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Aug 30, 2007 02:57 PM


Any recommendations on who has the best PIZZA in the San Gabriel Valley?
I prefer NEW YORK STYLE .. thanks in advance!!!

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  1. not really new york style but..

    petrillo's (san gabriel)
    bollini's (monterey park)
    joe's (monterey park) former red devil

    9 Replies
    1. re: rickym13

      How is Bollini's, it looks good and sounds good?

      1. re: Burger Boy

        From the sidewalk Bollini's looks and smells good. Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana does not make what most would consider to be pizza. Bollini's makes “Pizza Napoletana” which has an ultra thin crust. Almost like a un-crust pizza or more like an open-face quesadilla. The “crust” is maybe 1/16" thick. For the prices (see menu in link below) there is not much room to complain.

        IMO, Bollini's is a place that should be tried at least once and then only you can decide whether or not to return. It is a different kind of pie much the same as Zelo’s is different. I am not saying Zelo’s pies are similar to Bollini's. What I am saying is that these two places make pies different than all other places. I have tried both and next week I have a lunch planned at Bollini's. I would have gone there several nights ago but we had a group of three and the tables at Bollini's are set-up for two unless you sit at the counter in the front window.

        Burger Boy, I hope you try Bollini's because I would like to read your impressions of Pizza Napoletana at Bollini's. Please trust me and do not have “sausage” on your Pizza Napoletana because IMO it is a hot dog sliced the way I do it when I add it to a can of pork’n beans. But don’t get me wrong. I really think Bollini's is well worth a try. After all, the price really is not that unreasonable and for that price you will add to you food knowledge some good flavors. IMO Zelo’s is over priced and so .....

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

        First review by Jeryy– “Now Open- Bollini's”

        1. re: JeetJet

          DEFINITELY try Bollini's... a group of us went for a tasting last night and it was amazing! Thin, charred crust, not overly toppped. Fresh, delicious toppings. Great service. Just phenomenal.
          Also, they just got the lease on the space next door, so they will be opening it up to encompass that as well.

          1. re: JeetJet

            According to Verace Pizza Napoletana and Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas, what Bollini's makes is pizza and what we are accustomed to eating is not.
            The group proposed that any pizza shop that 1. didn’t make its dough from "00" flour, salt, water and yeast only; 2. didn’t use a wood-fired oven burning at 800 F; 3. didn’t use San Marzano tomatoes and salt as its only sauce; and 4. didn’t use fior di latte or mozzarella di bufala as its only cheeses couldn’t call its pie a pizza.
            Pizza snobbery? Who knows but Neopoletana style pizza is not NY or New Haven or Chicago. VPN believes pizza started there in the 1880's and is the only pizza.
            I prefer this type of pizza and can't wait to go to Bollini's. Domenicos [on Washington in Pasadena/Altadena] is OK and it is three blocks from home. We don't go for pizza 'cause most if not all of them are the thick crust laden with too much cheese and foo-foo toppings. But this is why there are more just one or two wines. Everyone is different and has different tastes. Give Bollini's more of a chance. "like an open-face quesadilla" would turn me off from pizza as well.

            1. re: haydn1796

              “Verace Pizza Napoletana Americas?” “Pizza snobbery?” IMO (“...Americas?”) this sounds like, “Before me no pizza was formed, nor shall there be any after me – I am the one true pizza!" Well, I tried Bollini's twice and really think it is not much more than a open-face quesadilla (a false pizza). I do believe all should try it and decide for themself. As for any organized following I will defer to our Pizza Moses -- “sloanedone.” Until then, give me that old time Petrillo’s on Valley or Tony’s on Huntington.

              sloanedone – Driving out to Petrillo's...

              1. re: JeetJet

                Well noirnally I agree with you but this time I must disagree.. Bollini's crust is much better than a flour tortilla. True, they are both thin, but the sauce and cheese are also much different than a quesadilla. Of course I still love Petrillos and Tony's, but to me there's no question that what Bollini's makes is a pizza.

