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Who remembers La Barbera's pizza in West L.A.?

Back in the 70's, I used to frequent a nice Italian restaurant called La Barbera's. It was on the north side of Wilshire Blvd. about a mile west of the 405. I was young and naive (now I'm old and naive) but I always thought of that as really great, tasty pizza. Probably, to my way of thinking, the best of my life (so far!).

Anybody who remembers it know where I might duplicate the experience?

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  1. Here's a few threads to reminiscence, but I think the answer was basically no. It was thick crust, kind of oily and sweet but quite tasty as I recall. Personally I was a DaVita's fan.
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/54774
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/77084
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52938
    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/369047

    1. Hi everyone,

      Chowhound's mission is to help everybody eat better right now, today. Nostalgia threads are fun, but they usually end up chatty, taking a lot of space and diluting Chowhound's effectiveness. We remove the responses that just stroll down memory lane for this reason.

      Thanks in advance to everyone that can reach into the wayback machine and help answer jerry200's question, "Anybody who remembers it know where I might duplicate the experience?"

      1. i do remember it - but it was in the 70's.

        i think patsy d'amore's in the farmers market might come close.

        1. Anybody who went to UCLA knew La Barbera's and finding a replacement is difficult. The closest I can think of is Villa Italia on Sepulveda near Washington. It's a square pizza, thick dough and if you order double cheese you might find yourself pleasantly surprised. It isjust a neighborhood restaurant that I will still travel from the valley to Culver City to have.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Hughlipton

            Yes, the thick dough would be key. This was not a floppy New York style pizza, more like the old Numero Uno.

            1. re: Chowpatty

              Try Petrillos, it comes close as I recall. La Barberas was 30 years ago for me.

            2. re: Hughlipton

              I think Villa Italia is close, pizza-wise, but not in atmosphere. I didn't go to UCLA, but I went to La Barbera's more than a few times with friends who did.

              -----
              Villa Italian Restaurant
              3973 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

              1. re: Hughlipton

                Thanks for the tip re: Villa Italia. I stopped in there today and really enjoyed a pepperoni and mushroom. It actually reminded me more of Petrillo's in San Gabriel and Glendora, which in turn reminded me of La Barbera's. Both places are excellent, and I'm happy to find a place on the Westside. The lady there told me her lasagne was to die for: I suppose that's next.

              2. i spent a lot of time there in the mid 70's. the closest for that kind of pizza is barone's on oxnard near woodman in van nuys.

                i think that some of you may enjoy the following photographs:

                 
                 
                5 Replies
                1. re: justanotherpenguin

                  I tried Barone's in the hope that there move to a new loation would revive what once was a decent Pizza house. I have now gone twice. In one trip. My first and my last trip. Absolutely horrible. Bellavista in Burbank is head and shoulders over Barone's.

                  1. re: Hughlipton

                    we will just have to agree to disagree. i have been going to barone's for over 20 years, have watched them move, and still keep going back, as do many others. i guess this is why there is more than one color.

                    1. re: justanotherpenguin

                      LOVE LOVE LOVE the garlic broccoli appetizer, so great!

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        Barone's? Weren't they on Ventura in Sherman Oaks? I used to work across the street at The Peddler.

                        1. re: foodiemahoodie

                          At one time they had at least two locations, one where you mention, the other in Toluca Lake. Both were closed down and the family purchased an old German restaurant (?Matterhorn?) on Oxnard, just west of Woodman. I still go there when in the area.

                2. Yes, I well remember how great their pizza was and how they placed their toppings underneath the cheese instead of on top!

                  If you are ever in the South Bay area, I can think of 2 places that come close. Sorrento's in San Pedro and Domenick's in Wilmington. The Sorrento's Special is a serious pizza! I promise you will not be disappointed.

                  1. For some reason this childhood favorite popped to mind, quick search of Google brought this up:

                    http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=...

