Avanti Cafe, my first time
After driving by the place a million times, I and my wife finally stopped to eat.
When I see "wood fired" and "gourmet" used together I am expecting one hellava pizza.
Going into a pizzaria for the first time I always order a "plain" cheese pizza (the true test of a "good" pizzaria) and one of the "specialty" pizzas, the "Wood Burned Delight".
You know what they say that pizza is like sex, even when it's bad...it's still pretty good.
It wasn't bad pizza, it was....uh.... just plain ol' ordinary pizza. not what I would call "gourmet". The cheese, the toppings, the crust...I coulda went to your average mom and pop and got the same thing there...for about half the price.
I dunno...maybe in my age my taste buds are getting worn... am I wrong?
Finally, the workers there, well they weren't rude, but I wouldn't pass out any medals for service either. I don't mind humbly giving away my money to a snooty or "i don't care if you are here" attitude....but the food has to make my toes curl!
Will I ever go back? nah... i got better places to eat pizza that taste way better for cheaper with owners who are happy to see me and my family walk in the front door.
They've been there 15+ years-- when the wood fired gourmet pizza boom started. I went once back then and didn't do anything for me either.
Interesting to note that California Pizza Kitchen doesn't do wood fired pizza anymore....they reconfigured their ovens with gas.
If you're in the neighborhood it is fine, but otherwise not worth a trip. Prices are on the high side and the pizza is only so-so. I based my pizza index on the crust, and theirs is nothing special.
I agree this isn't gourmet, but I like their pizza and love their garlic rolls. It's convenient to the Laemmle Playhouse theatre and I've been going here for years. The service is just okay, but the food is better than that. There's a reason it's been here as long as it has, and that it's always busy--quality.
I've tried so hard to find out where the love is with this place, and have concluded that it's one of those things like Casa Bianca, Marston's or Tommy's: if you've always loved it, you'll love it forever, but if you're new to it you'll either get it or you won't. Don't get me wrong, I've never had a bad pizza here, but none of'em has knocked my socks off either. It's pretty ordinary, as woodfired pizzas go; if they had a good Margherita I might be a fan, but they don't have any at all...and the Quattro Formaggi is pretty dull.