                1. re: monkuboy

                  Yes, we noirnally agree and we eat many of the same things. I have tried Bollini's twice and have ate from four Pizza Napoletana made soon after Bollini's opens for lunch. I really cannot believe that anyone can refer to that 1/16" thick (thinner than a cracker and as thin as a flour tortilla) flavorless disk under that tiny amount of cheese as a crust. I respect your opinion but I think a warmed flour tortilla with fresh butter is better tasting than the dried out disk I got -- four times. I don't think that even Bollini's refers to that as "pizza." It is "Pizza Napoletana." I only say open-face quesadilla -- Italian style, just to paint a picture of what Hounds should expect so that Hounds don't go there expecting a "pizza" as it is known in America. Hounds should expect to get something that the Napoletana Americas group (Americas? -- Whadaya? Whadaya?) approves of.

                  IMO, American "pizza" is like Petrillos and Tony's.

                  1. re: JeetJet

                    Well I guess you have a point there - I've only been to Bollini's once and the crust/cheese had more flavor and texture than how you describe your experience. But, I can see how someone might be displeased by how thin the crust is if they aren't expecting it. It is indeed thin. But I'd still go for the Bollini's "crust" over a quesadilla (although I sure like those, too!).

        2. re: rickym13

          IMO petrillo's is the best. If you want NY / Boston style thin crust you must say so when you order it at petrillo's. Also, if you want a pie cut pizza you must make that clear because if you don't petrillo's will cut squares. Read the post linked below to get a good idea of a petrillo's pie -- you get your monies worth. That means if you don't want lots of cheese them thell them easy on the cheese. The same goes with the toppings. The sausage is the best I have found.

          The crust of the Petrillo's pizza is probably the best in L.A.

          A typical Petrillo's post

          Petrillo's Pizza Restaurant
          833 E Valley Blvd
          San Gabriel, CA 91776
          (626) 280-7332

          Petrillo's Pizza Restaurant
          750 W Rte 66 Ste A
          Glendora, CA 91740-4163
          (626) 335-1289

          1. re: nd33x

            I tried Casa Bianca for the third time this weekend and I finally enjoyed a pie. Or maybe I just really liked the sausage. Though it's very different from Petrillo's (except for the sausage), I put them in the same category -- good mom and pop. I think I'll still take Vito's, Lamonica's, and Village (and not just because SGV is 45 minutes away).

            If only Casa Bianca was Pizzeria Bianco, I'd be making the commute twice a week...

          2. I really like the pizza at Petrillo's on Valley Blvd. (haven't tried the pizza from Mama Petrillo's on Las Tunas and have no idea if they're affiliated) - be sure to specify "pie cut" for the medium pizzas, else you'll get grid cuts - I think that the large is only available in a rectangle, but please don't quote me on that. The Pizza Bianca and their Special are incredible and really weighed down with toppings. I've heard that they'll do a thin crust if requested. Don't know if this really counts as NY style, though.

            For NY style, we've become addicted to Tony's Pizza in San Marino on Huntington. The white pizza is incredible, as are the other versions - we liked the hot sandwiches, too. Not as happy with the salads, though. (And thanks to the Hound who recommended it awhile ago on a thread about a pizza crawl through the SGV!)

            Other interesting options are Zelo's in Arcadia on Foothill (for a quirky, addicting, cornmeal crust pie) and Avanti Cafe in Pasadena on Lake/Union for gourmet pizzas (claims to be wood-fired - can't vouch for that).

            ETA: Here's the link to the thread that introduced me to Tony's: (thanks ipsedixit!) and here's a thread on thin-crust in the SGV which mentions a couple other options: .

            Zelo Pizzeria
            328 E Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA 91006

            Tony's Pizza
            2555 Huntington Dr, San Marino, CA 91108

            Avanti Cafe
            111 N Lake Ave, Pasadena, CA 91101

            Petrillo's Pizza Restaurant
            833 E Valley Blvd, San Gabriel, CA 91776

            6 Replies
            1. re: ElsieDee

              Avanti's pizza is woodfired, but very inconsistent from my experience (maybe a dozen times ordering thin crust). They are a little quirky sometimes service wise, some of the waiters are completely unflexible re any sort of modification you might want to make. When it is good though, it is pretty good.