                    Does anyone know if theres any relation to the original? Do I dare even hope that the pizza of my dreams is available again?! I'm 30 miles from there otherwise I'd make the drive to find out myself. (fingers crossed :L)

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: stephle

                      Well, that phone number rings through to an apartment building management company, so I wouldn't drive anywhere if I were you.

                      1. re: stephle

                        Further research on Google shows La Barbera's On Wilshire located on Goshen to be an elevator company.

                      2. Fuhgeddaboutit! Pizza is dead in LA now that La Barbera's is gone. Because I love a really good pizza I will try Villa Italian in Culver City and the places in San Pedro & Wilmington. As for Barone's, the other poster was right. I wouldn't send my worst enemy there to eat that slop-and I don't just mean the pizza...YUCK!

                        1. Yes I remember La Barbera's back in the 70's, the best pizza I have ever had. When I was a kid around 1960 and did not know any better, my mom used to take me to Piece O Pizza also on Wilshire blvd. west of Bundy and used to get an anchovie pizza which I thought was great then, but nothing will ever beat La Barbera's. I will keep an eye on this post to see if we can come close to it.

                          1. Another one who remembers La Barbera's fondly.

                            Recently I tried the Petrillo's in Glendora, ordering a pepperoni and mushroom, something I would have ordered at LB's. Wow, it took me back; it was the great blend of ingredients with the mozzarella that reminded me of LB's. No, it wasn't as good, but it was still pretty good.

                            I remember LB's having the best pepperoni ever to this day. P's pepperoni isn't quite so good. There's also a Petrillo's in San Gabriel.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Ogawak

                              I love the San Gabriel location the best!

                                1. re: emenot

                                  The San Gabriel location of Petrillo's is fantastic! For those of you in LA its not a bad drive on the weekend since its only a mile or so off the 10 freeway (with average traffic its maybe a half hour). I get the Petrillo's Special with no mushrooms (pepperoni, sausage, salami, fresh garlic, onions and green pepper). The nice thing about the onions and green pepper is that they finally shave the onions and green pepper so you don't have to bite through big pieces, you just get the flavor). Their pepperoni and sausage is made specially for them. You might consider getting the thin crust.

                            2. Interesting, my first post was deleted. I just said that I remembered it fondly as a place used to go with friends. Loved the combination dinner they had with spaghetti and pizza.
                              I am glad that there have been several comments on Villa Italian. I love their pizza, and have been going there for over twenty years. Their pizza in rectangle and a little thicker but delicious. I also like their spaghetti sauce.

                              It's funny, I have recommended several times on this board, and been criticized for it. Enjoy.

                              Even though it has changed hands from the original Italian family, they still keep the quality. One of the granddaughters from the family still works there.

                              -----
                              Villa Italian Restaurant
                              3973 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: paprkutr

                                You can always find someone who will criticize but I agree that Villa Italian is still a go to place. I like the thickness of the crust, double cheese, double sausage, onions, olives, bell peppers sprinkle with parmesan and red pepper flakes and it is a true delight.

                                -----
                                Villa Italian Restaurant
                                3973 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                                1. re: E Eto

                                  Villa Italian in Culver City makes a pretty good thin crust sausage and cheeze pizza. You kind of have to REALLY stress thin crust for them to make it that way. Good pizza for a sleepy little neighborhood place. We mostly get take out.

                                  -----
                                  Villa Italian Restaurant
                                  3973 Sepulveda Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

                                2. I'm a West L.A. Native and remember La Barbera's vividly. When I wasn't eating pizza there with my pals, I was there with my folks. It was far and away my favorite pizza and i was terribly sad when the family decided to close shop. Since that day, I've compared every pizza I've eaten to La Barbera's and everything pales in comparison.

                                  But I think I may have some excellent news for lovers of La Barbera's pizza...

