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Pizzeria Mozza

I thought I had come up with a clever idea. Have an early dinner at Mozza and then order 3 pizzas to go for Sunday football watching game day. I had planned on ordering one dish at a time so this wouldn’t be an in and out one hour meal. Our server convinced me to order everything, including take-out, at the same time, assuring me that he would slowly pace the meal. His idea of pacing and mine are very different. My husband described this meal as “And they are off – you have to make the finish line in 62 minutes.” If the food had been good, I might have handled it better. This has to rank as the one of the worst meals ever. At least 3 of the dishes will make the worst dishes of 2010 – quite an accomplishment.

Chicken livers, capers, parsley and guanciale bruschette – excellent – I ended up giving my half to my husband because I didn’t want to fill up. What a mistake as this was the best dish of the night.

Within five minutes, the next course was served – pacing not even close.

Fried Squash blossoms with ricotta – our server said this was a favorite antipasti at Mozza. Why? Tiny fried blossoms with a teaspoon of ricotta stuffed inside is not a wonderful stuffed squash blossom. We each ate one blossom.

To replace the arancine, I ordered the bone marrow al forno. I was looking forward to lovely roasted bone marrow like at Church and State and Comme Ca. No such luck.
Being from Boston, I love Ipswich clams so of course I ordered the Ipswich clam pizza. Someone in the kitchen is in love with red pepper because that is all you tasted. The clams were buried in “heat” and basically the pie was inedible – one bite only. Full charge.

Egg, bacon, Yukon gold potatoes and Bermuda onions – this was decent and at least edible.

We canceled our take-out order which made the maitre d’ or GM furious. We had planned on ordering dessert and coffee while the take-out was being made so we can’t be accused of leaving them with already made pizzas, unless they decided to make them ahead of time. We paid the bill and after 62 minutes, we were in the car driving home hungry, weary, and poorer. In retrospect, if we had ordered one dish at a time, we would have left after the arancine and gone to Craftbar, Bazzar or Spago. Anything would have better than this disaster.

Pics here:

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    1. That bone marrow looked disgusting. Thanks for the report and the photographs. I liked the comparisons, especially those of the bone marrow served elsewhere.

      1. Funny, I was at P. Mozza this weekend also.

        Meatballs al forno: delicious, flavorful, a nice hint of heat on the back end

        Mozza Caprese: roasted cherry tomatoes and some of the most delicious burrata I've ever had

        Ipswich clam pizza. decent, not my favorite. I felt this pie was garlicky and had a nice hint of spice but defintely not "buried in heat".

        Finnochiona with fresno chiles. Delicious. One of my favorites at Mozza. I'm not someone that craves heat or likes to eat super spicy foods, but I also like the fact that Mozza is not afraid to use spice and bold flavors.

        Budino- delicious genius

        Olive Oil gelato- I first had this at Otto in NYC and the version here is just as subtle and wonderful.

        I washed everything down with a bottle of wonderful pinot nero for under $50.

        Everything, including the bottle of wine was $130, which I felt was quite reasonable for the amount of food and the quality of food. The music was loud but I had no problems with conversation.

        We walked away completely happy and satisfied. Visit #7 or so.

        1. The question that came to my mind is "do you think that sitting down at 4:27 to 5:27 on a Saturday afternoon that the regular chef(s) where overseeing your food preparation (the A-Team not scheduled to begin their shift until later) ? "

          - Or, to put it another way - Did you suffer at the hands of the Sorcerer's Apprentice ?

          Your experience was so much different than Porthos'.

          2 Replies
          1. re: JBC

            JBC, maybe, but they were packed - we had to wait for them to set our table - not one table was empty and the bar was full as well. If you are that busy, maybe the A team should be there.

            1. re: lizziee

              I was also there this weekend. As always it was aamazing meal.
              Meatball were amazing/
              Mussels were in a great broth, cooked just right.
              Nancy's chopped salad as always was great.
              We orded 3 pizza and they were all great/
              It's mott a place you go for a 3 hour meal. We were done witgh our meal within 90 minutes.

          2. Lizziee--

            Your review and pics were extrodinarily fair. I no longer order the squash blossoms there as the ones at Westside tavern as SO much more superior.


            And the Arrancini at Terroni are just so amazing, no one comes close...


            That being said, I still ADORE Mozza, namely their Asparagus and Egg Pie and their Brussel Sprouts. It's one of my favorite pop in meals... just jump on a bar stool, order a good bear and be happy for the rest of the day (And the following because I always have left overs. :D)

            1. I don't understand why you'd sit there an order 1 thing at a time? If I was the waiter, I'd be antsy too. Especially if the place is packed. I must be missing something in your logic.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Ideefixed

                That is the way we order at every restaurant and not one has complained, ever - recently - Bouchon, Chinois, Drago, Craft, Bazaar - one dish at a time - other places we just have a tasting menu and let them choose.

                1. re: lizziee

                  haha. i'd like to see someone try that somewhere in monterey park. i think the waiters there might pistol whip you.

                  1. re: lizziee

                    PM is not that type of place, Its a pizza joint with a nice pie. OM is. PM makes money on volume of customers if you want a table for 2+ hours, you are not at the right restaurant. I'm sorry you had a bad experience, but you went in with unrealistic expectations.

