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Authentic Italian Pizza

My lucky younger sister got to travel for a few weeks in Italy last summer and fell in love with the pizza. Now she wants me to take her somewhere in LA where she can relive the experience. I've already made it clear that wherever I take her will obviously not be 100%, but I'd do my best to get "as close to authentic" I could possibly do.

Other then Antica in LB, is there anywhere else I could take her?

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  1. Where in Italy was she-- or more specifically, where was she when she fell in love with the pizza?

    4 Replies
    1. re: noahbites

      She was in Piacenza. Which restaurant in particular she doesn't recall, and she's never been very descriptive. The best I can get out of her is "very thin and fresh."

      1. re: ReelMike84

        Hearing "very thin", my first thoughts go to Spark. Know there's one in Studio City and I think also BevHills. Roman style, matzo-thin pizza.

        1. re: ReelMike84

          hearing 'very thin and fresh' i think of the neopolitan style that they make at antica pizzaria in marina del rey.
          they import their flour from italy and have a wood-burning oven.

          if you do search it out, be aware that it is on the second floor of a shopping center that is located is on the NORTHWEST corner of maxella and glencoe in marina del rey.

        2. re: noahbites

          Hands down, The Good Pizza in Westchester is the best place to eat pizza in L.A. The owners are from Napoli, where pizza was invented. These guys got their pizza mojo down.

        3. Pizzeria Ortica? Mario Batali and Nancy Silverton's Italianer-than-thou Pizzeria Mozza?

          I don't know anyplace that does pizza by the gram the way it's done in southern Italy except for Whole Foods and... well... let's just say that if they made pizza in Naples, La Cosa Nostra wouldn't want their pizzo*.

          * protection money

          1. I've had better pizza in Italian airports than in most places I've been to in Los Angeles. The closest to Italian (memories, at least) that I know around here is Bollini's. I'm not terribly fond of the tomato sauce, but they offer several more -- it's a build-your-own approach with numerous sauces, cheeses, vegetables, and meats to choose from -- and the toppings and thin crust are generally excellent. While waiting for your pizza, you can dream away the night watching the flames dance in their wood-fired oven.

            Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana
            2315 S Garfield Ave, Monterey Park, CA 91754

            9 Replies
            1. re: Mel Gee

              I'll second this recommendation as being closest to what would be defined as "authentic". It's as close to a true Neapolitan pizza you can get that I know of in Los Angeles. The crust is super thin, crispy yet chewy and fired in a real wood-burning oven.

              1. re: Mel Gee

                Agree with the Bollini recommendation; I've been addicted since I tried it. They also have excellent salads.

                There is also a place in the Marina that has authentic, certified Neopolitan style pizza -- I've been there a couple times -- the name is slipping my mind. It might be Antica.

                1. re: NAspy

                  I liked Bollini better than Antica... :D


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Dommy, what kind of pizza did you have at Antica? I'm interested in trying the place, but your comment gives me pause. Did you get a sense there might be something better than the one you ordered? Thanks.

                    1. re: Mel Gee

                      I've tried several... The Margarhita, the one with clams, one with sausage... the ingredients where meh and more often than not the pizzas over done or under done (And don't tell me about char... I LOVE char but this was serious bitter carbon)

                      At Bollini's it such a small joynt that they seem to have tigher control over the quality issues of the pizza that Antica just does not.

                      And in the neighborhood, I recently tried The Good Pizza in Westchester, which was a slightly different style, but an overall BETTER pizza.


                      Good Pizza
                      7929 Emerson Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90045

                      1. re: Dommy

                        Thanks. I hate to hear the clam pizza is no good, because I've been dreaming about Frank Pepe's in New Haven recently. Hmm, I wonder if Big Mista' could develop a pulled-clam pizza? ;-)

                        1. re: Mel Gee

                          LOL! If you want Clam pizza... the one at Mozza is the best I've had... :)


                2. re: Mel Gee

                  Not true! I've been to Italy too, and lots of the food is pretty uninspired, especially at airports. On balance, I've had better Italian food in American restaurants of high quality than in Italian establishments. I'll give an unqualified rave for Antica in Marina del Rey. It's authentic, but that's not the issue because authenticity is contentious and suspect. It's just perfect.... thin crust, classic toppings and altogether inspired. LA has loads of other great pizza too, but for no-nonsense classic Neapolitan, go Antica!

                  1. re: jono37

                    "Not true!"?

