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Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzeria in San Pedro

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Ernie Apr 14, 2009 04:10 PM

On the way home from a bike ride over the weekend, I happened to stumble upon Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzeria, a tiny takeout-only pizzeria in my neighborhood. The pizzeria was closed at the time, but the next day I came across a very favorable Los Angeles Times review so I had to check it out.

Well, last night I picked up a sausage and mushroom pizza and it was absolutely outstanding! Very thin, crispy crust with nicely charred bits, fresh mushroom and sausage, good quality cheese, and not greasy at all. This by far the best pizza I have had in San Pedro if not the greater LA area. The style reminds me of the better places you might find in NYC. Be warned though, the pizza only comes in one size -- gigantic! However I think they have slices available too. Also, there really isn't any seating, just a cashier counter and one small table outside so best to order for pick-up. As far as I know, they don't deliver.

Pavich's also has a couple of very interesting Croatian dishes on the menu that I hope to try – that is if I ever make it past the amazing pizza. I am so delighted to have such a fantastic little pizzeria so close to home!

Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzeria
2311 S Alma St
San Pedro, CA 90731
(310) 519-1200

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Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzeria
2311 S Alma St, San Pedro, CA 90731

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  1. h
    Harry Nile Apr 14, 2009 04:28 PM

    Ernie, how would you compare Pavich's to Big Nick's on Gaffey?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harry Nile
      e
      Ernie Apr 14, 2009 04:30 PM

      I like Big Nick's for non-pizza stuff like their meatball subs, chicken marsala, etc. The one time I tried Big Nick's pizza, I thought it was pretty average. Pavich's pizza is much better

      1. re: Ernie
        h
        Harry Nile Apr 14, 2009 04:38 PM

        Good -- I have a similar attitude towards Big Nick's. That LA Times article ( http://www.latimes.com/features/food/... ) mentions a calzone at Pavich's. Maybe I'll try that, since I don't have a small village to feed. Thanks for the review!

    2. Joe Blowe Apr 14, 2009 05:13 PM

      Ernie, I was just going to start a thread on this place! Good timing...

      I stopped by Pavich's today dying to try the pljeskavica, a "cevapcici burger". (BTW, the cevapcici is made on the premises instead of being sourced from the local Croatian butchers -- I have high hopes for this!) Wouldn't you know it, the owner (Zdenko, or "Danny") just got back from vacation and wasn't ready to fire up the grill. So, no pljeskavica for me.

      But, he encouraged me to try anything else on the menu, and I went with the quatro gusti calzone. Very impressive. A light crust, not very chewy at all (must be using a pretty low gluten flour), with a solid tomato sauce and fillings. Definitely not like any other calzone-bomb I've ever had.

      I realize that this place is going to be quite a haul for some, but I think it's worth the drive. Then again, I'm only driving from Torrance!

      P.S. Normally I would suggest that anybody making the drive down to San Pedro should stop by Sunshine Market (on Pacific) and pick up some cevapcici for grilling at home. However, they are out of business, as I just discovered today...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Joe Blowe
        b
        Burger Boy Apr 14, 2009 06:10 PM

        What is cevapcici?

      2. h
        hungryrunner Apr 17, 2009 08:08 PM

        Thanks for discovering this. I live in PV, so I'll be getting to it real soon!

        1 Reply
        1. re: hungryrunner
          h
          hungryrunner Apr 19, 2009 05:22 PM

          Okay, I went there and got three pizzas. One word: AWESOME!!!! The owner was super friendly and nice and make great recommendations (garlic slivers in the tomatoes I had on one of my pizzas), he gave my mom a free sampling of soup and also garlic-marinated roasted red peppers. The crust is hand rolled, thin and crispy - just excellent! Better than Joe's in Santa Monica. Croatian items on the menu (cabbage rolls with mashed potatoes, pork sandwiches, etc...) sound delicious so I'll be trying them out also. Great recommend!

