HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

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

jerry200 Apr 15, 2008 05:01 PM

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?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Chowpatty RE: jerry200 Apr 15, 2008 05:27 PM

    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.

    1. The Chowhound Team RE: jerry200 Apr 15, 2008 05:39 PM

      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. j
        Jerome RE: jerry200 Apr 15, 2008 05:54 PM

        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. Hughlipton RE: jerry200 Apr 15, 2008 05:54 PM

          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
            Chowpatty RE: Hughlipton Apr 15, 2008 06:02 PM

            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
              Burger Boy RE: Chowpatty Apr 15, 2008 06:22 PM

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

            2. re: Hughlipton
              BeenThereAteThat RE: Hughlipton Apr 29, 2008 12:47 AM

              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
                Ogawak RE: Hughlipton Oct 15, 2010 03:58 PM

                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. justanotherpenguin RE: jerry200 Apr 15, 2008 07:26 PM

                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
                  Hughlipton RE: justanotherpenguin Apr 16, 2008 06:36 PM

                  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
                    justanotherpenguin RE: Hughlipton Apr 16, 2008 11:49 PM

                    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
                      Burger Boy RE: justanotherpenguin Oct 4, 2010 12:57 PM

                      LOVE LOVE LOVE the garlic broccoli appetizer, so great!

                      1. re: Burger Boy
                        foodiemahoodie RE: Burger Boy Apr 28, 2012 10:36 PM

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

                        1. re: foodiemahoodie
                          justanotherpenguin RE: foodiemahoodie May 5, 2012 09:37 AM

                          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. j
                  jet1985 RE: jerry200 Apr 28, 2008 11:02 PM

                  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. s
                    stephle RE: jerry200 Jun 4, 2008 12:31 PM

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


                    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
                      Chowpatty RE: stephle Jun 4, 2008 12:58 PM

                      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
                        Hughlipton RE: stephle Jun 4, 2008 02:06 PM

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

                      2. d
                        Deep Valley RE: jerry200 Aug 8, 2008 11:42 AM

                        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. m
                          malibumike RE: jerry200 Aug 8, 2008 12:15 PM

                          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. o
                            Ogawak RE: jerry200 May 28, 2009 03:29 PM

                            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
                              Burger Boy RE: Ogawak Oct 4, 2010 12:59 PM

                              I love the San Gabriel location the best!

                              1. re: Burger Boy
                                emenot RE: Burger Boy Dec 16, 2011 08:45 AM

                                Not even close!

                                1. re: emenot
                                  bringiton RE: emenot Mar 20, 2014 12:52 PM

                                  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. p
                              paprkutr RE: jerry200 Oct 4, 2010 01:23 PM

                              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
                                Hughlipton RE: paprkutr Oct 4, 2010 01:47 PM

                                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

                              2. E Eto RE: jerry200 Oct 5, 2010 08:47 AM


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: E Eto
                                  engee RE: E Eto Oct 15, 2010 04:15 PM

                                  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
                                  Inktorch RE: jerry200 Apr 23, 2012 11:40 PM

                                  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: Inktorch
                                    BSW6490 RE: Inktorch Apr 24, 2012 10:03 AM

                                    That is AWESOME. Cant wait!

                                    1. re: BSW6490
                                      Servorg RE: BSW6490 Apr 24, 2012 10:10 AM

                                      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
                                        Inktorch RE: Servorg Apr 24, 2012 11:15 AM

                                        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
                                      BSW6490 RE: Inktorch Apr 28, 2012 07:25 PM

                                      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
                                        wienermobile RE: BSW6490 Apr 28, 2012 07:38 PM

                                        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
                                          BSW6490 RE: wienermobile Apr 28, 2012 09:36 PM

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

                                    3. b
                                      BSW6490 RE: jerry200 Apr 25, 2012 01:13 PM

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

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: BSW6490
                                        linus RE: BSW6490 Apr 27, 2012 08:07 AM

                                        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
                                          BSW6490 RE: linus Apr 27, 2012 10:33 AM

                                          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
                                            wienermobile RE: BSW6490 Apr 28, 2012 11:16 PM

                                            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
                                              BSW6490 RE: wienermobile Apr 29, 2012 08:43 AM

                                              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.

                                      2. j
                                        jackweho RE: jerry200 Feb 2, 2014 10:56 AM

                                        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
                                          Thor123 RE: jackweho Feb 2, 2014 11:28 AM

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

                                        2. wienermobile RE: jerry200 Feb 2, 2014 11:35 AM

                                          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. wienermobile RE: jerry200 Feb 2, 2014 11:55 AM

                                            Open till 2am every day...

                                            1. l
                                              LetsRideMen RE: jerry200 Feb 5, 2014 05:01 PM

                                              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.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: LetsRideMen
                                                Hughlipton RE: LetsRideMen Feb 5, 2014 05:45 PM

                                                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.

                                              2. o
                                                Ogawak RE: jerry200 Feb 5, 2014 06:29 PM

                                                NO. Nothing comes close.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Ogawak
                                                  wienermobile RE: Ogawak Feb 5, 2014 06:37 PM

                                                  I second that.

                                                  1. re: wienermobile
                                                    malibumike RE: wienermobile Feb 6, 2014 08:27 AM

                                                    I third that.

                                                2. b
                                                  bigd9999 RE: jerry200 Mar 19, 2014 12:37 AM

                                                  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. p
                                                    Pepelep RE: jerry200 Mar 19, 2014 08:01 AM

                                                    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. d
                                                      DianeQT RE: jerry200 Mar 19, 2014 10:37 PM

                                                      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.

                                                      Show Hidden Posts