                    Were you the guy behind me in line at the vending machine in the Firenze airport? Now you have to understand -- I wasn't lying, above. I complained about that pizza, because the cellophane packaging specifically promised artichokes, and they were nowhere to be found. Also, yes, I'll agree that you can get better Italian food at some top places in the U. S. "than in [some] Italian establishments."

                    After Mattapoisett in LA's clarification of Dommy's earlier post, I intend to try Antica and will report back. I hope it's good, because I disagree with the notion that "LA has loads of other great pizza." We need mo' better pizza.

                3. I'll give a shout out to Anitca Pizza in Marina Del Ray. Really excellent pizza. Their pizza guy spent months in Italy learning to make pizza and has a class here now (it's pricey). but the pizza is excellent. highly recommended.


                  1. From the responses I'm gathering that it's basically a tossup between Bollini or Antica.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: ReelMike84

                      Angelini Osteria is closer to Italy.

                      1. re: sloanedone

                        Certainly not! Bollini's has to be at least 15 miles further east than Angelini Osteria.

                      2. re: ReelMike84

                        i think that when i hit my target weight, i need to to a tasting comparison between the two on the same evening.

                        i disagree that with Dommy's assessment that the GOOD PIZZA is better than ANTICA PIZZARIA. to me, the pizza at antica edges out that seved at the good pizza. don't get me wong,though, to me, they both serve extremely good pizza. also, antica, with their wood burning oven is a real restaurant so you are sitting inside at tables with tablecloths instead of eating at tables outdoors on the sidewalk of a strip mall.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          I will qualify Dommy!'s comments with the fact we went once. and at that time the Pizza was made in a wood oven that had not been cleaned well enough and wasn't hot enough. The Pizzas had a lot of ash on the bottom of it and the pizza dough wasn't cooked thoroughly and it was raw in patches, though there was ash char on the bottom of the crust.

                          At that point we said life is to short for pizza as bad as that and haven't been back, but maybe it is time to retry Antica.

                      3. Ok So, I was never a fan of pizza. Tell me what makes a pizza really outstanding and
                        ?authentic? - pizza is NOT an Italian invention. Personally, I think the tomato sauce ruins the whole thing. Should be a really garlicy alfredo sauce topped with ??? Or an olive oil/garlic/pesto thing. Would that not then be pizza as well?? And the crust. Shouldn't it be a chewy airy doughy palce with crunchy bubbly edges???

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kitchen Queen

                          Sorry to be a pain in the neck, but let's not judge food on "authenticity." What we consider authentic in any cuisine is always, when you really look hard at it, a blend of elements incorporating influences from multiple periods in time and regions. Let's judge food on quality of presentation, flavor, texture, complexity vs. simplicity, etc., but let's not get bogged down in unresolvable debates on authenticity. That's not the point.

                        2. Get the pizze margherita or pizze funghe at:

                          Cafe Angelino (by Cedars-Sinai), just east of the corner of 3rd & Robertson (on 3rd).

                          1. There are as many kinds of ``authentic'' Italian pizza as there are Italians. If f your sister's formative experience was in the north, bready Neapolitan pizza is unlikely to satisfy her cravings. But you might try Terroni, which seems to be favored by the actual Italian food people in L.A. Thin-crusted, inventive ingredients, very good.

                            1. Antica Pizzeria in Marina del Rey (Villa Marina Marketplace, 2nd Floor near Lincoln Blvd and Maxella Avenue) is famous for his authentic pizza. He is one of the only certified italian pizza restaurants in LA Antica Pizzeria serves only authentic Neapolitan pizza prepared according to the protocols of the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. www.anticapizzeria.net

                              1. Take your sister to The Good Pizza in Westchester, near LMU: 7929 Emerson Ave. corner with 80th St. These guys at The Good Pizza are THE REAL DEAL IN NEAPOLITAN PIZZA MAKING. Really. They got their pizza mojo down. The Chef is a naitve of Napoli (Naples) where pizza was invented and he makes AMAZING pizza pies with all sort of great combos that put the others to shame. My fav now is one of the specials of the day with spinash and fetta cheese.

                                The Good Pizza also has other dishes on the menu like pastas to die for; panini, which are awesome; and salads. You and your sister won't be disspointed, seriously. Plus, she can practice her Italian too! ;)

                                1. I just got back from Bollini's--my first time. I'm sorry, I just don't get what is supposed to be so great about this place. I am not a pizza dogmatist--don't eat it much, have never eaten it in NY or Italy, know a lot less about it than about, say, sushi. So my mind was open, if undereducated.