        2. o
          Ogawak Jun 26, 2009 09:12 AM

          Had a large pizza from Pavich. I had it half vegetarian and half meat lovers. Pavich is takeout only with a few tables and chairs for outdoor seating. I took it home, but had a couple of slices in the car.

          Excellent crust, as good as any I've had in LA (Never had pizza in NY/NJ). My favorite pizza is Vito's hands down, but Pavich gives it a real run for the money. The crust was firm and crispy, although it oddly was too floppy to fold well. Delicious. And the variety of veggies on the vegetarian was wonderful with red peppers, red onions, artichoke hearts, zucchini, olives and mushroom.

          The meat lovers was loaded with various meats, some I was not familier with. But it was great.

          The bonus was, when I got home, I heated some slices on my pizza stone at 550 for 2-3 minutes and the crust became extra light and crispy.

          Pavich may not top Vito's (IMHO), but it's in the discussion for best pizza in LA.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Ogawak
            Servorg Jun 26, 2009 09:22 AM

            Thanks for the follow up post, Ok. Still trying to get out here. Were you in the neighborhood or did you make a special trek (in the best houndly tradition) to try it out?

            1. re: Servorg
              o
              Ogawak Jun 26, 2009 10:30 AM

              I work in Carson, so the trek wasn't too bad. Yeah, San Pedro is off the beaten path, but there are a few places worth coming to here. Porky's (with Muggies fried chicken) is here (I haven't tried it). If you live the SB, PV or Long Beach, Pavich may be the best pizza around. Plus the view of the harbor is highly underrated.

              1. re: Ogawak
                Servorg Jun 26, 2009 10:44 AM

                Since we live adjacent to the Santa Monica Airport and only get down to SP once in a while it's problematic how soon I'll be able to enjoy Pavich's pizza first hand. So all the more important (and enjoyable) to be able to read your, and other hounds, take on it here.

                1. re: Servorg
                  j
                  JimmyC Jun 27, 2009 04:54 AM

                  this place looks awesome even though i prefer my pie with minimal or no toppings.im going to have to try even though its on the other side of the moon from me ie alta loma

                  1. re: JimmyC
                    meltedcheese Jun 27, 2009 07:51 PM

                    This is not a bookmark. My next door neighbor went here last week and raved about it. I'm going this week. I'll let you know.

                  2. re: Servorg
                    Dommy Jun 28, 2009 04:57 PM

                    One thing to note, they close at 8p... 8p on the DOT... We hoped to try a slice on Friday evening, but sadly it was a no go...

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Dommy
                      Servorg Jun 28, 2009 05:12 PM

                      No problem. I like to eat by 7 PM at the latest, if possible.

              2. re: Ogawak
                h
                HBfoodie Jun 30, 2009 07:02 PM

                I had a small cheese pizza at Pavich's (I never order toppings when I first try a new pizza because I want to get an idea about its basics----crust, sauce, and cheese) and attached a photo of it here. Its located west of Gaffey St in a semi-residential area that reminds me of San Francisco. Dining is out of the question because its such a tiny place. I also ordered a single cabbage roll (about $3.25) which I enjoyed. The pizza crust was very good, not too thick or thin, and had a nice unique taste but I wasn't that impressed with the cheese, which I thought was rather dry. The sauce was ok. I recommend ordering a Pavich's pizza with toppings or their popular Croatian pizza, which has multiple toppings. It may be that I prefer my pizza to be the traditional NY-style oily type like Damianos (I attached a photo of Damianos pizza slices). Later I stopped at nearby Bonello's NY Pizza (832 S. Gaffey St.) for their slice special and I have to admit that I prefered it over Pavich's. Bonello's has a small comfortable dining area and an owner who seems to be transported right out of The Bronx. I didn't take take a photo of their pizza, but I thought that it was very similar to what is served at Damianos/Vitos,Village Pizza. Both Pavich's and Bonello's are some of the better pizzas that I have enjoyed in the L.A. area and I will definitely return.

