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is Vito's on La Cienega an Eat in or Take out Type of place?

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  • dtud Aug 24, 2009 07:31 PM
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i really want to take my so to this place for some pizza -- but wondered whether it was comfortable as an eat in type of place (like mozza, antica, etc.) or strictly take out.

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  1. they have about 5 small tables and a bar height counter that has a few stools.

    2 Replies
    1. re: rednyellow

      thanks!

      1. re: dtud

        Yeah, they have a couple of tables and the service is really nice... we've never felt out of place eating in...

        --Dommy!

    2. You mentioned Mozza and Antica as points of comparison as places to eat in. While you can eat in at Vitos, just keep in mind that the physical facility is not even close to Mozza or Antica. I happen to like eating at Vitos, but you shouldn't expect much in the way of atmosphere.

      1 Reply
      1. re: houndofmusic

        Also the pizza is nothing like Mozza or Antica, which do not do "NY street slice" pizza.

      2. Vito's is ridiculously overhyped on this board. I love, love, love thin-crust NY style pizza, and Vito's is certainly good, but it's not all that special either.

        18 Replies
        1. re: QualityMart

          I have to respectfully disagree with it being over hyped, as I think Vito's offers up some damn good pizza.
          I have done a far share of research to find good pizza in L.A. and Vito's is one of the top ones.
          I am curious as to what you think is good pizza here, as I am always searching! : )

          1. re: LaLa Eat

            I recall QualityMart posting a couple of years ago that Rocco's on Wilshire near Fairfax as being one of the best in LA in his/her opinion and I think they liked Pizzeria Mozza as well.

            1. re: Servorg

              Wow, good memory! To be honest I don't eat a ton of pizza these days, so maybe I'm not the best judge. I used to like Rocco's, and still do in theory, but I got a pie there a few months ago and was somewhat disappointed with that as well. Maybe it was an off day. Call it blasphemy on this board but I think a fresh pie from Abbot Kinney is one of the better ones around. (Not so much the prepared slices though, those always disappoint.)

              My problem with Vito's is I that I don't think they can pull it off that thin. The thin dough just kind of flops around and gets something close to soggy. Not actually soggy but doesn't hold its form either, which good thin crust will if hit with just the right temperature to start to get a crisp on the outside. I'd rather they just went a little thicker, like A.K. thickness.

              As for NY pizza, I've been to Joe's on Bleecker & Carmine and it was ok, much prefer Bleecker St.. Joe's in Santa Monica seems a decent facsimile of NY and I probably like it better than Vito's. Mulberry is also ok but they've got the same floppiness/sogginess thing going although occasionally I've gotten one with some crispness.

              My favorite pizza on the planet is Arinell's in San Francisco, they get the thin crust so freaking perfect its beautiful. I'm sure I could stand to try dozens more places in NY though, I've barely touched the surface there.

              I wish I could eat pizza more often to really do a proper comparison, but I'm also not interested in gaining 10 pounds. :) So it's one every 3 months or so to go by ...

              1. re: QualityMart

                Is there a polite way to say that you don't know what you are talking about if you are using the word soggy to describe VITOS pizza? You can ask them to crisp it up more. On the contrary, the pizza has a perfect chew to it. It is interesting/frustrating on this board that two people can eat the exact same things and use polar opposite ways to describe it. And when you say, "...I don't think they can pull it off that thin," does that mean you've eaten it before or not?

                1. re: orythedog

                  Um ... I'm not sure what about what I said (including my top post) implied in any way that I hadn't tried it. I've had it about five times. And I said it was good, but just ridiculously overhyped. I'd be very interested to hear what someone new has to say about it, like the original poster, and not the same people who always hype it up in every thread.

                  I will say that I've only eaten *there* once, the rest have been take out (not delivery), but I live extremely close to it and have always arrived there before it was ready, so we're talking minimal wait time after it left the oven, 5-10 minutes tops. Maybe their crust has a super fast half-life and is best eaten there right out of the oven with zero delay. (I don't recall my time eating there to be super different though.)

                  And I didn't say it was soggy (although yes I used the word), I just meant that it has no body and no crispness and I'm just not that wowed by the experience of biting into it. Not that it's going to be very convincing on this board, but if I search the yelp reviews for "soggy" I see several reviews with the exact same complaints (and no, none of them are from me, I don't submit to yelp). But the point is I'm not the only person who sees it that way. One yelp review makes the point that pies are always soggier than slices for pizza in general, and other than the one time I ate there i always have gotten full pies.

