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Jan 12, 2004 12:16 AM

Best Pizza in Los Angeles (& surrounding)????!!

  • a

After living in the east for a bit, I no longer can stomach most of the pizza out here...please help me find a good pizza place to satisfy my hunger for a good PIE!

Willing to drive! :)

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    1. re: russkar

      There are about three or four branches of D'Amore's in the valley, think the one at Coldwater and Magnolia is what Russkar has in mind. OUTSTANDING thin crust pies.

      1. re: Chino Wayne

        Here is the specific 411:

        D'Amore's Pizza Connection
        12910 Magnolia Blvd Ste G
        Sherman Oaks, CA 91423-1662
        Phone: (818) 505-1111

        1. re: Chino Wayne

          CW, (or anyone else) have you ever tried this place on Lankershim in NoHo? I have driven by many times but never have stopped to give it a taste test.


          1. re: WLA

            No, I just don't get over that way very often, please report if you check it out.

            1. re: Chino Wayne

              you guys are awesome... Im scribbling away as I click through...and thanks for putting up with another "best....???? in ??????" thread!

            2. re: WLA

              Yes. Icky. But didn't try the pizza, only sandwiches, and wouldn't return based on those. I think the pizzas are grilled.

              1. re: Debbie

                Pit fire word..SUCKS!

              2. re: WLA

                Pitfire is just okay. I would not go again, even though it is close to work. Marginal pizza -- not great, not bad.

                1. re: WLA

                  It's just OK. It can't hold a candle to D'Amores.

                  Other places in the area: Albano's (one on Ventura, one on Melrose), Lamonica's, Pizza Cucina in La Canada, Mazzarino's in Sherman Oaks and yes, I'll say it, Ameci's (which is a local chain).

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Mazzarino's---YES!!! That was by far the best pizza, but the place burned down in 2007, I think and has never reopened. Their meatball pizza with extra cheese and fresh garlic was just heavenly, best anywhere, no doubt about it.

                    Ameci's----NO!!!! The one in Encino was probably the best, and even that was mediocre on its most glorious day.

                    Joe Peep's at Magnolia and Whitsett, also in the Valley, was also really, really good, although you must order it without black pepper!!! Huh??? Yeah, they DOUSE the pizza with black pepper, as a standard but silent ingredient, and it just ruins it for me. So unless you would like a very, very strong accent of black pepper on your pizza, tell them to leave it off!!! They had a bacon pizza with cheddar cheese that was really, really good, too. My band used to love it when I'd bring it to rehearsals.

                    Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock is AWESOME!!! Very unusual, random style of slicing the pie, which is just cheesy and juicy beyond belief.

                    Village Pizzeria on Larchmont is also fantastic--although the parking is difficult, and the staff have a LOUSY, SNOBBY attitude. If you can get past that, you will LOVE their pizza, very on-the-way to NY pie.

                    Another totally great slice can be had at Mama's (Mom's?) Brick Oven on Fair Oaks in South Pasadena, just north of the Bristol Farms. The House special pizza is fantastic, but just the cheese or pep is fantastic. Always fresh slices. Very, very close to NY flavor and quality. Worth driving for. With Mazzarino's down (for the count?), this would probably be my choice for best pizza, but all of these are superb, in my opinion.

                    Still the best pizza I ever had in LA--was served at my Little League field in Ladera Heights in the late 60's, I kid you not!!! Piping hot, great crust, garlic-laden sauce, and super-stretchy cheese--still the tops!!! My brother agrees, too. Was it the magic of going up there to get it all tired and hungry after a game, cleets clicking all the way up the path? Was it because our mom worked in the snack stand? Is it just nostalgia? Nope--it was just unreal, magical, perfect pizza--the standard for all others.

                    One last observation--notice how Pizza places in LA always say "NY style pizza"? One thing I can tell you--in NYC you will NEVER see a pizza place with a sign that says "LA style pizza" !!!