                 
                 
                1. re: HBfoodie
                  c
                  chowchi1 Jul 1, 2009 05:33 AM

                  I don't live near San Pedro but decided to make the drive and try Pavich's based on the reviews here. Had the cheese and sausage pizza. I agree that the crust was good however the sauce was more on the bland side -- overall ok but nothing out of the ordinary.

                  1. re: HBfoodie
                    p
                    peterboy Aug 15, 2009 10:21 PM

                    i actually like Bonello better. But Pavich is definitely in the rotation. We have abundant great pizza in pedro. Sorrento's at western and 25th is also superb. thicker crust but wonderful cheese and sausage. not a ny pie but we prolly get it more often than either of the others--always half sausage half fresh tomato. they are so good, they do not deliver.

                    1. re: peterboy
                      JEN10 Aug 16, 2009 07:44 AM

                      I do like Sorrentos pizza as well! There meatballs are pretty good to, love there subs!!!

                2. v
                  vlad Jul 8, 2009 07:11 PM

                  My wife and I just go back from trying it out. The pizza is fantastic. Without a doubt, one of the best in California.

                  We were torn between what we should order, so Zdenko recommended we try:

                  1/3 Croatian

                  1/3 Romana

                  1/3 Quattro Gusti

                  Absolutely delicious. He might be opening a larger version of his pizzeria in Santa Monica or perhaps even in Orange County.

                  We also took some sauerkraut and cabbage rolls to go.

                  -----
                  Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzeria
                  2311 S Alma St, San Pedro, CA 90731

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: vlad
                    Servorg Jul 8, 2009 07:15 PM

                    Come ON Santa Monica!! Thanks for the news.

                    1. re: vlad
                      h
                      HBfoodie Jul 8, 2009 08:58 PM

                      Good news....He should definitely open a larger version because his food is too good and should be enjoyed hot out of the oven in a comfortable dining atmosphere.

                    2. JEN10 Aug 14, 2009 01:43 PM

                      Mom is visiting and we wanted to hit up A-1 grocery and deli, it was lunch time so we decided to stop by Pavich's. Holly mother of God, this pizza crust is incredible. We let the owner choose for us. He did 1/2 Romana ( sauce, mozzarella, feta, ham, fresh sliced tomates, basil and garlic) this is so delicious, with just the right amount of sauce and ing. and 1/2 quattro gusti (sauce, mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, & artichokes. Again, delicious with nice pieces of thin sliced ham and artichokes. He had brought out a pizza for an older couple that was the Croatian, it looked incredible!!! I think I am now ruined, I don't know how I can ever eat any another's pizza after this LOVELINESS of pizza nirvana.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: JEN10
                        Servorg Aug 14, 2009 02:15 PM

                        Thanks so much for the report, Jen. It's really nice when these neighborhood gems pop up and hopefully succeed to all of our benefit.

                        1. re: Servorg
                          JEN10 Aug 14, 2009 03:41 PM

                          Servorg, you must get yourself down there!!! Next time we are going to grab a pizza and head over to Point Ferman for a nice seaside lunch. We hit up A-1 and got some of their delicious garlic, parsley sausage, green cracked olives and canolli shells. I have the meatballs simmiering in the sauce as we speak.

                          1. re: JEN10
                            Servorg Aug 14, 2009 03:55 PM

                            Every now and again I come down to have breakfast at Gaffey St. Diner, but I'm there when they open at 5 AM and then head back up to the west la area before the traffic builds up. Unfortunately Pavich's is going to need to open earlier for me! (g)

                            1. re: JEN10
                              l
                              leetmom7 Aug 23, 2009 04:49 AM

                              (Jen: next time you are at A-1, pick up a couple of cans of 6 in 1 ground tomatoes. OMG. Heaven - vine ripened and they don't add citric acid. Grab me too, while you're at it, we'll make a picnic)

                              1. re: leetmom7
                                JEN10 Aug 23, 2009 07:02 AM

                                Which brand are they? I did pick up a gigantic can of crushed tomatoes by Di Nappoli.