                                  A dear friend of mine, a hardcore pizza-loving Chicago native who's been here since the early 70s and fondly remembers La Barbera's as well, recently called me and said he had something exciting to share. He said he discovered a place that is as close to La Barbera's as he's ever had -- Little Toni's on Lankershim in North Hollywood. Knowing the pizza snob that he is, I took his suggestion very seriously. So, we gathered our wives and headed to Litttle Toni's.

                                  When we walked in the front door, my heart leapt. The tables, chairs, ambience, looked exactly the way I remembered La Barbera's to be. Even the waitresses looked the same, like they had been transported from Westwood to North Hollywood, from the past to the present. Now to the important part -- the pizzas.

                                  I watched as the pizzas were served to tables around me. I could not believe what I was seeing. Beautiful cheesy pies that looked exactly like La Barbera's. And the aroma took me back 40 years. I ordered an individual pizza, pepperoni and meatball -- just like the ones I loved at La Barbera's. After a short time, it was delivered to our table. I just stared at it for a couple of minutes in disbelief. There it was -- seemingly a La Barbera's pizza. And when I took that first bite, it almost brought me to tears. Yes, this was far and away the closest I'd ever had to those great pizza pies in Westwood. And I mean CLOSE! The crust, flavor, meats, sauce -- even the weight of the slice as I lifted it to my mouth all screamed that I had finally found the reincarnation of La Barbera's pizza. It was perfect!

                                  I had conversations with the staff, telling them about La Barbera's and was surprised they had never heard of it. Little Toni's looks like it has been there since the 60s as well -- La Barbera's North!

                                  Anyway, I urge all you La Barbera's lovers to try it. Let me know what you think. I think you'll love it!

                                  6 Replies
                                    1. re: BSW6490

                                      I note that there have been "Little Toni's" (or Tony's) reviews on the L.A. board as far back as 2002 (at least) but I didn't notice any current board names attached to that one. Here is a later thread by "known hounds" http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/80908

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        Just go to Little Toni's for the pizza! If you all recall, the other dishes at La Barbera's were not worth mentioning. I remember trying a few of them and they just weren't very good -- very pedestrian preparations at best. But the pizzas! And it sounds like Little Toni's is very similar in that category also.

                                        One other thing I loved at La Barbera's -- the spumoni!

                                    2. re: Inktorch

                                      Made the sojourn from LA to N Hollywood in anticipation..... "I knew La Barbaras and you sir are no La Barbaras". I can see from the crust how it might remind one of La Barbaras, but I am afraid that ship has sailed. Too bad.

                                      1. re: BSW6490

                                        I thought that might be the case or us La Barabarains would of been out there years ago. Still wishing that someone buys their original recipe. The search continues. A boy can dream.

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          Would be great. Was done with the original I&joy bagel recipe Unfortunately time was off.

                                    3. Has anyone else been to Little Toni's for the pizza recently?

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: BSW6490

                                        we get little toni's takeout pizza every now and again. a lot of people on chowhound seem to dislike it; me, i think it's probably the best pizza in that part of the valley. it is inconsistent, however. sometimes they don't bake it enough. but when they do, the crust is crunchy and crisp and chewy, and the sauce has a rich, tangy flavour.
                                        i will say, from the description of la barbera's pizza (thick crust), little toni's is nothing like it. it's a thin crust pizza.
                                        can't vouch for anything else they serve there.

                                        1. re: linus

                                          Actually, La Barbara's was nothing like Numero Uno crust. While it was not ultra thin, neither was it deep dish crust-wise.

                                          1. re: BSW6490

                                            In all these years I have yet to find anything close to the taste of La Barbara's pizza. Very unique pizza. I loved their sausage. In the 70's I lived on Goshen Avenue at Westgate, right behind the restaurant and believe it or not I would eat there as many as 4 times a week. You could smell them cooking pizzas through out the entire neighborhood. To this day I still miss La Barbara's Pizza.

