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Vito's vs. Damiano's Slices....The Winner is?

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Last Saturday I made a pizza-slice run to Vito's, followed immediately by a visit down to Damiano's. It was about 4:00pm and nobody was in Vito's small new place on La Cienega when I ordered a cheese slice. After taking my first bite I was disappointed (especially after reading so many positive comments about Vito's here on CH). The dough was ok but the sauce was bland and there was VERY little cheese. I would have been very upset had I paid $16.50 for a Vito's cheese pizza if it had the same sparse amount of cheese on it as my slice did. Although I was planning to order a second slice I decided to skip it and give Damianos a try. Again I was the only customer at the dark and grubby place on Fairfax across the street from Canter's. I ordered a cheese slice and when it was brought to my table I knew that I was going to be happier than what I just experienced at Vito's. Although Damiano's crust was almost crepe-like thin in the center, it had at least 2-3 times more cheese than Vito's had----and it simply TASTED much better to me than Vito's. It was so good that I ordered another slice. This was just one man's experience on a Saturday pizza-slice tour but my winner between Vito's vs. Damiano's was.... DAMIANO'S! Next time I will visit Mulberry Street Pizza and Damiano's and let you know which I prefer.

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  1. New York-style pizza is deliberately a little thin on the cheese.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Exactly... I think that Pizza Hut has conditioned America that pizza is inferior unless cheese has been crammed into every armpit they can find.

      Mr Taster
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      1. re: Mr Taster

        I've been a Damiano's fan since 1990 or so (I worked down the street). I've often said that Damiano's pizza is made to be eaten with a straw -- it's that greasy and gooey. And delicious -- grubby kitchen be damned.

        Trying Vito's this weekend...but I don't have high hopes. Damiano's Mr. Pizza is my favorite LA pizza place; Lido's in Van Nuys comes in a close second (although their pizza's couldn't be more different).

        1. re: DanaB

          I don't know what pizzeria's in NYC you're going to, but the quintessential NY slice is, ABOVE ALL ELSE, well balanced with light sauce and cheese. Vito's fits this bill entirely.

          Mr Taster
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          1. re: Mr Taster

            I've visited NYC a few times and ate cheese pizza slices from at least six different places---and I remember all of them having more cheese on them than what was on my Vito's slice. Besides the lack of cheese, I was unimpressed with the flavor of Vito's sauce. I've never been to Lamonica's and I shall put it on my next one-day pizza-slice tour along with a first-time visit to Mulberry Street Pizza. I've tried Village Pizza's slices, but liked Damiano's a little better...

      2. personally I've gone back to Lamonica's. Vito's, while being cool on originality, is damned expensive and too far of a drive for me when Lamonica's is a 10 minute walk.

        Pepperoni/Mushroom or Sicilian Pepperoni, extra crispy. God, so good. Me and a few of my DTLA friends make a weekly Friday pilgrimage.

        1. I have the advantage of living half-way between Damiano's and Vito's so I go to them both regularly. Of course, I never visit Damiano's when I'm sober. Vito's is pretty great stuff and they have some great variety in their slices and pies. Sure, it's too expensive (and the slices have been getting smaller methinks), but it's so much better than Damiano's.

          With that said, I still end up driving to Village on Larchmont all the time, and Lamonica's & Mulberry every few weeks or so.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sloanedone

            Had to weigh in here - I too have been very disappointed in Vito's. Damiano's gets my nod. but I would still prefer Village Pizza by the slice. For Neapolitan style pizza, please read my post about Bollini's.

            1. re: Jeryy

              I think it would be interesting to note who here was raised on NY pizza and who is trying it now after growing up elsewhere. Vito's, Lamonicas, Larchmont Village and Mulberry make good to great renditions of a *very specific* kind of pizza that is difficult to fin outside of the NY metro area. In my travels I've found that it is very difficult to explain to people who come from places without an indigenous pizza identity (Wyomng, for example) why pizza from New York is superior to Pizza Hut. When you grow up with ads for national pizza chains convincing all non-pizza indigenous-americans convincing you that bigger, thicker, oozier, cheezier is better, then that volatile lump of excess becomes your pizza identity. It's sad, truly!

              Mr Taster
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              1. re: Mr Taster

                Mr. Taster,

                You have said it perfectly.

                Your list is mine (except I haven't tried Larchmont).

                I had a nice slice at Angelino's in North Hollywood recently. Really cute place too. Thin slice is an option there, they didn't overwhelm with cheese (in fact a little more might have been good) and the sauce had a good tomato-y tang. Will have to do a little more research, but it just might make the list.

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  Your comments are very perceptive, Mr. Taster. I was raised on NYC pizza but on recent trips, great examles of that typical NY slice are becoming harder to find. It's as if there's a pernicious lowering of standards especially in any pizzeria with the sobriquet "Ray's." Everytime I go to NY I taste and sample and I'm almost always disappointed. But the time before last, in June, I made it to the original Patsy's on First Ave in East Harlem, recently voted tops by the people on Slice, the NYC pizza website. Patsy's was authentically great.

                  I'm a partner in a group of generic Pizza Hut-like chain restaurants, mostly in Texas and the Mid-West - CiCi's Pizza. Look up the website. The quality is good, the taste is average, but the restaurants are cash cows. The determinant is price - average consumers want cheap pizza - PH, Papa John', Shakey's, Dominos. The result is the pizza brainwashing you describe above.

            2. how much is a slice? I heard 32.50 for a pie.
              more than $2.50 is heartburn territory.

              2 Replies
              1. re: peterboy

                THIRTY TWO FIFTY!!! For thirty-two fifty you ought to get two pizzas and a beer.

                I don't think Vito's pies are anywhere near that expensive, even the large speciality ones.