                  1. re: QualityMart

                    We lived 10 minutes away from Vito's, and we always had to heat it up, but once we did the crust was outstanding. As has been said often, it's a chewy-style street pie, not a tortilla-thin coal oven pie like John's/Lombardi's/Grimaldi's/etc. That said, Vito's is a better street pie than any I recall having in the ten years I lived in NYC, and incomparably better than anything with the name "Ray" in it. (Disclaimer: I left NYC over a decade ago; good street pies may now be easier to find.)

                    1. re: Peripatetic

                      I gotta say that while Vito's would do fine in New York, I have my little locations for street pies there that do beat Vito's. But I'm confused by the need to have it be crispy. This isn't a cracker we're talking about. New York street pie crust isn't crispy. At all.

                      I'll give you, though, that slices reheated in the oven are less floppy (not soggy) than slices cut off a whole pie.

                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                        I did say thin, not crispy; there's still some chew to the coal oven pizzas.

                        You're describe concisely my experience with reheating Vito pizza, though.

                        1. re: Peripatetic

                          I don't know of any coal oven street slice places, but I agree with you. Coal oven pizza is sort of a different animal (delicious, delicious animal) but when I think street slice I'm thinking of a place like Mariella on 8th Ave -- which is a dead-ringer for Vito's pie.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            Patsy's East Harlem does coal-oven street slices, but that's the only one I can think of off the top of my head.

                        2. re: Das Ubergeek

                          I agree that Vito's would do fine as a slice joint in NYC. But the best NY street slices are crisp without cracking and err on the side of too crispy -- e.g., Bleecker Street, Pizza Box, Joe's, Pizza '33, etc. That's why coal and wood ovens are so desirable -- they crisp the crust without drying it out.

                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                            Das! I'm shocked. A good slice absolutely should be crispy.... I can't stand those slices (even in NYC) that are a soft messy dough-bomb with little to no crispiness (think Sbarros or all of the fake Ray's).

                            A good slice has a very thin crispy layer on the bottom that audibly cracks when the slice is folded in half.

                            Immediately above that thin crispy layer is the more substantive part of the crust that is kept soft and chewy by the moisture of the sauce and the cheese. That's the beauty of a great slice.... bite into one and you get the contrast of textures and flavors. Crispy, soft, chewy, salty, slightly sweet. slightly charred. A thing of beauty.

                            As for Vito's, their slices come back to life very nicely in a 550 degree oven with a pizza stone (as would any good pizza). Twice baked pizza is the secret to crispiness. *Very few* freshly made pies come out of the oven with a crisp bottom layer... they have to be baked again to get it.

                            I spent 4.5 years in St. Louis. What they call pizza there truly is a travesty... "provel" cheese (essentially an "Italian" flavored white Velveeta) on top of a cloyingly sweet sauce, on top of a saltine-like crust. Your reference to a to crispy crust reminded me of this.

                            Oy gevalt.

                            Mr Taster

                            1. re: Mr Taster

                              I guess I wouldn't call that crispy, but I do know what you're talking about. When I hear crispy crust I think exactly of that abomination you mentioned called St.-Louis-style "pizza".

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                Eeeexcellent description of the perfect slice Mr Taster. :) Describes the aforementioned Arinell's in SF to a t.

                          2. re: QualityMart

                            OK. I overreacted. Bad day yesterday. I promise to play nice next time.

                    2. re: LaLa Eat

                      so agree. Native NY'er here, and Vito's is, hands down, the best pizza in LA. It's also perfect for a casual bite to eat. You can eat at tables inside, or there's a couple outside (all right, the view's a parking lot but you can't have everything).

                      1. re: JPomer

                        Well, not hands down, but it's pretty decent. I'd call it a good street slice even by NYC standards. These days, I've been having even better pizza at La Bottega Marino in WLA.

                    3. re: QualityMart

                      Vito’s has a true pizza crust which has the Holy Trinity of texture that a perfect pizza crust must have – crunch on the bottom and edge when ordered blackened, followed by a nice tug & chew. Good talk about Vito’s is not “Hype” (to be swindled or tricked). When I think of “overhyped,” I think of Zelo’s with that pre-made crust and Bollini with that pre-made tortilla they call a crust. For “overhyped and cracker crust,” I think of Casa Bianca.