                                  I ordered an arugula salad and a 12" Nonna. My pizza came out first and I was half-way done before I got my salad. First, the pizza: Thin crust, but not soggy; nice char. That's all I can say that's positive about it. There was none of the "tug and chew" I've read about. There wasn't much flavor. The texture at the edges was like a dry cracker. No, more like a matzoh. There was no indication that the kitchen had used high-quality flour, nor that they'd let the gluten in the dough (much less any flavor) develop. It was so bland, both in taste and texture. The toppings were just okay. Nothing offensive, but not special. The sausage had a kind of rubbery-smooth texture, maybe overly processed. I ate the whole thing because I was starving and it wasn't worth wasting a box to take it home.

                                  As for my salad--it came out late because the one meant for me was delivered to the wrong table. No matter. I had to send the disgusting thing back: The arugula was bright yellow. As in very, very old. Some of it was wilted and disintegrating. The server (who, I might add, was a bit inept) came back and apologized, saying the kitchen had fresh arugula and would be happy to make the salad over. Well, if the kitchen friggin' HAD fresh arugula, WHY THE HELL didn't they use it in the first place???? No, I did not actually scream this. I politely declined the offer, saying I'd have enough to eat with just the pizza. My server persisted, asking if I'd like the salad to go. No, thank you (doggie bags are fine, but why would I deliberately take out an already (overly-) dressed salad?).

                                  I left unhungry but quite unsatisfied and disappointed. I was really hoping for more. I have absolutely no problem with the concept of Neapolitan pizza, and quite like a minimalist approach IF all the ingredients are of top quality or at least taste good. What am I missing here? Is the crust supposed to be just a bland vehicle for other ingredients? I thought it would be like authentic Italian pasta--a superbly flavorful starch base that is highlighted by a small quantity of carefully chosen toppings.

                                  Maybe I'm just not a pizza person.

                                  Oh, and in case you're wondering, the chef/owner WAS there tonight. And for those who like the place, it is now more like a proper restaurant, since the addition was completed--more tables and seating for larger groups.

                                  And the menu listed only one appetizer (stuffed mushrooms). And there were 2 off-the-menu specials, a big veal chop and a 20 oz rib-eye steak.

                                  14 Replies
                                  1. re: happycat

                                    Sorry to hear about your experience.... You are right about the crust, in that is very thin and almost crackery... but my experience with the dough was that it had lots of texture and taste. In fact, they have a guy in front really working the dough to make sure it came out nice and velvety... Ah well... :(

                                    Also that one app has always been the same... :)


                                    1. re: happycat

                                      Unfortunately, they no longer serve that delicious appetizer (stuffed mushrooms), despite my many requests. In fact, it was crossed off the menu I saw on my last visit about a week ago.

                                      I, too, am sorry you had a bad experience at Bollini's, happycat. I haven't yet ordered the Nonna, which is topped with sauce (what kind did you choose, by the way?), mozzarella, fontina, sweet fennel sausage, mushrooms, herbs, fresh basil, and parmesan -- you know, the stuff astronauts will crave about ten days into the first multi-year Mars mission -- but it brings together some of Bollini's primo ingredients, so I can't imagine how the totality came out bland after baking in a domed oven with hardwood burning mere inches adjacent. I've never suffered through bad crust -- yes, a bit dry at the edges but always tender in the middle and with a voluptuous texture, because the gluten has been well developed and properly rested. Perhaps the dough had rested too long in your case. I will agree with one complaint. The service is more friendly than professional.

                                      Did you have the same problems with Bollini's free samples of pesto pizza? Since you walked in the door "starving," that would really trouble me. Also, you describe yourself as not much of a pizza eater and perhaps "just not a pizza person." Do you enjoy any Los Angeles pizzerias?

                                      1. re: Mel Gee

                                        Thanks for your input, Mel Gee. To answer your questions: I had the tomato sauce, which is what came with the pizza; I'd ordered the Nonna because of all those delectable toppings you accurately describe,and the toppings themselves were all right but didn't seem extraordinary. The pesto pizza appetizer, which I forgot to mention, was divine, and set my expectations high....although I was more focused on the taste of the pesto, because it tasted so home made, I'll concede that the dough itself was WAY more flavorful and chewy than what I had on my Nonna. So, yes, it's possible I got dough from an over-rested or otherwise flawed batch. Given what happened with my salad, I wouldn't be surprised--I mean, how can I trust a kitchen that sends out a dish made with OBVIOUSLY old, poor-quality ingredients? What does that say about them? And they think I won't notice and will accept that? What kind of customers do they think they have? (okay, one of my pet rants is too-old baby salad mix. Coming of age with the ubiquitous mesclun salad, I've seen a lot of wilted leaves....)