                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                  That is for his most HIGH END pie.... Here's the menu...

                  http://www.vitopizza.com/

                  Vitos is not cheap... but dang worth it...

                  --Dommy!

              2. Happy to see Damiano's is still there. I go back to the 80's, maybe even 70's with Damianos, because I stayed at the Beverly Laurel or Farmer's Daughter Motels without a car and a stingy per diem whenever my company sent me to bail out our LA office. I loved the righteous greasiness of a Damiano's pepperoni pizza, and you could fold a slice just like a New York pizza slice.

                1. Haven't tried Vito's yet, but Damiano's consistently delivers (not literally) any time of night. My favorites are Mulberry and Joe Peep's in the Valley. Right on. Keep up the good work.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: jlevine

                    As an admitted Damiano-iac, I tried Vito's this past weekend....and the winner is...

                    (wait for it)

                    Damiano's!

                    Not that Vito's was bad or anything....the crust, in particular, was fantastic, as was the pepperoni and cheese, but the sauce was sort of pedestrian; it lacked that intangible "tang" that Damiano's has.

                    I'd go back, but if I'm in that neighborhood, and craving a greasy slice of pizza, I'll settle into one of the dark booths at Damiano's and ask for a straw.

                    FYI, I grew up in SOCAL and Vermont, thus I missed the whole NY pizza thing. Been to NYC once and enjoyed the pizza I tried (bacon and cheddar!) but I admit to being clueless about what, exactly, makes NY pizza the gold standard.

                    1. re: CucumberBoy

                      All this talk of pizzas and straws is making me quesy. I have to admit too: I have never heard of a bacon and cheddar pizza! Perhaps I haven't looked (or lived). But if that is what you ate in NYC you did not eat NYC pizza. You ate a pizza in NYC.

                      I'm from the Bronx and I'm Neapolitan: Vito's is the real deal. Go Yankees.

                      1. re: George

                        I guess no one but a New Yorker will ever know what makes a truly great NYC pizza (kinda obvious but worth re-stating). Thanks for the clarification, George. BTW I got my cheddar and bacon slice at some corner shop near CBGB's.

                        I freely admit a deep affection for Chef Boy-ar-dee pizza in a box, made using only the ingredients included in the kit (no snazzing it up). When that powdered cheese blackens up into little bumps....yum!

                  2. I tried Vito's for the first time last week and ordered a slice of pepperoni. Overall it was just OK. The crust was perfect--thin and crisp. However, as HBfoodie says, there was not enough cheese. I then ordered another slice, this time with extra cheese. It didn't work. I would prefer Mulberry Street any day. I haven't been in a long time, but I remember Damiano's makes a great pizza also. D'Amore's Pizza Connection used to be one of the best in the SFV, but since he opened so many outlets, it's hit and miss.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: brandygirl

                      I don't understand why Village on Larchmont doesn't get the love on the board. Cheap, plentiful, delicious. I'm about to go to Damiano's for yet another taste test. Of course, the only reason I'm going there instead of Vito's is that it is 4AM. Vito's haters: try the white.

                      1. re: sloanedone

                        I have had slices at Damianos a few times after Midnite and they hit the spot. I have only had the pies at Vitos(old and new locations). Gosh, I just like Vitos better. It seems to me that many people like different pizzas at different places. I guess that is why they make 31 Flavors.. And BTW I typically just get cheese with no toppings I am a purist that was..

                        1. re: sloanedone

                          You're right about Village Pizzaria. I used to go there a few times a week when I worked on Larchmont. One of the best pizzas in LA.

                          1. re: brandygirl

                            damianos

                            1. re: brandygirl

                              I prefer Village Pizzeria over Vito's also. I think most of the Village proponents just try to stay away from these pizza discussions because of the verbal warfare that tends to ensue, and why make Village Pizzeria even more crowded than it already is?

                            2. re: sloanedone

                              I haven't tried Village yet. Going to make a point of it now. I love Vito's and I really like Damianos. I think they are very different. I happen to prefer Vitos. I have to admit though, sometimes very late at night, Damianos is the perfect ending to it all.

                              1. re: rednyellow

                                damianos is my favorite san biago in upland second try bonnellos in grand terrace in stater bros center

                                1. re: wwwwwizarduh

                                  i think village blows away damianos! village and vito's are about the same although i like village over vito's i think that the kitchen in vito's is looking a little dirty like it used to be on vermont......need to do a scrub vito..........

                          2. Vito's is superior in every respect to Damiano's and Village Pizzeria. Fantastic fresh ingredients, slightly charred crust, perfect ratio of cheese to topping. Damiano's is a slop-and-grease combo that's appropriate only when utterly toasted, and VP's pies utilize mainly mediocre ingredients (especially the funky-tasting sausage).

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: nimo

                              Interesting. I love the Village sausage and pep -- much more taste than Vito's. But only on the slices, they do taste a little funny on pies. And though I love Vito's, they're using the same block cheese and canned sauce that Village and everyone else is using. The

                            2. Damiano's not only has excellent pizza, but is the world's darkest restaurant, somehow defying the laws of physics. Even during he day, with a big window, it's mysteriously dark inside.

                              1. I am so stoked to read these, because as shameful as the story is, I recently spent a night at a friend's house in the WeHo area after way too many rounds at the bar. Our friend ordered pizza, and it was the most cheesy squishy delicious thing I'd ever eaten at 3 am! However, with the condition I was in, the only thing I remember about the place we ordered from was that I laughed cuz I thought he was trying to make "domino's" sound upscale by saying it funny. Needless to say, I've been spending the last 3 weeks trying to figure out where the hell that pizza came from. (I would have asked the guy who ordered, but I don't actually know him outside of the context of drunk late night pizza, oops haha) After these descriptions... I think I have finally found it. Thanks, guys.