Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Jan 27, 2003 12:42 PM

La Babera's (sp ?) pizza

  • l

My family used to go this resturaunt on Wilshire west of Barrington eons ago, I think there's a two story mini-mall there now, at the time I was too young to appreciate pizza but my older sister still say's it was the best pie ever. Anybody remember it ?, agree/disagree ? Know where the owners or recipe went ? etc.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I must have eaten 100 pizzas from La Barbera's over the years. You got a lot of stuff for your buck but believe me they were not the best pizzas of all time. It was cheap, the place was bustling, it was fun, and it did taste good. It was old school. If you want something similar, go to Palermo's, 1858 N. Vermont Ave., LA.

    2 Replies
    1. re: mc michael

      I went there all the time, at all ages. They had two or three little rooms to sit in, with different atmospheres. I remember the pizza as being extremely good, plenty of cheese and tomatoes, and there was a special with "everything" on it that was divine. I think all this crispy crust conversation is nonsense. I have just recently tried Mulberry Street (in Beverly Hills), Gecco's in Sherman Oaks--they don't compare with La Barbara. (Surely there must be an old-style place like this closer to Barrington than Vermont!)

      1. re: juny1cat

        How about Da Vita's, practically right across the street? It dates from the same era as La Barberas. The crust is not greasy and sweet -- I can distinctly recall La Barberas crust 25 years later -- but you can get added garlic, and I think it's still pretty darn good.

    2. La Barbera's was the setting of one of my excessive eating episodes that I can never seem to live down. Whenever I visit with the friends I ate with, I'll invariably hear the "remember when you ate three entire meals at La Barbera's in one sitting?" Of course, if we're with anyone who hasn't heard the story, my friend goes into it with such enthusiasm that I can't refute a thing. That might have been the peak of my appetite during those college days.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Eric Eto

        Aren't the La Babera's in Beveryly Hills and Pacific Palisades still open?

        1. re: Dave Feldman

          Are you thinking of Jacopo's?

          1. re: LBQT

            Yikes, I sure am! Good call.

            I do remember La Barbera's, too, of course.

            And sometimes I conflate Bo-Jay's with La Barbera's, too.

            1. re: Dave Feldman

              Conflate is a cool word, but it's not a smarter way of saying "confuse."

              1. re: me

                But that's the whole point. I wasn't confusing them -- I was melding them in that thing that sometimes functions as my mind.

                1. re: Dave Feldman

                  Ah, good point. Conflation seems to be a key source of restaurant ideas. Asian + French, Pizza + tandoori, etc.

                  Personally, I reserve my conflation fantasies for old beaus. :-)

              2. re: Dave Feldman

                Seeing the mention of Domenico's above reminded me that Domenicos' (various San Gabriel Valley locations) pizza is as close to La Barbera's as I can imagine. Get the Bid D Special.

          2. I know the family, and they have been offered millions to reopen.... but they have no plans.

            8 Replies
            1. re: LaNative

              Maybe you could see if the family would be willing to share the recipe with those of us who would like to make it for old-times sake??

              1. re: Old Grumpus

                I worked in La Barbara's (sp) kitchen for about a year in 1970-71. I was nominally a salad chef, but we chefs did everything except peel onions and garlic, which was reserved for the Mexican guys, who told me they enjoyed it. Pasta and sauce were made in a big vat and stored in the cold room with pizzas. I think there was a dough cutting machine, but we pressed the dough into the oiled pans ourselves, covered it with sauce (mix of canned and tomatoes) and oregano and pepper. I now make my pizzas low carb. The trick in any case is to get the crust really thin (except napolitan, which I don't go for), and Ronnie and Joey taught that. I used to know how to toss a pizza, but with low carb, it's better to carefully roll it out in a pie sleeve taking care not to crush the dough too much with the pin. Now, I pre-bake or stove toast the crust on an oiled pizza pan. Main point: find a dough that works for you and can be rolled thin, then pre-cook it and cook it hot on a pizza brick (in the pan to reduce cleaning).

                  1. re: Labarberas

                    you can email me your phone contact at

                    Post here when its done and I will check the email. Thanks.

                    1. re: Thor123

                      Hi. You want to speak by phone? What are we discussing?

                      1. re: Labarberas

                        Oh. you're talking about a pizza recipe? There's not much secret there. It was a good business, but between good ingredients, a loyal staff, fair pricing, excellent location, and reasonably tight production and delivery systems, the magic was created.

                        Ronnie almost fired me one night. This was during the vietnam war. Nixon had just instituted the lottery, and the antiwar movement was falling apart because once you knew your likelihood of being drafted, which for most was low, you could fuggedabout it. That was Nixon's idea. Anyway, a colonel X ordered a pizza with anchovies, and I carefully crafted a peace sign with anchovies on the pizza. The colonel brought it back (apparently, he preferred his Vietnamese toasted). Ronnie tried to explain that such behavior was not smart. I never did it again, but I was gone in a month or so to a college program in France. I miss that job and my friends there still. I have memories of all types.

                        I also know the hands down best pizza combination we made there. Everybody who would eat it loved it.

                  2. re: LaNative

                    That doesn't make sense. The family wouldn't need to open up and run a restaurant -- we all know that involves risk and lots and lots of time. They would only need to provide the receipes and the know how to make the pizzas (and the name assuming they still own it) to someone in the restaurant business and the family could make a huge pile of cash with little to no effort.

                  3. That was my favorite pizza place back in the 1960's and 70's. They really heaped the cheese on those pizzas. We used to gorge on La Barbera's pizza and then go right across the street where my favorite ice cream parlor was located and finish off with some Clancy Muldoon's ice cream.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Sam D.
                      West Side Charly

                      That was great ice cream ... and lousy service. If they just could have gotten the ice cream on the cones a little faster, I would have kept them in business single-handed. Regarding La Barbera's, I never understood the fuss, it sure wasn't about the quality of the food.

                    2. Of course I remember La Barbara's on Wilshire. I was so sad to see it go. I remember ordering pizzas to take back to the dorm at U.C.L.A. (Dykstra Hall) and then as an adult going there for dinner often with friends and family.

                      A great restaurant, but sadly it closed many many years ago. I think of it often (especially now that I work in Westwood!!)