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Pizza Comments and Help Wanted

My family -- my wife, my 2-year-old daughter, and I -- are officially obsessed with pizza this week. We moved (from Sherman Oaks to Sherman Oaks) and for various reasons did not have a fridge for a full week, ending today I hope. So it became sort of an excuse to eat a lot of pizza. We like El Greco's and Spumoni in the valley, and flung to Mozza and Mulberry and Vito's and Jacopo's on the other side of the hill. We even ordered Domino's one night (horrid).

Here's the upshot. We love Mozza, especially the fennel sausage pie. Most others mentioned are pretty good. But Vito's absolutely blew our minds. We tried most every slice available and each was special and delicious. The pesto one is ridiculously good. The Mediteranean Veggie is stunning and I don't like veggie pizza. It all goes down so easy because for some reason the crust is just perfect and completely unobtrusive in the best sense. I'm from New York and have had a lot of good pizza there but somehow this crust seems like the ideal. Granted, I talked to Vito for awhile and told him how much I loved his pizza and he brainwashed me further with his insistence that absolutely no one in L.A. takes pride in ingredients and craft the way he does. He says he's the only guy around making his own yeast. He says he could work with Nancy Silverton for half an hour and fix some of her problems with her dough and how she puts the toppings on her pies.

Okay, I'm in danger of thinking Vito's is the ONLY pizza in L.A. Please help me out. Send me someplace new and off the radar. It can be a fancy Italian restuarant, it can be a hole in the wall, it can be some random thing like a Thai pizza. (Note: I had Casa Bianca about a year ago and was underwhelmed, but I don't really remember why)

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  1. Have you tried caoti in Studio City? Not a NY pizza, I guess, but good. I have heard good things about red balls in Woodland Hills.

    1. I'd give the new Terroni a try. Love their crust and 30 variations. Just go early: they don't take reservations. Be un-picky: no modifications. And prepare to cut: they don't slice their pies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wutzizname


        7605 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      2. Thanks for those. Not a huge fan of Caoti but Red Balls sounds interesting, and I will probably end up at Terroni today. It seems like they're open all day.

        Here's another thought-- just looked at Spago's menu, they've got like 7 pizzas on their lunch menu. Spago. Pizza. Right? Anyone had it lately?

        4 Replies
        1. re: la tache burger

          Wolfgang Puck created the "california pizza" concept at the original Spago in West Hollywood back in the 1980s. They do a good job for gourmet pizzas.

          Other places you should check out are Joe's in Santa Monica, Brownstone in Eagle Rock, and Il Capricco Pizzaria on Hollywood/Vermont.


          Brownstone Pizza
          2108 Colorado Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA - Eagle Rock


          1. re: DanaB

            Actually, the guy at Caoti invented the California Pizza, and then taught Puck.

            1. re: Diana

              Ed LaDou was his name, and he passed away recently.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                I know. It's sad.

                Caioti is still there!

        2. I hear you. It seems you have tried the pizza places many people would consider the best LA has to offer. I too consider Vito's my favorite, for the same reasons; His crust. I haven't tried Brownstone in Eagle Rock, but it's on my list. I also enjoy Joe's on Ocean Ave in Santa Monica and The Coop near Culver City. And I cannot seem to get into the Neapolitan style pizzas ala Antica. It goes back to Vito's crust. Its the way I like it.

          Have you tried Vito's Red Meat pizza? Great heart attack food.

          1. I have indeed tried the Red Meat Pizza at Vito's. Last night in fact. Awesome. On other issues, have tried Joe's and recently tried Brownstown. They are both fine and very similar to one another. Neither holds a candle to Vito's as far as my palate is concerned. I just saw an old thread on this board titled "NY Style Floppy, Greasy Pizza". That's Vito's. I'm not sure if that would have sounded appetizing before I ate Vito's, but that's it. And yet, I don't think that's the whole story, especially after hearing how psycho Vito is about the quality of his dough and his ingredients. It can't just be floppiness, or greasiness, both of which are of high quality here! (And yeah, can't wait to hit Spago for lunch soon.)