                                1. re: JEN10
                                  Servorg Aug 23, 2009 07:04 AM

                                  The brand is Escalon and the can looks like this: "6 in 1" (sounds like a gear reduction box of some type)

                                  http://www.pennmac.com/items/3228

                                  1. re: Servorg
                                    l
                                    leetmom7 Aug 23, 2009 02:08 PM

                                    Thats it, thanks Servorg for the link. I buy CASES of the stuff as gifts, LOL

                                    1. re: leetmom7
                                      JEN10 Aug 23, 2009 02:54 PM

                                      OK, I will pick some up on my next trip. Love just opening one can, rather 6+ cans. I am trying to get a friend and her Dad to go down for pizza and a deli run soon.

                        2. Professor Salt Aug 14, 2009 09:11 PM

                          Maybe I missed reading it, but can anyone confirm they sell pizza by the slice?

                          I'm thinking I can run down here for lunch some time, and I'd not want to buy a whole pie.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Professor Salt
                            Dommy Aug 14, 2009 09:53 PM

                            Sadly I can not confirm that they sell slices... BUT the LAT recently had this GREAT article about 'global' sandwiches which earned my respect because they included some of my favorites and Pavich was including for having a great Croatian sandwich... take a look at this!!

                            http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2009-07/48194810.jpg

                            And the story is here...

                            http://www.latimes.com/features/food/...

                            So even if they don't sell slices, the sandwich itself seems worth the trip! :)

                            We can't wait to try ourselves, but they have banker hours and we can't escape at lunch time to go quite that far...

                            --Dommy!

                            1. re: Professor Salt
                              o
                              Ogawak Aug 14, 2009 11:11 PM

                              They do not presently sell slices. It's a really tiny place. But you can have two kinds of pizza in one, like a Croatian and an all-meat. When I take the leftovers home they bake well on my pizza stone.

                              1. re: Professor Salt
                                h
                                HBfoodie Aug 15, 2009 07:01 PM

                                When I visited I didn't want to eat a whole pie, so I ordered their smallest pizza (maybe 10") and I recall that it was only about $6 or $7. The Times article didn't mention the small lower-priced pizza.

                                1. re: HBfoodie
                                  Professor Salt Aug 15, 2009 09:39 PM

                                  Ok, a 10" pizza is doable for one person. Thanks

                                  1. re: Professor Salt
                                    Dommy Aug 16, 2009 07:40 PM

                                    Okay... just got back and had a great experience, I will say their smallest 'individual' pies are about 12 inches... to finish a whole one would take a hearty appetite... We got the Calzone and although a bit smaller, it completely satisfied two rather hungry chow hounds... BUT I have no doubt that the pizza or Calzone would re-heat beautifully even in a microwave, The crust was thin and charry, but not overly crackery... it had a nice tug to it...

                                    As for the flavors, they were wonderfully fresh, the sauce was well balanced with acid and spice (no hint of sweet at all) and the toppings/fillings were very fresh tasting (We got mushrooms, onions and sausage) and plentiful. We saw a large pepperoni pie go out and every INCH was covered in beautiful looking pepperoni... the owner just went "ooooooohhhh!!!" As I mentioned, the crust was very thin, but not crackery... not was it leathery... it had a good body and great taste (I actually preferred it to Casa Bianca's crust that we had the day before, which was rather flavorless) We were glad to order the Calzone because it was technically double crust and we got a REAL sense of it....

                                    We also ordered the Cabbage Rolls, which was a real unique to take on them... the filling was very meaty and the sauce VERY thin and very tangy (Like lots of red wine vinegar). They served it along side some mashed potatoes (which worked well) and some roasted red pepper....

                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/dommichu...

                                    We were happy with the Calzone but were SO happy we also ordered the cabbage rolls (and that because we can only eat so much, we now have a good piece of Calzone waiting for us for breakfast tomorrow! ;))

                                    All in all, we are glad we made the detour (Although it was during my manual transmission driving lesson and that hill on 23rd nearly killed me....) and look forward to going back and ordering a proper pie... and have it the proper way... hot out of the oven....