              1. re: ElsieDee

                I second all four nominations as good choices, although Zelo's is more of a California take on Chicago-style pizza and does not make NY-style pizza like the original poster seemed to want. I like Zelo's a lot, but then again, I like that deep dish pizza.

                For the very best 2 NY-style pizza places in the SGV, though, my recommendations go to Mamma's Brickoven Pizza on Fair Oaks in South Pasadena, and Nonna's Pizzeria, also on Fair Oaks in South Pasadena. Nonna's is currently operated by some of the original owners of Mamma's. Apparently, there was some dispute about a year or so ago, the current owner of Mamma's bought out the other owners, and those other owners were supposed to turn over all their recipies but didn't. Eventually, the folks at Mamma's came up with good recipies on their own, and the bought-out owners just went down the street and opened up Nonna's.

                Both have great pizza. The customer wins at either place.

                Mamma's Brick Oven Pizza
                710 S Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91105, USA

                Nonna Pizzeria
                818 Fair Oaks Ave, South Pasadena, CA 91030

                1. re: ElsieDee

                  Petrillo's is my favorite. Tony's is also good and perhaps closer to a NY style than is Petrillo's (although I've never requested the thinner crust over there so I don't know). Mama Petrillo's is not related to Petrillo's, and their pizza is decent but not as good as Petrillo's. Avanti is also good, but again, Petrillo's has them beat. I'd take Petrillo's (how many times can I type that in one post?), then Tony's, and the other two are runners up, not even close.

                  1. re: monkuboy

                    You gotta try Petrillo's thin crust. I have been eating Petrillo's pizza for more decades than I can recall. Then after having a thin crust in Boston I went on a quest looking for the same thing here. The style of crust is what pizza is all about. Althought I loved Petrillo's regular crust I asked them one night if they had a thin crust. It is a whole different pie and IMO that thin crust stands against any other.

                    1. re: JeetJet

                      This weekend I'm really going to try and get over to Petrillo's and check out the thin crust (haven't been there in a while).. AND, over to Top's for that Kobe beef burger! Have to expend labor the right way, right?

                    2. re: monkuboy

                      I grew up on Petrillo's (started eating it in the 70s). I don't think it has been as good since the fire, and I actually prefer Mama Petrillo's crust and sauce these days, although, I haven't specifically ordered a Petrillo's thin crust, so maybe that would be better (the regular crust has a sort of cardboard quality, which is probably necessary to adequately accomodate the 40 pounds of glorious toppings ...). Also, to say that Petrillo's isn't as good as when I was a kid, shouldn't obscure the fact that I haven't been able to find a pizza half as good as present-day Petrillo's on the west side or in the SFV.

                  2. I think the closest SGV comes to NY-style pizza is probably Tony's in San Marino.

                    19 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I'm not from NY, but I took a couple of friends there (1 from Arthur Avenue, the other from Bensonhurst) and both claim that Tony's is the closest to NY style pizza in the L.A. area.

                      1. re: Mr. Roboto

                        Yup, it's all in the crust.

                        I grew up in Queens and Tony's comes pretty close to what I can get back there.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Because of this thread and your rec we bought two pies from Tony’s tonight (Large cheese and a Sausage pepperoni). I knew as soon as I took my first bite that this was great pizza. It was the crust. I said nothing as my wife began to eat. She chewed two bites and then said, “New York. This is New York pizza.” After several more bites she began to reminisce about NY and Jersey. Funny how stimulating the sense of taste with something from the past will do that. Tony’s is the real thing.

                          The crust is excellent with a strong tug, a great chew and the flavor of real pizza dough. The sauce and cheese is also real NY style. That sauce is seasoned perfectly and there is just enough – not too much. The pepperoni is sliced very thin which gives you the flavor of their good pepperoni but not the excess oil. The sausage is good but next time we will stick with the cheese and a pepperoni. I will also ask if they can add a little burn to the bottom of the crust here-and-there. Maybe they can splash just a little olive oil to the top. That would be Brooklyn all over again.