            2 Replies
            1. re: la tache burger

              For floppiness and greasyness, you can't beat Damiano's, across the street from Canter's on Fairfax. Closer to home (Van Nuys), give Lido's a shot (Victory just east of Sepulveda). EDIT: Also, Damore's on Ventura (west of Van Nuys) has great NYC-style, simple, flavorful pizza -- a lunch time fave.

              I tried El Greco the other night; while I certainly enjoy Vito's particular goodness, what I had at El Greco would qualify as "bland". As in, wow -- there is absolutely no taste to this pizza. Weird. The crust was quite nice but everything else? Non-noticeable. Hands down, the most boring piece of "pizza" I've ever had.

              At least the genius behind the counter neglected to charge me for this atrocity.

              1. re: CucumberBoy

                Yes, I realize my enjoyment of El Greco puts my credibility on the line, but I have had some delicious slices there, as well as some mediocre ones, as well as some really crappy ones. And I like the bigness of the slice, and it's right near where I live!!! And no, it in no way compares favorably to Vito's.

            2. Brownstone Pizza!!!! Dare to say i like it even better than Vitos... just a little bit more.
              Also, try the pizza at Angeli Cafe on Melrose. I think it's great.
              Terroni is also good, very very very thin whereas with Angeli, it's thicker and it more filling than Terroni's.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Clyde

                terroni got an average review in LA weekly, for their pizzas, no less. i wasn't going to go but maybe i should?

                1. re: epop

                  On the subject of Terroni's pizze, J. Gold wrote:

                  "Terroni, nominally a southern-Italian restaurant, specializes in pizzas — not the artisanal, wood-fired things you find at Mozza and Antica Pizzeria, but stretched thin to order over the lip of a counter and tossed into a regular deck oven. Terroni’s pizza is good stuff: skinny, crunchy most of the way through, served as in Italy in individual uncut rounds, topped with things like broccoli rabe and crumbled sausage; Gorgonzola, honey and walnuts; or plain old mozzarella and tomato sauce."

                  "[A]n average review," you say?

                  In any event, is that how it works around here? We're supposed to wait for J. Gold (or someone similar) to *bless* a place before trying it ourselves?


                  1. re: Erik M

                    Actually, I tend to shy away from restaurants reviewed in the papers for a couple of months after, to let the me-tooers get their fill.

              2. Try Joe Peep's... especially the Blue Collar Pizza if you prefer thinner.

                Of course, if you like D'Amore's, it's right there too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Emme

                  Now Joe Peeps has some fun pizza!

                2. Joe Peeps, Mulberry St. (beverly hills), The Rainbow Bar & Grill (Sunset Strip), Pace in Laurel Canyon, actually Stone Fire Pizza (across the street from Vito's) is good if you get it during happy hour when it's half price. Joe's on Ocean is good (I like Vito's a little better), Damiano's is good and they're open late, Petrillo's in San Gabriel is very good (a little far away) but worth the trip once in awhile.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: wyatt3290

                    Mmm, some nice notions. And I think I remember liking the pizza at Pace.

                  2. Had Joe Peep's the day of our move in fact and it was very disappointing especially because the last time we had it (maybe three years ago) it was awesome. It seemed (the other night) to have not so much flavor and really nothing to distinguish it as special, except of course how much pepperoni they put on a pepperoni pie (or whatever topping). Terroni, still haven't made it there, gotta go, first on list.

                    1. I recommend Abott's Pizza Company. They have 2 locations one on Pico across from Santa Monica College and the other on Abott Kinney Blvd. in Venice.
                      My fave is the wild mushroom!! It's got a bunch of diff. mushrooms with olive pesto.
                      Also good is the tequila lime chicken, bbq chicken actually they're all good!!
                      Plus these guys are from New York so they know what's up!!!!!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: irie eyes

                        I am with you irie eyes. One of the things I really like about Abbot's is it doesn't seem like they're imitating anyone else. Bagel crust! I love the wild mushroom too. And the 5 onion -- hello!