                                    --Dommy!

                                    1. re: Dommy
                                      h
                                      HBfoodie Aug 17, 2009 01:12 AM

                                      Nice review Dommy...I too enjoyed their cabbage rolls even though I missed having a tomato sauce topping like my Polish mother used to make. My initial visit also included a simple cheese 10" pizza (photo posted below), but I have found an on-line photo showing one of Pavich's 1/2 and 1/2 combo pizzas (photo attached below---I think it shows a Roma-style and Croatian-style). It may appear that a Pavich' pizza has a thick crust-----but it's actually light and thin and very tasty.

                                       
                                       
                                      1. re: Dommy
                                        o
                                        Ogawak Aug 17, 2009 07:09 AM

                                        Thanks for the review on the calzone and the cabbage rolls. I can just taste the crust as you write. I love their pizzas so much I don't bother to try other things. when I can't get to VIto's (which is my fav), this is a close second for me.

                                        Your driving lesson reminds me of how I learned stick on the hills of San Francisco.

                                2. Joe Blowe Aug 15, 2009 08:23 AM

                                  The sandwich, pljeskavica, is good, but not as good as the other offerings IMO -- the cevapcici is made in house, but he uses 100% beef (which is not traditional) and not enough seasoning (the garlic should sing ;-).

                                  And, Ogawak is correct: No slices. But, they do serve a mean calzone (see my 4/14/09 post above).

                                  1. r
                                    Rizza Aug 23, 2009 07:30 PM

                                    Finally tried it this week. The funnest part was arriving super hungry and smelling the yeasty goodness from across the street. As previously mentioned, there is no seating...also no restroom for public use. There are no slices currently...to answer P. Salts question. At least I didn't see prices for them, and the owner offered to make me an "individual" in 7 min. The individual was HUGE! I opted for the veggie to test out my usual favorite. I wish I would have followed HB foodies strategy and tried a plain one first. The veggie was very good. I love the crispy crust. The cheese and sauce were good...not freak out good, but good. I think that by the way people have been going on about it, I was expecting a Mozza experience (which I really loved). It wasn't Mozza, but I think the important thing is that for an "individual" loaded with veggies I piad $10.00. I ate one piece right away in the car, ate another overlooking the cliffs of Palos Verdes, two the next night for dinner two the following day for lunch, and there are still a couple in the fridge. It reheats beautifully, and for $10 is really amazing. I can't wait to try the meat versions. Great place to grab a quick picnic lunch.

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: Rizza
                                      h
                                      HBfoodie Aug 24, 2009 12:46 AM

                                      I'm from Huntington Beach and don't know San Pedro too well and would like to find a good spot not far away from Pavich's where I can enjoy eating my pizza (preferably not while in my car). Could someone please suggest a location? I was thinking of taking my personal Pavich's pizza down to nearby Bonello's Pizza on Gaffee St and eating a slice of their good pizza alongside of my Pavich's (but I'm sure that it would draw some nasty comments from the lively unbashful owner and counter-help at Bonello's!).

                                      1. re: HBfoodie
                                        Servorg Aug 24, 2009 04:11 AM

                                        At the top of the bluff just at the entrance to White Point where I had my first beach entry dive for scuba certification back in the mid '70's (my how the time flies when you're getting older!) is a picnic area with tables. That might be a good place to sit and enjoy your pizza. Can't beat the view if the weather is nice.

                                        http://www.pacificwilderness.com/Dive...

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          h
                                          HBfoodie Aug 24, 2009 11:14 AM

                                          Wonderful suggestion... And thanks for the link that has a map and photos. I could also go to nearby Angels Pt.... Both spots offer a spectacular view----- good pizza plus a view of the Pacific...ya can't beat that!

                                          1. re: HBfoodie
                                            JEN10 Aug 24, 2009 11:47 AM

                                            Stop at A-1 before you get your pizza; for some of their awesome cracked green garlicky olives. OOOHHHH so good with the pizza!!!