                                        And, uh, I exaggerated about being "starving". I'd been on a two-hour hike that afternoon and was pretty hungry....but I rarely let myself get to the point I'm mindlessly ravenous (:

                                        I've been to Casa Bianca a couple of times--eggplant and sausage pizza (I thought their sausage was an order of magnitude better than Bollini's)--and I loved it. I also got a couple of coupons for free pizza at Mama's Brick Oven in South Pasadena, so of course I had to try that...free pizza, free delivery...had to admit it was pretty tasty...went to Little Parlor in South Pas a couple of nights ago, thought the pizza was okay but lacked pizazz; in fact, that dinner was what sent me to Bollini's, a mini-pizza quest which may not continue. Or maybe I need to look at a different style of pizza. Lots of chowhounds mention Petrillo's pizza, I wonder if I should try it?

                                        1. re: happycat

                                          I think Petrillo's they must like bc of nostalgia. To me it is Domino's... Skip it.

                                          1. re: happycat

                                            Sorry, epop, but I disagree. I think happycat should try Petrillo's, especially the flabby mushrooms, raw green peppers, and oddly spiced pepperoni. Someone like her will also notice that the manager, during his last annual visit, forgot to remind the kitchen staff to distribute the pizza toppings evenly. (When I worked as a pizza cook right out of high school, the tiny old lady -- I think she was almost 40 -- who owned the place would have put a high-heel in my rear-end if I'd assembled a pizza the way they do at Petrillo's. ;-)

                                            Try that place and then have another go at Bollini's. You're a careful eater, happycat, and I'm confident you'll find the right combinations for your taste.

                                            1. re: Mel Gee

                                              "the tiny old lady--I think she was almost 40"

                                              Oh, my, Mel Gee. Methinks we are of quite different generations, my dear. By your reckoning, I have one foot in the grave! (:

                                              Unless that was a typo, young whippersnapper?

                                              I will give Bollini's another try. Might skip Petrillo's, though! I grew up with that kind of pizza, don't feel nostalgic at all.

                                                1. re: epop

                                                  OMG. I can feel my arteries hardening just looking at that.

                                                  1. re: epop

                                                    that is exactly how i don't want my pizza to look.

                                                    i normally don't like it when my food looks like it's been made using a front loader

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        funny. this is why i wasn't kidding when i said it reminded me of domino's...

                                                      2. re: epop

                                                        Great work, epop -- I'll keep the reference to that picture for future discussions of Petrillo's, of which there will be approximately infinitely many, I'm sure!

                                                        1. re: Mel Gee

                                                          Tempers flair when it comes to all matters of taste, yes....

                                                      3. re: happycat

                                                        But you have to admit, I get around for an eighteen-year-old! ;-)

                                                        Actually, happycat, I was merely giving my perspective from that distant age. At what is frequently called this point in time, I am, uh, somewhat older and have by now tried a few million pizzas.

                                              1. I think I've settled on Antica which I'm gonna try later this week, but out of curiosity how's the pizza at Angelini Osteria?

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: ReelMike84

                                                  it's not the greatest, but the dough is awesome... not thin like what you're looking for but really good in its own way.. u don't even have to get pizza... just devour the bread they bring out at the start of ur meal - ADDICTING~

                                                2. We hit up Antica a couple of weeks ago and it was excellent. It is costly though, and bear in mind the toppings are quite sparse, even by Italian standards. As delicious as my pizza was, I would have loved just one more teeny basil leaf.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: BobtheBigPig

                                                    Bob, next time bring some in your pocket... I agree with you.

                                                    1. re: BobtheBigPig

                                                      next time just ask them for more.
                                                      they have always been very accommodating when i've been there.

                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                        I've asked for more cucumbers in the salad and they mock the request but I can imagine them parting with a sprig or two.

                                                        1. re: epop

                                                          1) i've never been mocked nor treated discourteously in any way at antica
                                                          2) if they ever were to mock me, i'd immediately stop going there and so would my standard friday-night party of 8.
                                                          yes, i enjoy their food, but i also enjoy the food of many other local restaurants and poor treatment would cause me to enjoy the food much less. . .

                                                          1. re: westsidegal

                                                            It has to do with some of the more clueless servers. I've had some of my oddest interactions ever there. The problem is that a couple of the guys either understand and mock or don't understand but keep pretending they do. It is very strange. I go to Koreatown and travel to where English isn't spoken; this is a different phenomenon though.