                    4. I'm usually at Vito's about once a week and I love eating outside on the little tables. It's not Mozza (which I think is cramped, expensive and way too loud -- but awesome pizzas) but it's pleasant and more lunch than dinner. I lived in NYC for 10 years and I think Vito's matches up to any great pizzeria there.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: pizzafreak

                        I think it's true that ExtraCheesePlease overstated Vito's virtues. However, Vito's does make a really solid, tasty slice. However, back in NY and NJ his pizza would be tasty but not a destination place, and it would be easy for his pizza to blend into anonymity because there are a lot of places that serve good, solid slices there. Here in LA however, he's a big fish only because the pond is so small. And I really say that not to diminish Vito's, which I like, but rather to diminish the NY pizza scene in LA.

                        Mr Taster

                        1. re: Mr Taster

                          Well said. Right you are!!!!

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            To each its own Mr. Taster but I disagree with you.

                            1. re: ExtraCheesePlease

                              Vito's is a very different animal than the best slices that NYC has to offer. Vito's makes good, solid slices. Di Fara in Brooklyn makes unbelievable ones. He chars the crust in a way that Vito's does not, giving the pie a smoky, earthy flavor. The cheese bubbles and crisps up into an intensely golden brown hue in a way that Vito's, and quite frankly most NYC pizzerias, do not. And note that Di Fara is not a fancy pants Mozza type or Napolitano certified place. It's a grungy little family run neighborhood pizzeria that's been open for decades, and they just happen to make really good pies (though it's become a but of a phenomenon these past few years).

                              http://www.roadfood.com/photos/8858.jpg
                              That ain't no Vito's pie.

                              Mr Taster

                        2. they have this nice touch of serving the whole pie at the table by placing it atop several cans of whole tomatoes, instead of some specially made tableware.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: peterboy

                            Yeah, but Buca di Beppo does that too...

                            Mr Taster

                          2. the pesto slices at vito's are f'in great..sometimes they call for you to season them with garlic powder, though..and always chili flakes.

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: 1newyorkguy

                              My biggest disappointment with Vito's is that they don't have granulated garlic as is the norm in NYC but garlic powder. From NYC lived there for 20 years and not once in my life have I ever seen garlic powder at a pizzeria.

                              1. re: js76wisco

                                I agree, I really miss fresh crushed garlic. Next time I'm there I'll have to ask them whether they've ever considered it.

                                1. re: Peripatetic

                                  I've never seen fresh-crushed garlic as a condiment in NY, but always granulated garlic. I don't use it myself -- but I have to say how happy I am that they have oregano to shake on the pie, because THAT is what makes it for me.

                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                    You're right, I believe it's very finely diced, not crushed. And yes, having oregano available on the table is a huge plus.

                                    1. re: Peripatetic

                                      Mr Taster's post (below) uncovers a key point of confusion. I'm referring to fresh garlic as a topping, not as a tableside condiment. Re-reading js76wisco's post, I'm not sure what he was referring to.

                                      1. re: Peripatetic

                                        Maybe js76wisco is not referring to fresh garlic, but rather to the garlic powder equivalent of powdered sugar vs. granulated sugar... I can't remember whether Vito's uses a more "powdery" dehydrated garlic or not, but it wasn't enough to make my stop and take notice.

                                        I grew up eating pizza in the shadow of NYC for 18 years and I certainly would never make the statement that I had unequivocally never seen powdery garlic. I'm sure I have.

                                        Mr Taster

                                  2. re: Peripatetic

                                    I always have them add fresh garlic squish to my 'white pie' slices at Vito's. I haven't been to NYC in 22 yrs, not gonna travel there for a slice but WILL drive about 60 miles one-way for Vito's slices and according to one of my lads known as 'Bread Boy' the best Bread Sticks ANYWHERE! They are made fresh after they are ordered, drizzled with olive oil, fresh garlic and a little parm. cheese for $6.95/order. So good!
                                    It would be nice if "Link to a place" worked CHOW people!

                                  3. re: js76wisco

                                    js76wisco...

                                    What are you talking about?! How can you have lived in NYC for 20 years and never seen garlic powder in a pizzeria? What parallel universe bizarroland NYC did you live in?

                                    Typical NYC pizzerias *always* have some (or all) of the following available:

                                    1. Hot pepper flakes
                                    2. Oregano
                                    3. Garlic powder
                                    4. Parmesan cheese (the green can kind)

                                    Vito's has these holy 4.

                                    Never have I seen crushed or diced fresh garlic as a condiment at a NYC or NJ pizzeria. You could ask for it as a special topping I would guess, but it's not available on the table next to the pepper flake shakers, et al.

                                    Mr Taster

                                2. Vito's is delicious for NY pizza in LA, and it's a friendly small spot, not like a regular restaurant, but a cafe. The staff and Vito are great, and the "meat" and white pizzas are wonderful, just ask for them to crisp them a bit extra. Bon appetit!