                    1. re: Harveycan

                      "One last observation--notice how Pizza places in LA always say "NY style pizza"? One thing I can tell you--in NYC you will NEVER see a pizza place with a sign that says "LA style pizza" !!!"

                      Right...They say "LA style Mexican"!!!!!

                      1. re: Servorg

                        Oh yeah? They might not call it L.A. Pizza, about California Pizza Kitchen? And let's face - the whole designer pizza movement started at Spago's.

                        1. re: foodiemahoodie

                          There are at least two others who deserve equal if not greater credit (or blame if you prefer) for the concept of "California pizza".

                          The first is Alice Waters, whose chefs made pizzas at Chez Panisse in Berkeley in the late 1970s. More or less simultaneously, Ed LaDou was making pies with unique ingredients at Prego restaurant in the Cow Hollow district of San Francisco.

                          LaDou met Wolfgang Puck when LaDou taught a pizza-making class at Ma Maison, and Puck hired him when he started Spago. Later LaDou designed the original CPK menu, and then started his own Caioti Pizza Cafe in Laurel Canyon, since moved to Studio City.

                            1. re: maxzook

                              I stand corrected! Thanks - completely forgot about Chez Panisse's pizza.

                              1. re: maxzook

                                Max (or anyone else), what do you recommend at Caoti? We swung by on a whim last night about one minute before closing and couldn't get a pizza. (I did find a parking spot on Tujunga at that late hour, however, and documented the achievement, so the effort wasn't entirely lost.) Walking up to the door I realized that I hadn't done my research and didn't know what's currently good. Any suggestions?

                                1. re: hnsbmg

                                  My favorite has always been the lamb sausage pizza with garlic, feta and kalamata olives. Also partial to the salsiccia. If I'm a veggie mood there are many choices, I can recommend the montese or the pugliese.

                                  I'm not a big fan of bbq chicken pizza (remember that Ed LaDou invented it at CPK), my friends who love it ... well, they love it.

                                  I've been pretty disappointed with the so-called New York Style menu, fortunately there is enough on the Old World or New World menus to compensate.

                                  And, I'm almost always able to find a parking spot behind the restaurant, be sure you take a spot marked for Caioti and tell the management if you're double-parking, they'll move it for you if necessary (which has only happened to me once.)

                              2. re: foodiemahoodie

                                Actually it started at Ed Ladou's Caioti Cafe in Laurel Canyon, late 70s, early 80s.
                                Wolfgang sought out Ed LaDou who was by then pretty well known for his elegant pizzas, and Ed taught Wolfgang how to pizza.
                                CPK came somewhat LATER.

                                NY has good pizza
                                LA has been home to GREAT pizza.

                                1. re: VenusCafe

                                  VenusCafe, "NY has good pizza. LA has been home to GREAT pizza." if you're tryin' to say, what i think you're tryin' to say, you shouldn't say it!" crazy comment! a friend took me to Bottega Marino a year and a half ago...crust was terrible!

                            2. re: Harveycan

                              There are plenty of (nasty) California Pizza Kitchens in NYC.

                              BTW, I posted this question on another thread, but figure it might get more responses here. Has anyone tried the pizzas at La Bottega Marino in WLA? I had an pesto-chicken pizza with exceptional crust and am trying to determine whether it was a fluke.

                              1. re: a_and_w

                                I had one of their pizzas tonight (for the first time), and it was delicious! I had the Atomica, which wasn't all that spicy, but it was good. A nice thin crisp crust, and the sauce and toppings were very good. I think the crust was a little bland on flavor, but still overall a very good pizza.

                                1. re: mdpilam

                                  Agreed -- La Bottega Marino's pizza is delicious! I've ordered a couple of Atomica pies since last posting and think it's right up there with Joe's and Vito's for my favorite pie in LA right now. I love, love, love the crust, which is crisp yet chewy and doesn't crack when you fold it. Best of all, I don't have to order it "well done" -- the bottom is always nicely charred. I like the saltiness of the crust but think it's missing the yeasty taste that really elevates great pizza.

