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Better destination pizza spot: Bollini's or Zelo?

1newyorkguy Jun 12, 2010 02:42 PM

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

  1. Peripatetic Jun 12, 2010 04:26 PM

    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
      RoxyGrl Jun 12, 2010 04:48 PM

      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
        Norm Man Jun 14, 2010 01:38 PM

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


        1. re: Norm Man
          Peripatetic Jun 15, 2010 01:10 AM

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

      2. ipsedixit Jun 12, 2010 07:15 PM

        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
          Peripatetic Jun 12, 2010 10:25 PM

          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
            Servorg Jun 13, 2010 07:10 AM

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


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

            1. re: Servorg
              ipsedixit Jun 13, 2010 10:44 AM

              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
                Servorg Jun 13, 2010 11:01 AM

                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
                  ipsedixit Jun 13, 2010 11:04 AM

                  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
                    Servorg Jun 13, 2010 12:05 PM

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

                    Zelo Pizzeria
                    328 E Foothill Blvd, Arcadia, CA 91006

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

                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      wrongshore Jun 15, 2010 11:44 AM

                      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
                  darrelll Jun 15, 2010 04:20 PM

                  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.

                  Masa Restaurant
                  2063 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

                  1. re: darrelll
                    Servorg Jun 15, 2010 04:38 PM

                    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
                      darrelll Jun 15, 2010 11:32 PM

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

            2. l
              lapizzamaven Jun 13, 2010 09:35 AM

              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. w
                will47 Jun 13, 2010 11:46 AM

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

                1. d
                  Daniel Slosberg Jun 13, 2010 12:16 PM

                  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
                    Servorg Jun 13, 2010 12:18 PM

                    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
                      Daniel Slosberg Jun 13, 2010 12:34 PM

                      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.

                  2. 1newyorkguy Jun 14, 2010 10:39 PM

                    any thoughts on Bottega Louie?

                    Bottega Louie
                    700 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90017

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: 1newyorkguy
                      lapizzamaven Jun 15, 2010 09:51 AM

                      Hey there 1newyorkguy ...from the POV of this NYer id say dont bother w/ Bottega Louie...In spite of the impressive tile wood burning oven, reminiscent of Pepe's /New Haven i was rather disssssappointed with the pies ive had thre. I gave them to chances and they whiffed both times...Id suggest you stick with Mozza or Antica(order pies well done) or Joe's & Vito's for slices...

                    2. b
                      Bradbury Jun 15, 2010 03:01 PM

                      I'd vote for Zelo's, with two caveats:

                      1) If you have any special requests or allergies, you can't alter the toppings at Zelo's as the pizzas are made earlier in the day and finished to order

                      2) Once summer heats up, a small pizza parlor in Arcadia might not be an appealing destination for someone coming from SaMo ... so take advantage of the June Gloom while you can :-) (or try a destination pizza of another sort altogether: cruise down the 405 for a takeout-only Croatian pie from Pavich's, and drive a couple more minutes to Pt. Fermin Park to eat it overlooking the sea)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Bradbury
                        1newyorkguy Jun 15, 2010 04:53 PM

                        Croatian pizza?

                        1. re: 1newyorkguy
                          Peripatetic Jun 15, 2010 04:57 PM


                          1. re: 1newyorkguy
                            Mattapoisett in LA Jun 15, 2010 07:51 PM


                            They now have a place with seats.

                          2. re: Bradbury
                            Arthur Jun 15, 2010 09:45 PM

                            "...you can't alter the toppings at Zelo's as the pizzas are made earlier in the day and finished to order." You can't ask them to "hold" anything, but you definitely can add certain toppings. For example, I always add roasted garlic to the corn pizza.

                          3. d
                            darrelll Jun 15, 2010 04:22 PM

                            I LOVE Bollini's pizza. Haven't tried Zelo, but have heard good things about them. I'm willing to drive from Hollywood to Bollini's as a destination. Haven't been back since he's opened up his big dining room. His pastas are also amazing, especially his funghi pizza and pasta.

                            1. a
                              aventinus Jun 15, 2010 04:27 PM

                              Haven't been to Bollini but Zelo is my favorite pizza in the LA area, by far.

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