                      2. Have you tried Red Balls pizza in Woodland Hills? That's our local favorite. Very thin crust.

                        1. san pedro--very good thin crust pizza at Bonello's on Gaffey between 8th and 10th.
                          also good calzone-style sandwiches.
                          I was at vito's today and had three slices and three peroni's.
                          Antonio and his crew were quite the hosts. I had the white and the margarita and the plain.
                          They were tasty and hot and soaked up the parmesan when I salted it on top.
                          Of those, I wouldnt pick a favorite. I saw a lot of happy folks.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: peterboy

                            I was one of those happy folks there today. I had a slice of the white, a slice of the Garibaldi and a slice of the Margherita. Simply perfect.

                          2. A bit of a different take on pizza, but my FAVORITE is the thick crusted pizza you can get on Friday's "Pizza Night" at Follow Your Heart.

                            You get a slip of paper, choose whether you want an end piece or refuse and end piece (I like the ends, nice, chewy crust!) Pick your sauce (tomato or some sort of health food yeast sauce), choose your cheese (real, vegan rennetless, soy) and then choose your toppings. You get a certain number for one price, and additional are really not much extra.

                            Out comes a HUGE "slice" of heaven! Each "piece" can feed two, especially if you get a starter or a salad. My huband always groans and takes half home, satisfied and stuffed. Now me, I may look small, but my Birthday at Pizza night, I clean the plate, it is yummy.

                            But no way is it traditional NY, LA, Shy town or anything pizza. it's a glory unto itself!

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Diana

                              I, for one, will be there next Fri.

                              1. re: la tache burger

                                Cool! Just keep in mind that it is a vegetarian place-but the veggie toppings are awesome. me I love the superthick chewy crust.

                                I also reccomend the burrito, the hummous plate, the fabulous soups (they'll let you sample any) the salads burgers and breakfasts there.

                              2. re: Diana

                                Okay, Diana, I'm going to Follow Your Heart tonight and it better be good. The last time I went out for pizza in these parts, some Italian place on Devonshire near Topanga, I was so sad I didn't drive the one to two hours it would have taken to go to a better place. I'm little too and that means when I need to eat it has to be NOW.

                                1. re: JillPickle

                                  Wow, what'll you do if it isn't to your liking?

                                  As I said, this is NOT a traditional pizza!

                                  If you want traditional pizza, I would go to Red Balls on Topanga.

                                  1. re: Diana

                                    If it's not to my liking that will be okay. The way you described it I don't see how it cannot be good. But if it's bad I will go outside cry and the rain will mix with my tears.

                                    Don't like Red Balls at all.

                                    1. re: JillPickle

                                      Don't cry! :) I happen to really love it, especially with as many of the veggies I can pack on and full sized cloves of garlic.

                                      I hope you like it! If not, don't cry, order yourself some of their amazing desserts! Good shakes and smoothies, cakes and cheesecakes!

                                      Also, no corkage, but they will provide you with a wine glass. Bring a nice red!

                                      the patio is heated and rather nicer than inside, I think.

                                      After eating, wander through the market for more yummy health food goodies!

                              3. So went to Red Balls Rock and Roll Pizza in Woodland Hills last night and I thought it was pretty awesome. Better than Joe's and Brownstown, for example, and in the same vein. I just had a couple of regular cheese slices 'cause they looked so damn good sitting there on the pan. The flavors were all really good, slightly sweet New Yorky sauce, that good pizza cheesy taste that I can't quite describe but I know it when I taste it, but best off all was this chewy texture that melded the elements together, really nice and chewy!, which was kind of surprising in such a thin thin crust. I really loved it. Then I brought a slice home to my wife, who's the real test, because she dismisses things out of hand for even the slightest cause, and she whole-heartedly agreed, awesome. Oh, and what a weird, fun place, pictures of all these rock and rollers on the walls, and I read the New York Times Art Section, piece about Richard Foreman, my favorite, kismet. So thanks for this tip.