                              2. re: Harveycan

                                I just had Ameci's for lunch today. Still reminds me of every street slice in New Jersey, New York, etc. Is it Di Fara's, Totonno's, Lombardi's, et al.? No, of course not. But neither are thousands of places in New York.

                                Mazzarino's is shortly to reopen, if they haven't already. I never get over there nowadays so I couldn't tell.

                                And there are plenty of places in New York advertising "California pizza". I passed a sign in the Amish Market on 9th Ave. every day for weeks that talked about "pizza and California pizza". It's just considered a separate animal, kind of like that casserole they call pizza in Chicago.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  "kind of like that casserole they call pizza in Chicago."

                                  Love that. Too true.

                                2. re: Harveycan

                                  I haven't been in the neighborhood lately, but the owner of Mazzarino's has been promising that they would be re-opening sometime soon (although it should be noted they've promised this before ...):


                                  1. re: Harveycan

                                    Rejoice! Mazzarino's is alive and well:


                                    Mazzarino's Italian Restaurant
                                    12920 Riverside Dr, Los Angeles, CA 91423

                                    1. re: maxzook

                                      E la pizza? La pizza รจ ancora buona?!

                                    2. re: Harveycan

                                      Casa Bianca is not some weird random style of slicing, if you have ever had Chicago thin crust pizza, this is how it is sliced, there are a few places around LA that do this. I think Petrillo's and the place farthur up Valley Blvd, DiPaolo's maybe.

                                3. re: Chino Wayne

                                  Is the D'Amores in the valley the same one that has TWO locations in Westwood (about a block apart, it's like a Starbucks imitation)? I go there quite a bit. Anyway, I don't think it's that great at all. Just great for the low calorie count (166 calorie slice? I find it hard to believe OR turn down).
                                  Am I alone in my love of Johnnie's New York Pizzeria? Super unhealthy and super tasty, just the way I like it. Not cheap. Not fast. Century City, Marina Del Rey, Sherman Oaks, 3rd Street, etc. I can hardly ever rationalize ordering from there, but when I really want to break my diet with delivery, Johnnie's is it.

                                  1. re: Goonie6

                                    I kind of agree with one caviat. I ordered a Sausage Mushroom and onion slice. {cheese slice added topings and reheated] But they sauteed the mushrooms in a seperate pan which normally a good thing but they dumped it along with the 1/4 cup of Olive oil it was coocked in on the slice. Not good eats. But knowing that I would go back and order more wisely.

                                    I've heard about good East coast pizza at North End [Boston]Pizzeria on Olympic at Bundy. I have not tried it but as a Native Bostonian I am looking forward to it.

                                    Take care

                                    - P.

                                    1. re: Goonie6

                                      Northend (there's one in Burbank) isn't bad but it isn't the best pizza in LA by a long shot.

                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                        Well, you thought Ameci's was among the best, so your credibility is pretty suspect in my book :)

                                        1. re: Harveycan

                                          If you're looking for Di Fara's in California, you are setting yourself up for disappointment, because it doesn't exist. It doesn't exist anywhere in the world except New York, either, so we're not exactly alone.

                                          I will stand by my statement that Ameci's makes a decent pie. You don't like it, don't eat there, that's all there is to it.

                                          BTW: 13 replies to one thread??

                                          1. re: Harveycan

                                            >>Well, you thought Ameci's was among the best, so your credibility is pretty suspect in my book :)<<

                                            With all due respect, you're obviously new to this board. Lance Armstrong has won seven TsDF, Omar Khyyam was epic in his poetry, and Das Ubergeek knows food like no other...

                                            1. re: bulavinaka

                                              The Rainbow Bar and Grille on Sunset in W Hollywood has the best pizza outside of New York. Their stuffed mushrooms and all of their soups are great also. Granted it is a bit of an odd place but the food is fantastic

                                              1. re: flowergirl

                                                It's quite affordable too and open till 2 am or somethin'

                                  2. re: russkar

                                    There's a D'Amore's Pizza in Westwood Village.

