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Better destination pizza spot: Bollini's or Zelo?

I haven't been to either and am willing to travel from Santa Monica for transcendent pizza.

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  1. Bollini: detour-worthy. Zelo: destination-worthy

    I like them both, but Zelo is among my favorites in LA (Mozza, Pace, Vito's, Joe's). Their corn pizza is simply outstanding, as is the andouille (when they have it). Bollini is very good but I don't think I could use the t-word ('transcendent') to describe it.

    As an ex-NYCer, I'm still hoping someone in LA manages to obtain a variance to operate a coal-fired oven. The closest is 100 miles away in Vista: http://www.urbnpizza.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Peripatetic

      Here's another vote for Zelo. I've been to both but I've only been back repeatedly to Zelo. Bollini was good but any of the better pizza places around, or even my own grilled pizza, can suffice when I get a hankering for thin crust Neapolitan style pizza. Plus, you're pretty close to Antica in Marina Del Rey.

      Nothing I can make or find elsewhere will vanquish a craving for Zelo's Toscano pizza.

      1. re: Peripatetic

        Peripatetic, I fixed your link (you left out the "Dot Com"):

        http://www.urbnpizza.com/

        1. re: Norm Man

          Oops, thanks -- cut-and-paste comedic theater.

      2. Both are good, but they are entirely different.

        Zelo is sort of like California infused Chicago deep-crust pizza.

        Bollini, on the other hand, is thin crust pizza, holding itself to be authentic Neapolitan. Whether than claim is true is really dependent on who you ask (but that's another story).

        If you are traveling all the way out from SM, I would have to agree with Peripatetic. There are few places, if any, in SoCal that offer the types of pie Zelo does. The pies that Bollini makes you can get at any number of places throughout greater LA -- e.g. Vito's, Brownstone, etc.

        10 Replies
        1. re: ipsedixit

          Ipse (tangentially) raises an interesting point: what's the provenance of cornmeal crust pizza? I've only ever seen it at Zelo. In fact, search for "cornmeal crust pizza" and Zelo is in the top ten hits (top twenty on Bing, if you're that way inclined). I'm surprised it's not everywhere . . . it's that good.

          1. re: Peripatetic

            To the best of my knowledge, Masa in Echo Park makes deep dish Chicago style pizza with a cornmeal crust.

            http://www.masaofechopark.com/

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            Masa of Echo Park
            1800 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026

            1. re: Servorg

              Zelo is not Chicago style deep dish pizza, despite its use of cornmeal crust. The most notable difference between a Zelo pie and something from Uno (for example) is that the cheese is not on the bottom of the pie, but in its more traditional location on top of the ingredients and sauce.

              A Zelo pizza is like the proud offspring of a California Pizza Kitchen and Pizzeria Uno marriage.

              And when Zelo gets its corn pizza right, it's a magical experience. Makes you want to move to Nebraska and buy up all the cornfields within eyesight.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                My reply to Peripatetic was really about the statement that cornmeal crust pizza in the greater LA area is only found at Zelo (and not whether or not Zelo does deep dish type "Chicago" pies). I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware that Masa does a cornmeal crust too (and they also do thinner crust pizza). Masa is a fine place in it's own right and deserves to have hounds discover it (and put it into their rotation, if they live, work or happen to be in that area of town).

                1. re: Servorg

                  No dispute there. Just to remember to call ahead and order if you plan on going to Masa for their deep-dish pizza.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    And while we are at it might as well add the place links for those who come to this thread "downstream" as it were.

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                    Zelo Pizzeria
                    328 E Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA 91006

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

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      They've sped it up a little, and it comes out in about 45 minutes. It's fine to go have some wine and a salad while you wait.

                2. re: Servorg

                  I don't recall if Masa's was a cornmeal crust, I do recall the sauce was a bit off... either too sweet or too sour. The salads were amazing and the desserts were terrific as well. Go for the regular pizza, less sauce.

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                  Masa Restaurant
                  2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                  1. re: darrelll

                    Those are the issues that one must endure when the sauce doesn't come out of some commercial kitchen in vats and shipped in from their central HQ location in Podunk Iowa.

                    I've gotten their deep dish pizza twice in the past year and both times I thought the sauce taste balance was fine. I dislike too much sour taste and prefer mine to err on the sweet side (if it's going to err).

                    If you ever have the chance to try their croissant bread pudding it's a wonderful dessert (if you at all like bread pudding).

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Okay, I'll give them another try. Liked everything else about the place.

            2. I would definitely rec Antica's in MDR...order it well done...the pies are killer Neapolitan style...tre authentic...I ordered the Calabrese (spicy salami) last week and it was awesome...Joe's and Vito's are usually excellent NY style pizza but on the expensive side and Mozza is in another world of overwhelming flavors.

              1. Plenty of (much) better pizza closer to you. Neither is really worth the drive unless you're already headed out that way.

                1. I know this is a stretch, but can anyone say how Zelo's pizza compares to the pies at Pi -- http://www.restaurantpi.com/about -- in St. Louis? I ate there a few months ago and fell in love with their deep dish, cornmeal crust pizza. I'm in West L.A., so St. Louis is a bit of trek, but Arcadia's doable if Zelo can hold its own with Pi.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Daniel Slosberg

                    Seems like a perfect excuse for a bit of "field work" for you, Daniel. And don't forget to report the findings of your "research" back here at the National Institute of Chow... ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Great idea! If I can convince some of my family to head out there this afternoon, you'll have my report on your desk tonight. By the way, Pi is somewhat famous for feeding the President: http://tinyurl.com/dk36a5. At least this is what my friend who took me there says. We'll have to see if Zelo's is President-worthy.