                                1. I have to throw in a word for Zelo.

                                  328 E. Foothill Blvd.,
                                  (626) 358-8298

                                  1. As a transplanted NYer, I think LA has surprisingly decent pizza. My favorites include:

                                    Joe's (round slice with pepperoni)
                                    Dagwood's (crust extra thin and extra crispy)
                                    Antica (simple margherita drizzled with their superb olive oil)
                                    Abbott's (everything crust and anything with olive pesto)
                                    Lamonica's (pepperoni and mushroom)

                                    The place I'm still dying to try, since it looks like the real deal, is Bollini's in Monterey Park.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: a_and_w

                                      I'm glad someone mentioned Lamonica's -- I like the pepperoni and sausage. I live in Westwood so delivery is easy, and FREE -- Do you realize that the chains like Papa John's, whose pizza is adequate, now charge a DELIVERY fee over $2 which doesn't even replace the tip!?!

                                      1. re: nosh

                                        Nosh, if you like Lamonica's, check out Dagwood's on Wilshire. The pizza with crust "extra thin, extra crispy" reminds me a lot of Lamonica's but even better. Often, I don't even need to crisp it up further at home.

                                    2. You know, La Tache, there is a Mulberry St Pizza in the Valley. In Encino. On Ventura

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Diana

                                        Yeah, never been to that location. And it's been awhile since I've been to any of the locations. But since you mention it, I'll probably check out the Encino one in the next coupla weeks. P.S. gotta say again, Red Balls was really good.

                                        1. re: Towens

                                          vito's is at 486 or so north la cienega north of melrose.....

                                          separately, there is a new woodburning oven pizza place in Pedro at a place called the Eighth Street Lofts on pacific and 8th street. Very good and very authentic napoli-style pizza. small and thin crusted with wonderful varieties ranging from 3-cheese, to 3-meat, to basil and tomato with cheese.
                                          All run by pizza guys straight from the Italian boot.
                                          about $9 for a pie.

                                          1. re: peterboy

                                            846 N La Cienega Blvd
                                            Los Angeles, CA 90069
                                            (310) 652-6859

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              thanks for the fix, Servorg.
                                              dyslexia rules.
                                              Separately, I would suggest the 8th street lofts woodfire pizza spot in pedro as a unique spot. It is within a small boutique food court that also includes a mexican place, a fresh gelato stand, plus sofas and wifi for just hanging out. there is a patio for outside eating, albeit looks out on a parking lot.

                                        2. Went to Terroni twice this weekend, once alone, once with my wife, my 2-year-old and my parents. Super fun both nights, went early both nights, it was very chill, got busy as we were leaving. Had pizza both nights, so tried 3 pies -- they all had names, but I'll just say what was on them. 1. Homemade sausage pie. 2. White pie with rapini and lots o' garlic. 3. Pie with tomato sauce, zucchini and eggplant, and shaved parmesan cheese. Never been to Italy, but I guess this is like pizza in Italy? Extremely thin crust to the point of non-existent except around the edges where it bubbles up and is crunchy (and tasty). They serve it on a white plate that is too small for it and make you cut it yourself with a knife. It all tastes extremely fresh and it works. The pizza that kind of gave me the ah ha moment was the third because there was no melted cheese, just sauce, a few thin slices of the veggies and some parmesan cheese, so simple to the point of I wondered if it was too simple, but I put some of their hot red peppers (served stewing in a little dish, not dry flakes) on a random shred of the pie, wrapped it up, ate it and yummy yummy yummy. I'm sure others can illuminate this style of pizza, but it grew on me. And again, the whole experience, the good service, the good Montepulciano by the glass, the good salads (loved the tuna salad especially) all added goodness.

                                          1. Drive the other way to Thousand Oaks or Simi Valley and try out "Topper's Pizza". It''s a 5 or 6 location chain (those are the furthest south I believe). I am a pizza FREAK and this is the best I've had. Warning: it is not NY style. I like to get a cheese pizza with the "chicken dipped in BBQ sauce" topping (NOT the BBQ chicken pizza, but a reg pizza w tomato sauce and cheese and BBQ chicken on top).

                                            1. Also if you're around the Hollywood area, Johnnie's NY Pizza has some damn good pizza. Not to be confused with Frankie & Johnnie's, that is something different. This Johnnie's has multiple locations (wilshire, sunset, 3rd st promenade, probably more) - chicken marsala is great too at the locations that have it

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: HollywoodLocal

                                                Actually, yeah, I like Johnny's, although it's been awhile. What's this Topper's all about? Not NY, got that, but what is it?