                                  3. Personally I think Domenico's on Huntington Drive in Monrovia beats out D'Amore's. But they're both very good. Check out the thread entitled "Alessi Pizzeria on Highland" posted Christmas Day 2003 for a discussion about locations etc. of Domenico's.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: gj

                                      I love both D'Amore's and Domenico's. Domenico's is a full service sit down restaurant, and is about 30 miles closer to the old homestead than D'Amore's. The D'Amore's that I have visited has about two tables and definately feels like an east coast pizza shop.

                                      I gotta give you a heads up, at Domenico's you really need to emphasize THIN crust.

                                      Just ate there Saturday with the wife and daughter, medium thin, thin crust double pepperoni and sausage; lasagna; sausages with onions, peppers and potatoes, spaghetti and meat balls (this dish has improved since I last had it), garlic bread, two salads, three soft drinks (unlimited refils) $49.00

                                    2. Closest to Joe's Pizza on Bleecker St in NYC is Casa Bianca, 1650 Colorado Blvd, 323-256-9617.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: drewben

                                        What time do you have to get there to avoid a long wait?

                                        1. re: drewben

                                          Casa Bianca is nothing like Joe's in NYC

                                        2. Surprised no one has mentioned Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock yet, as it's often named the best pizza in LA. I haven't been there personally, but it's high on my list of places to check out. Hounds say the homemade sausage is the best option.

                                          That aside, I agree with posters below. D'Amore is the best I've tried in LA thus far. A very tasty thin-crust slice, and awesome moist garlicy rolls too. Sandwiches deserve a mention, but pizza's truly the thing.

                                          Casa Bianca Pizza Pie
                                          1650 Colorado Blvd
                                          Los Angeles, CA 90041-1436
                                          Phone: (323) 256-9617

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: Spoony Bard

                                            I grew up in Eagle Rock and have watched people flooding in to Casa Bianca's for the past few years. The place is good, but why all the hype? The pizza is what my friends and family liked the least. We always went for the pasta... Maybe the yups have convinced each other that this is the best.
                                            As for parking, never used to be a problem...

                                            1. re: Spoony Bard

                                              Casa Bianca is good, even VERY good pizza, but what makes it stand out is the feel of the place. It feels like a family italian/pizza place, not some trumped-up over-decorated place where the $$$ are in the decor or the location instead of in the ingredients and the experienced pizza makers.

                                              As for the sausage, again very good (and it is the ONLY topping I ever get on a pizza), but not SoCal's best. THat honor is reserved for Sabatino's in Newport Beach (which also makes a pretty darn good pizza!).

                                              1. re: Spoony Bard

                                                Excellent sausage and pretty good pepperoni. I have an insulated bag (sam's club) that is good for hot and cold stuff. My pizza was just fine after my 20 minute drive last night. If you live far away, go on a nice day, grab a pizza, then head to a nearby park -- even Griffith Park is close.

                                              2. Second nomination for Casa Bianca. The long wait for a table on Friday and Saturday is telling. I went there two weeks ago and got the sausage and garlic -- the crust was perfect. Eat it there. Don't take out. It doesn't travel well.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: MQue

                                                  Not bad, but the parking there is horrible. I'd rate it below D'Amore's and Demonico's but far above Petrillo's, which got several good reviews here recently (I was less than impressed by their lunch time offering though the toppings were plentiful).

                                                  These far-ranging pizza-fan posts will probably be responsible for driving the price of a barrel of oil up a dollar or two on the international markets. There's got to be some excellent pizza in the center and south parts of the county, but I'm still looking...

                                                  1. re: MQue

                                                    i live near eagle rock and i love casa bianca pizza. my husband, the carnivore, RAVES about the sausage (i've tasted and it's very good, lots of fennel, which i love). the eggplant pizza is also incredible (even if you *think* you don't like eggplant, you will love it this way).

                                                    h'ever, i would hesitate to recommend that anyone drive across town for this pizza. the hassle (the long wait, cramped quarters, etc.) may not be worth it.... but if you're close by and hv a lot of time to kill...