, i will eat there a few times a month - it's a stones throw from my normal route to the commerce club ...i'm hoping for the best !

                                                                    1. re: kjs

                                                                      Our pizzas had a lot of oregano on them also. And the toppings, while very good, weren't what you would call abundant - not like someplace such as Petrillo's but then they kind of go to the extreme. I thought our pizzas were very balanced, though - just the right amount of toppings (understand that I am not a fan of overloaded pizzas). I think part of it is that a Bollini pizza is too thin to support too many ingredients. Anyway, that made me laugh about your SO - my wife loves Chinese food and could eat it every day every meal whereas I find myself dreaming about pizzas and burgers and tacos, haha. I hope you try Bollini's again and you have a better experience next time.

                                                                      1. re: monkuboy

                                                                        Yeah, I don't think those pizzas travel well. They are made to be eaten on the spot and toppings are generally sparse on the neapolitan pizzas you get in Italy (according to friends who have been, I, alas, have not - yet!).
                                                                        I was there when Abby took those fabulous pictures. My favorites were The Lulu and The Nonna for pizzas and my favorite pasta was the Spaghetti Dei Frutti Di Mare - I loved the saffron flavor of it. Pasta perfectly al dente. Pasta Del Postino was also very good, and I am not much of a blue cheese girl - hell everything was good. Next time I want to try The Nico which is just sauce, cheese and basil, but I want to try a basic pizza there. Also, I think I will get a Margherita also, since that is my most favorite.
                                                                        I think this is where I am going to take my mom for her birthday. She loves thin crust pizza and these will be right up her alley.
                                                                        It really is a wonderful place to go and Christiano and his wife (not to mention staff - Bernardo (I hope that is his name) was so sweet and gracious.
                                                                        I cannot wait to go back!
                                                                        Thank you for the wonderful pics, Abby! :-) Fantastic as always!

                                                                        1. re: monkuboy

                                                                          it's a funny thing - my last two girlfriends are chinese and they both could eat chinese food every day , every meal...they actually prefer it...now using a sample of 2 women of ...oh..what ? 1.4 billion or so chinese in the world ( just a guess ) ...is obviously not a true sample of the entire chinese population but i just can't imagine that ...i love food too much !!
                                                                          My current SO was exposed to Pizza Hut in China and she actually liked it and naturally assumed that pizza hut represents all pizza...the reality is most americans have the same perception ( pizza hut, domino's , etc ) ...i will definitely try Bollini's again - the next time i will actually order in person and since it's an open kitchen, i will closely watch my pizza being made and make comments as necessary. i am a big fan of italian sausage so i will probably ask for a side order of the sausage to see how it compares to bianca, petrillo's and some of my pizza favs outside of cali not to mention the sausage i make at home .

                                                                          1. re: kjs

                                                                            My wife is Chinese (born in Hong Kong) and I say how can you like to eat Chinese food all the time? She says, "well I'm Chinese!" Haha.. it's like every time we have dinner with her family it always has to be Chinese food. I get kind of tired of that. At least when we eat at home we don't have it that often. But with so many different kinds of cuisine available to us, why would you eat just one kind all the time? Even I would probably get tired of eating pizza every day.. maybe.

                                                                            1. re: monkuboy

                                                                              Funny I remember reading in the LA Times A While back. Can't remember if it was the food section or travel. But anyway the tour operators were crying about this fact. That chinese from china while traveling would rather eat the MOST crappy chinese food than try whatever was the Local favorite. This was EVERY meal

                                                                              1. re: Skunk2Racer

                                                                                Yup.. like before we got married my wife and her friend took this Chinese-owned tour on a bus to Yellowstone. Guess what kind of food they ate.

                                                                                Visitors from Hong Kong come out here - take them to have Chinese food.. we go visit back in Hong Kong. Where do they take us - to have Chinese food. When we went there two years ago, I was truly overjoyed to finally have lunch at the McD over there (I'm not kidding). I was soooo tired of eating Chinese food!

                                                                  2. re: pleasurepalate

                                                                    Dang you abby... dang...dang... dang...


                                                                    1. re: Dommy

                                                                      Dommy! I just want to make sure that you have as many dining options as possible. :-D

                                                                  3. My wife and I visited shortly after the OP posted his review. We shared one of the salads and the Nonna. Both were quite tasty. Personally, I like Petrillo's better, but my wife is in love with Bollini's. Any time we talk about pizza that is where she wants to go. In fact, about half of the time we are going out to eat she now wants to go there. They definitely have made a fan in our home.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Velvet Elvis

                                                                      In NYC - had a good Sicilian slice at 88th and 2nd. Today hoping to do some damage with another couple of slices at random. Don't have time for Patsy's, John's or Grimaldi's. Just got here from DC where their famous 2Amys was good Neapolitan style, but not as good as Bollini's. And I bet there's nowhere in the country that serves slices and`also features main dishes as great as Bollini's.

                                                                      Tomorrow in Tampa - will avoid pizza.

                                                                      BTW - Monkuboy - had a great California cabernet - 2004 Waterstone. $20 bottle.

                                                                      1. re: Jeryy

                                                                        In Tampa - try as I might I couldn't avoid pizza entirely. Yes, I'm an addict! Had dinner with family at an Italian chain restaurant called Carrabbas. Okay food - good family place - big portions - although not like Maggianos. But the pizza was dreadful. Happy to be back in LA.

                                                                    2. I've been here once and it was good but not as great as the raves. I'll definitely go back one more time and see if it's better, my fingers are crossed!

                                                                      Right now if you live in LA there are better pizza places like other posts have said. The 15 minute rule is pretty right on, if the drive is longer than 15 minutes it's not worth it.

                                                                      For those people looking for American style pizza (if thats what you want to call it) across the street from Bollini's is a pizza joint thats great for that. It used to be Red Devil but the name has changed.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Dig T

                                                                        15 minute rule? I hope you're talking about only the 2-5am period. Otherwise I'd be stuck with mostly Korean fare and Jollibee.

                                                                        1. re: Josh90004

                                                                          I'm saying that based on my first try, I don't think Bollini's is worth more than a 15 minute drive. I also didn't know they were open 2-5AM, maybe I'll be eating them more often!

                                                                          1. re: Josh90004

                                                                            Jollibee? Ain’t that the Philippines burger joint that everybody is talking about? I hear Yumburger IS-A-VERY-TASTY-BURGER. Don’t they also make that Chickenjoy?

                                                                            Well, it is true that even too much of a good thing can get boring. If you never tried Bollini's then think about a 25 min drive but temper that thought against the carbon footprint issue. So, maybe if you were doing something else nearby as well to make the trip a double hit. Maybe stop at Shakas across the street for shave ice after the meal at Bollini's.

                                                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                                                              if you're already in dowtown it could be a 15min drive there.

                                                                        2. Good Morning Jerry,
                                                                          Just an update on Bollini's new web page - http://www.bollinispizza.com/
                                                                          Thank you.

                                                                          Vince C