                  2. re: Ideefixed

                    What is the problem with ordering one thing at a time? (putting in the order for the next item at delivery of the prior) An efficient restaurant should have no problem with this.

                    1. re: Funwithfood

                      probably one that has 30 people waiting in line and doesn't want someone to take over the table for 3 hours?

                      and Lakeshow is absolutely right. Not every restaurant needs to cater to their guests every whim. It's their responsibility to put out a good product and have efficient service and Mozza according to most of LA does a good job of that.

                      1. re: clayfu

                        My issue with Pizzeria Mozza was not pacing as much as it was lousy food. I said: "If the food had been good, I might have handled it better. This has to rank as the one of the worst meals ever. At least 3 of the dishes will make the worst dishes of 2010 – quite an accomplishment." If you look at the picture of the bone marrow, it was just a glob of fat. The arancine was absolutely horrible. The squash blossoms were pitiful. The clam pizza was inedible. The chicken liver was perfect and I said so. I am happy to eat good food in 62 minutes, if it is good. Pacing was not the main issue. I initially asked CH what to order at PM and took everyone's advice. They just didn't deliver.

                        1. re: clayfu

                          Just because you order one course back to back does not mean you will be there for 3 hours. In the same manner, a table could order their food at once and stay for a very, very long time. At least that was my experience when I was a food server.

                    2. Wow, that looks bad. I've only been once, but it was on a Saturday afternoon, and I had a good meal. The bone marrow didn't look nearly as bad as yours when I had it.

                      1. I dunno about everyone else, but that lump-of-fat bone marrow picture looks delicious to me!

                        1. Lizzie, you review is very fair. I cannot see how anyone looking at your pictures can argue with you. Even if someone else got a good meal at Mozza the same weekend you were there that is no explanation or excuse for the crap you were served. I think the answer may lie in the fact that the room was full so early. When you do that kind of business a lot of places with no respect for what they do will send out a dish even if it is crap and well below normal standards. Worse thing that can happen is that they lose one guest in the future and it won't make a dent on the bottom line, at least in the short term. Seens like the waiter had the same short term view. Better two tables with bad tips than one with a good tip.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: mdibiaso

                            Which dish was crap in your opinion?

                            The bone marrow before she scooped it out looked charred and well prepared. Bone marrow is fat. If you scooped out the bone marrow from Comme Ca and Church and State, you would get...fat.

                            The clam pizza was also not my favorite, but looking at the picture, you can't say it looked like crap. Same for the arancine. The arancine looks like it always looks. I really like the version at Mozza and don't need it larger or stuffed with meat.

                            The answer most likely isn't that the dishes were subpar but that certain diner expectations were not met.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              Arancine looks soggy not crisp on the outside as it should be. You can see in the picture that pieces of the coating are falling off. Possible due to sogginess or maybe being prepped in advance. Squash blossom. Another example of poor frying and uneven coating. Just plain sloppy. Both of there should have been stopped at the pass. Bone marrow. Bread is burnt. Should not have left the pass. Agree it's hard to see the poor quality of the marrow before it had been eaten but waiter should have seen it on the plate after it was dissected and apologized and removed it from the bill. Pizzas look sloppy and mushy, in particular the clam.. More like a loaf of bread with topping. But agree that this is what they probably are supposed to look like, so it more a question of a badly concieved pizza.
                              Does that answer your question. Again, I think it was exemplary of the OP to go to the bother to post pictures of how similar dishes properly made look at other restaurants.

                              1. re: mdibiaso

                                The arancine is topped with cheese and tomato sauce. A totally different prep from pictures of arancine elsewhere.

                                The burnt bread is intentionally charred and grilled as such. The bone marrow before she scooped it out is pictured. And once again, I should reiterate that bone marrow is fatty. It's like complaining about fat on pork belly.

                                How one can say that the clam pizza looked "sloppy and mushy" from the pictures is beyond me.

                                I doubt even the OP would agree with your assessments.

                                I'm glad we cleared things up.

                                1. re: Porthos

                                  The arancine is topped with cheese but the tomato sauce is underneath and therefore cannot explain why the coating if falling off in places. The prep I am referring to is not what it is served with. I am suggesting that the bread crumb coating was applied a long time before it was fried instead of waiting until it was actually order. Early application to save time and get food out faster (which seems to be a motto at this place) drastically lowers the stardard of the dish.

                                  About 65% of the bread is properly charred. The other 35% is burnt. Taking a bite from the burnt end would leave you with an ash aftertaste that would probably stay with you for the rest of the meal, especially considering how fast they expect you to eat. Seems to be caused by uneven heat on the grill from what I can see of the bottom slice which appears to be under grilled on about 50% of its area, but it is really tough to say since you cannot see the who piece. But of course the guest can always leave the part of the bread that is burnt, that's easier than asking the grill chef to drop another slice.

                                  I do think the clam pizza looks mushy with the filling falling into the crater in the middle. Would speculate that the dough underneath may not be fully cooked judging on the thick of the rest of the pie. In fact, calling this a pizza pie is very accurate description.

                                  I guess you concede on the squash blossoms since you did not have a reply.

                                  Would gladly hear OP posters comments on my appraisal.