                          I was eyeballing that carousel of slices on the counter thinking it would be nice to try different toppings sometime -- one-at-a-time. None of them looked dried out but rather they all looked fresh. One of L.A’s best pizzas.

                          In the mornig we will have cold pizza for breakfast -- good times.

                          Tony's Pizza
                          2555 Huntington Drive (NE Corner at Del Mar)
                          San Marino, CA 91108
                          (626) 793-4114

                          1. re: JeetJet

                            Those San Marino High students have it all .. brand new high school and great pizza ...

                            Glad you enjoyed your pies.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              I only went to Tony's once, many years ago... although I liked the touch of sitting at the bench/table hybrids that you see in nearly every pizzeria back east (I don't remember if Tony's were the colors of the Italian flag), I found the crust too doughy and thick to be considered a great NY style slice. Perhaps an off day?

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Mr. Taster,

                                At least 2 years ago (circa 2007), I think Tony's was probably the closest you could get to NYC-style pizza in SGV. Nowadays, with Bollini's and other's, it's probably no longer true.

                            2. re: JeetJet

                              So how did this compare to the thin crust at Petrillo's?

                              1. re: monkuboy

                                I want to do a side-by-side. One of my sons lives between Petrillo's and Tony's so he and I will....

                                For now I will say that ipsedixit is correct. Tony's is a NY pizza and it begins with the Crust. I like it better than Vito's. I also liked the sauce very much. The Petrillo's thin crust (and I have asked Petrillo's to make it very thin and they have done so) reminds me more of a great Boston pie I had. Both Petrillo's and Tony's, IMO, have very good crust. I like the brand of cheese and sausage more at Petrillo's.

                                That reminds me of something I forgot to mention above – weight. I was surprised that I got my monies worth at Tony's. When I picked up the two boxes they weighed like they had two nice sized pizzas in them. Petrillo's also gives you your monies worth. In fact, sometimes I ask them to be easy on the cheese and toppings – nuts huh? At Casa Bianca (bad crust, like a cracker) and Zelo’s it felt like they forgot to put the pizza in the box and over charged me. At Bollini's it felt like they filled the box with helium but undercharged me.

                                Bottom line, SGV rocks! Petrillo's and Tony’s each have good crust. If you want NY flavors go with Tony’s. If you want a more Boston like pie (and don’t mind having to ask for an off menu thin crust / pie cut) and must have sausage then go with Petrillo's. If you are tired of good traditional style pizza and feel whimsical and adventurous, then maybe try Bollini's or Zelo’s.

                                1. re: JeetJet

                                  Thanks for the info on all of these places! Speaking of heavy pies, Petrillo's regular crust one is pretty weighty but the king of them all is Angelo's, on Valley between Atlantic and Fremont. Those are the heaviest regular pizzas I've ever had (and they are pretty good, too).

                                  1. re: monkuboy

                                    The pies at Tarantino's are pretty hefty as well.

                                    Tarantino's Pizzeria
                                    784 E Green St, Pasadena, CA 91101

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      I ate at Tarantino's about a month ago, and it tasted like a frozen pizza. The cheese was barely melted and the toppings had little flavor. Add to that the fact that we got terrible service and their cash only policy, and it made it to the list of our never go back places.

                                      1. re: Velvet Elvis

                                        I've always had good pizza at Tarantino's, though I wouldn't go for the pizza just for the pasta dishes. Never have had anything but great service, even when they're crowded. It does get loud. Maybe an off night??

                                        1. re: Velvet Elvis

                                          Tarantino's pizza is awful. Agree with your comment on the cheese. The sauce and toppings were bland and flavorless. Don't mind the cash-only rule but would not go out of my way for this joint. It was not an off night as I've had the same prior experience.