                                            1. re: wienermobile

                                              It was the highlight pizza of my youth. Remember the sausage too. In fact that's what I got at Little Toni's. While not close, I must say I watched them making the pizza and they put a ton of thick toppings on their pies. FYI I asked the hostess about La Barbaras and she had never heard of it. Told her I was there because of this post and she said she would give it a look. I took the box to the car so excited that I opened it and ate the first piece before turning the ignition. Like I said, it was not bad, just not la Barbaras. An impossible standard to meet.

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                Four times a week? This explains, if not a lot, something.

                                                1. re: mc michael

                                                  It was great, close and really cheap.

                                        2. There will never be another LaBarbera's...moved to Westwood in 1976 and it was love at first bite. Back to NY andFlorida...kept dreaming of LaBarberas. When I came back it was gone. Don't waste your time with Barone's- doesn't come close. Try Lido Pizza...a little hole in the wall at the SE corner of Victory and Sepulveda. Not quite the same but a great pizza in its own right. You won't be disappointed.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jackweho

                                            Nothing comes close, but Barone's is an institution in its own right.

                                          2. A ray of hope From Natalie L. on Yelp last year "That is my family's restaurant. Wish it was still around. My mother worked there, and that's where she met my father. My grandpa Joe was the best. One day I hope to bring it back to town. Carry on that legendary pizza recipe ;)"

                                            I can dream…...

                                            1. Open till 2am every day...

                                               
                                              1. Fall of '72, freshman year at UCLA. A long time ago, so I've eaten many great pizzas since. But that first one at LaBarbera's was the best till that time by a huge margin. I distinctively remember all the toppings entirely buried under all that thick white cheese. I had never seen or eaten a pizza anything like that before. We'd bring it back to the dorm and eat it with Lowenbrau beer. (Another nice old memory.) Ate there many more times in my college years.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: LetsRideMen

                                                  You really think La Barbera was actually better than Villa Italian on Sepulveda? Dare I say Villa Italia was better. The square piazza with lots of toppings and lots of red wine in those glass decanters (assuming I as a law student and you as a college student couldn't afford a bottle of wine). When cooked extra well and it's wonderful crust, the place was unbeatable.

                                                  1. re: LetsRideMen

                                                    I was a law student in the 70's and one of my classmates had a brief marriage to a French guy who was obsessed with LaBarbera pizza insisting on driving his VW bug which had not been washed since the Civil War (the windshield was black with dirt) to have a slice carting us with him. I made him stop the car and walked the rest of the way wanting to eat my slice while I was still in one piece.
                                                    Ah the flavor, ah the smell!

                                                    1. I remember it well. They also had Take and Bake pizza which was delicious. We used to often watch UCLA kick ass at Pauly Pavilion in the late 60's and pick up a couple of pizzas and then rush to watch the tape delayed game called by Dick Enberg. Those were the glory years and we were spoiled by Wooden's teams. I still think that was the best pizza I have ever tasted. I guess I always ordered mushroom, sausage, pepperoni. They were always busy and I needed to call and place my order for a Take and Bake 20-30min before pickup. I had to find a pay phone in those days.

                                                      1. We used to go to LaBarbera's all the time when we were at UCLA. Haven't heard that name in a million years. Ah memories!! Best pizza I know of is at Costco.

                                                        1. I worked there late 60's till mid 70's great place to work. Pizza was great and so were the other dishes. The pizza dinner was a great meal 8 inch pizza small spagetti soup and salad and dessert. Price was great to. The fresh garlic and onion pizza was delicious learned that one from a customer . mmmmmmm I have missed La Barbera' s every since I left. Have never found one.

                                                          1. It was the best pizza in town for sharp-toothed carnivores! Never could finish a large. Worth the price every time.

                                                            1. Does anyone have any photos or menus they could post. Nothing but the match book exists on the internet…absolute nothing else.

                                                               
                                                              1. DianeQT, if you worked there, then do you know (roughly) the recipe- method of preparation? ie. how much cheese, where they get the crust, whatever was unique or what made it taste good?