                                            1. re: JEN10
                                              h
                                              HBfoodie Aug 24, 2009 12:39 PM

                                              What is A-1? A market? Deli?

                                              1. re: HBfoodie
                                                Servorg Aug 24, 2009 12:44 PM

                                                http://www.a1importgroc.com/

                                                1. re: Servorg
                                                  l
                                                  leetmom7 Aug 24, 2009 01:33 PM

                                                  Isn't there a park with tables right across from A-1?!? But no restrooms, right?

                                                  1. re: leetmom7
                                                    Joe Blowe Aug 24, 2009 03:50 PM

                                                    I wouldn't dine at that park if I were you. Unless you know how to throw gang signs ;-)

                                                    1. re: Joe Blowe
                                                      JEN10 Aug 25, 2009 09:06 AM

                                                      I concur. Go to Whites Point on the cliffs, great view and nice place for a picnic.

                                    2. l
                                      leetmom7 Nov 23, 2009 01:04 PM

                                      Pavich is coming! Pavich is coming! Summerland and Western, in the old Pizza Hut location.

                                      See, I have proof:

                                      http://tinypic.com/r/317cv2g/6

                                      (they said about 2-3 months before they open)

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: leetmom7
                                        Servorg Nov 23, 2009 01:17 PM

                                        We had a little discussion on their second location late last month - plus a nice digression on where it was actually going to be located (g) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6611...

                                        1. re: Servorg
                                          l
                                          leetmom7 Nov 23, 2009 02:37 PM

                                          Thanks for the link, I knew it was discussed elsewhere!

                                        2. re: leetmom7
                                          thinmanentertainment Dec 16, 2009 12:21 AM

                                          I hope the owner stays at the one over here in San Pedro. I live down the street (2 minute walk) and he's what makes Pavich's Pavich's. I went there opening day and was one of their first customers. I try to support what they're doing as much as I can. Croatian Pizza. Who woulda thunk it? BTW - other places to go and have a lunch that are close by are Angel's Gate Park, The Korean Friendship Bell, and across the street from the bell is another park with a view of Catalina. It's actually where they do the "Taste of San Pedro" every year.

                                          1. re: thinmanentertainment
                                            Joe Blowe Dec 16, 2009 07:30 AM

                                            "Croatian Pizza. Who woulda thunk it?"

                                            Actually, given Croatia's history and proximity with Italy, it would've been more surprising if they didn't have some type of pizza!

                                        3. b
                                          buttermarblepopcorn Apr 27, 2010 04:08 PM

                                          I just came back from my first time at Pavich's. I went with a friend and we ordered a large (18") pizza, half Croatian (for me) and half American (for him). We ate just our respective halves without sharing, so I don't know what the American tasted like, though it looked and smelled like it was covered in mostly bbq pork.

                                          My Croatian half was incredibly bland and disappointing. The toppings were oddly flavorless, with the red bell peppers, red onions, mushrooms, and olives all adding nothing but a bit of texture. I barely tasted any of their inherent flavors, which was a weird experience. I also tend to like my pizza saucey, as I love the taste of tomato sauce, and this was probably part of the problem, as my half of the pizza barely had any sauce on it.

                                          You know how sometimes when you're eating something so tasty that it actually makes you even hungrier with every bite (tends to happen to me with slightly tangy, acid-y foods)? This pizza had the exact opposite effect on me: after a couple bites of my first slice, I actually lost my appetite. I don't mean I felt grossed out, but I felt as if I'd just eaten (without any of the physical fullness that comes with it) and had no desire to take another bite of the pizza.

                                          It was tasteless, dry, and a complete turnoff. I've never encountered a bad pizza in this manner before.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: buttermarblepopcorn
                                            a
                                            annapurna7 Apr 28, 2010 03:31 PM

                                            Never experienced a bland pizza from Pavich's, but the last time we had pizza there about 2 months ago, the cheese was definitely a lower quality cheese. Maybe the rise in business is affecting quality? I hope that's not the case.

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