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Pizza Comments and Help Wanted

la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 11:20 AM

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. d
    Diana RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 11:23 AM

    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. wutzizname RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 11:41 AM

      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
        wutzizname RE: wutzizname Jan 22, 2008 11:43 AM


        7605 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

      2. l
        la tache burger RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 12:30 PM

        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
          DanaB RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 02:27 PM

          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
            Diana RE: DanaB Jan 23, 2008 05:30 AM

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

            1. re: Diana
              Das Ubergeek RE: Diana Jan 24, 2008 08:09 AM

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

              1. re: Das Ubergeek
                Diana RE: Das Ubergeek Jan 24, 2008 10:16 AM

                I know. It's sad.

                Caioti is still there!

        2. o
          Ogawak RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 02:16 PM

          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. l
            la tache burger RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 02:45 PM

            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
              CucumberBoy RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 02:54 PM

              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
                la tache burger RE: CucumberBoy Jan 22, 2008 03:02 PM

                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. c
              Clyde RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 04:45 PM

              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
                epop RE: Clyde Jan 23, 2008 02:10 PM

                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
                  Erik M RE: epop Jan 24, 2008 07:52 AM

                  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
                    Das Ubergeek RE: Erik M Jan 24, 2008 08:11 AM

                    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. Emme RE: la tache burger Jan 22, 2008 10:13 PM

                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
                  Diana RE: Emme Jan 23, 2008 05:31 AM

                  Now Joe Peeps has some fun pizza!

                2. wyatt3290 RE: la tache burger Jan 23, 2008 01:49 PM

                  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
                    la tache burger RE: wyatt3290 Jan 23, 2008 02:57 PM

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

                  2. l
                    la tache burger RE: la tache burger Jan 23, 2008 02:55 PM

                    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
                      irie eyes RE: la tache burger Jan 24, 2008 09:32 AM

                      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
                        la tache burger RE: irie eyes Jan 24, 2008 09:38 AM

                        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. purplescout RE: la tache burger Jan 24, 2008 03:03 PM

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

                        1. p
                          peterboy RE: la tache burger Jan 24, 2008 04:55 PM

                          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
                            pinpei RE: peterboy Jan 25, 2008 12:36 AM

                            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. d
                            Diana RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 06:45 AM

                            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
                              la tache burger RE: Diana Jan 25, 2008 08:36 AM

                              I, for one, will be there next Fri.

                              1. re: la tache burger
                                Diana RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 09:37 AM

                                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
                                JillPickle RE: Diana Jan 25, 2008 12:07 PM

                                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
                                  Diana RE: JillPickle Jan 25, 2008 12:43 PM

                                  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
                                    JillPickle RE: Diana Jan 25, 2008 12:47 PM

                                    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
                                      Diana RE: JillPickle Jan 25, 2008 01:36 PM

                                      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. l
                                la tache burger RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 08:35 AM

                                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. ipsedixit RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 08:41 AM

                                  I have to throw in a word for Zelo.

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

                                  1. a_and_w RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 08:51 AM

                                    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
                                      nosh RE: a_and_w Jan 25, 2008 01:43 PM

                                      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
                                        a_and_w RE: nosh Jan 29, 2008 09:10 AM

                                        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. d
                                      Diana RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 01:45 PM

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

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Diana
                                        la tache burger RE: Diana Jan 25, 2008 02:55 PM

                                        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: la tache burger
                                          Diana RE: la tache burger Jan 26, 2008 01:16 PM


                                      2. t
                                        Towens RE: la tache burger Jan 25, 2008 01:47 PM

                                        Where is Vito's located?

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Towens
                                          peterboy RE: Towens Jan 25, 2008 02:23 PM

                                          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
                                            Servorg RE: peterboy Jan 25, 2008 02:58 PM

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

                                            1. re: Servorg
                                              peterboy RE: Servorg Jan 26, 2008 09:20 AM

                                              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. l
                                          la tache burger RE: la tache burger Jan 28, 2008 09:44 AM

                                          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. h
                                            HollywoodLocal RE: la tache burger Jan 29, 2008 02:29 AM

                                            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. h
                                              HollywoodLocal RE: la tache burger Jan 29, 2008 02:31 AM

                                              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
                                                la tache burger RE: HollywoodLocal Jan 29, 2008 08:47 AM

                                                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?

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