                                    2. re: JeetJet

                                      Hope I'm not opening a can o' worms here, but having lived in MA and NYC (and Rhode Island), I admit that I can't tell a Boston slice from a NY slice from a Providence slice (except that nowhere in RI seems to sell pizza slices!). The thin-ness of the crust, sauce, etc. seems pretty dependent on the particular pizza joint. My two most familiar pizza places in the northeast (Harvard House of Pizza, Il Panino in Cambridge) were night and day, the first being a solid disk of dough with thick, oily cheese engulfing any topping, and the other being a whisper-thin sliver almost weighed-down by a single sausage nugget. NYC seemed to represent the entire spectrum of pizza on earth (at least as interpreted by Greeks and Ecuadorans : )

                                      Having grown up on Tony's (SMHS '91!), I wouldn't say it is particularly New York-ish. It's a broad, solid pie with a well-balanced sauce, light-but-slightly-chewy crust, dripping with cheese, same as you could find at 100 stands off I-95. Does it beat Vito's or Albano's? No way. Is it worth the drive from Hollywood? Maybe just to be glared at by Chief - but just for the pizza? Fuhgita-(you know the rest)

                                      1. re: cant talk...eating

                                        The pies I got at Tony;s were not as you discribe "well-balanced sauce, light-but-slightly-chewy crust, dripping with cheese." Tony's reminded me of NY pizza because the sauce made it's presence well known with flavor yet there was just the right amount of sauce. The crust had a profound tug and chew compaired to most pizzas in LA and was more like a NY pie. The cheese was just the right amount -- not dripping with cheese.

                                        What makes a NY pizza IMO is the flavor and texture of the crust and sauce. Tony's is NY pizza. IMO, Petrillo's thin crust is more toward several pies I had in Boston. The texture of the crust is a little different and the sauce is more mild. Petrillo's is more the "dripping with cheese" pizza than any other I have had and the quality of that cheese is better than any other I have had on a pizza -- LA, Chicago, Philly, Brooklyn, NYC, NJ, Boston, Washington, ....

                                      2. re: JeetJet

                                        Since Tony's is closer, plus the posts to this thread, and I haven't been there in a long time, Petrillo's got scratched in favor of Tony's. I had a 14" pepperoni pizza and it was good - just the right balance of cheese, sauce and pepperoni, all on top of a thin, chewy crust. Initially when I saw the pizza I thought it was undercooked because of the lightness on the edges, but it was properly done. Everything blended together to make for a very nice pizza experience - especially the crust which to me is the most important part. Ok, Petrillo's thin crust is next.. with it being so ridiculously hot outside I wanted to go to the closest of the two. Thumbs up for Tony's and those poor guys suffering inside with the insufficient air conditioning!

                                        1. re: monkuboy

                                          IMO the thin crust at Petrillo's is more thin than Tony's crust. I enjoyed Tony's pizza for breakfast the next day but I liked it more when it was hot. I really think these two pizza's are great. Report back on what you think of Petrillo's thin crust. I understand that it may be a while because you just had Tony's and too much pizza is not good for the fitting in the pants issue. Dats why after I ate at Tony's on Friday I wen to Shakas for dat bacon fried rice on Sunday.

                                          1. re: JeetJet

                                            Last night I was thinking that Tony's crust reminded me of a place I've mentioned previously that had my all-time favorite crust, Compari's in Inglewood (new owners now, not the same pizza anymore). My wife is not a pizza fan so normally I don't have much pizza except last night she had dinner with a friend, which naturally led me to run out of the house and bring home a pizza to gorge on. You are right about da fitting in da pants thing. Well, next chance I get it's gonna be Petrillo's.

                                            1. re: JeetJet

                                              Yeah, that bacon fried rice with Portuguese sausage really cuts the calories and counter balances the pizza well. I usually go to Fosselman's after for my dairy to keep my diet balanced!

                              2. Has anybody tried Lamppost Pizza in Arcadia?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: KIYOSHI

                                  Not necessarily NY Style, but here are my choices:

                                  1. Petrillos
                                  2. Charlie's Trio
                                  3. Angelos
                                  4. Tony's

                                  1. re: KIYOSHI

                                    Lamppost is OK.

                                    Try Domenico's on Santa Anita in Arcadia or on Huntington in Monrovia. Not NY style but pretty good quality pizza. Also, Fanara's (sp) on Huntington in Duarte. I would rate all of these ahead of Lamppost.

                                    1. re: RichardM

                                      Second Domenico's in Monrovia. Ask for them to roll it extra thin. I think it's the best pizza in the county.