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800° Degrees Pizza is now officially open for business - YAY!

800° Degrees Pizza has officially opened its doors for regular service to the public, as announced around noon today on its Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/800DegreesPizza

Last week, I posted a lengthy rave review here (that some of you may have seen) of a free preview dinner at 800° Degrees that I lucked into. Unfortunately, my post was removed a few hours later due to a site-wide prohibition against reviews of preview meals because, as I was notified by the moderators:

"1) we strive to represent the experience of the average customer, and such meals often represent the restaurant's best efforts to impress, which may not translate to the same experience for average customers during regular service;

"2) it's not fair to the restaurant to review a meal when the restaurant is still working out the kinks and is not expecting to be publicly reviewed for those efforts."

Fair enough. So as soon as I was notified of today's official opening, I rushed back to 800° Degrees to see how it fared and compared under circumstances that fully met Chowhound review guidelines. I am delighted to report that THE MEAL I HAD TODAY WAS EXACTLY THE SAME, NO DIFFERENT, AND JUST AS GREAT as the one I had last week, with only the following trivial differences:

1. I had to pay for my meal today;

2. Because it's still a holiday and buzz for the restaurant was basically limited to its currently small base of Facebook fans, plus the fact that I went at an off-hour (4:30 PM), there were somewhat fewer diners there than last week;

3. I did not order a salad this time; and

4. I remembered to take a couple of iPhone pictures of my pizza, which was the Margherita pie topped with peppadews, caramelized onions, and huge chunks of roasted garlic (see below).

Otherwise, every single detail of my earlier review applies, As such, there is no need to rewrite my virtually identical experience, so I am just going to cut-and-paste below what I posted last week. Except for the practically irrelevant exceptions noted above, everything reprinted below applies to the meal I had today during regular business hours.

If you're able and up for it, I strongly recommend that you run over to 800° Degrees tonight. They'll be open until 2 AM, and you will likely want to give them a try before the buzz machine kicks in, after which I expect the line to regularly go way around the block. Anyway, here's my review:

800° Pizza - An early rave

I don't know what I did to deserve it, but incredibly good fortune rained all over me tonight. I was taking a stroll through Westwood Village, planning to eventually grab a bite to eat, probably at the seriously in-decline Lamonica's. As I came upon the storefront for the much-anticipated neapolitan pizzeria 800°, from the local Umami Restaurant Group, I noticed a good number of very casually dressed people milling about inside. I wasn't sure what to make of this since the sign in the window clearly stated that the restaurant would not be open until the first week of January. Were they ahead of schedule? Was this a by-invitation-only cold opening? I noticed a very cheerful member of the staff standing outside clutching some paper menus, so I asked, "Are you open already?" She handed me a menu and responded, "Come on in. We're serving free dinners tonight."

You read that correctly. No, not a private cold opening. This was an event completely open to the general public at large (a few of whom, judging by their appearances, seemed down on their luck). And the restaurant wasn't just giving out bite-sized samples to passers-by, either. Like everyone else inside, I got to sample an entire meal (any full pizza pie [custom made-to-order], any salad, and a soft drink) completely gratis simply because I happened to be walking past the storefront at just the right moment.

And what a meal it was. I'm not prone to hyperbole, so please believe me when I say that 800° may at long last may be the pizzeria that revolutionizes the way LA (and beyond) consumers think of pizza. You see, 800° is exquisite, gourmet pizza at fast-food chain prices. And it's damn near perfect.

Let's begin with the menu, which can be found here: http://la.eater.com/uploads/800˚_Menu...

Take a look at those prices. Just $5 or $6 dollars for a traditional basic pizza, which at 800° is about 14 inches in diameter. That's less than what two plain slices cost at most pizza joints nowadays. That's cheaper than a smaller-sized pie at Domino's, Pizza Hut, Papa John's, et al, even when they're running a huge special. Now look at how much the toppings cost. The overwhelming majority are just an additional dollar, and they are all fresh, top-shelf, and beautifully displayed. Not to mention the salads for $4 and burrata for $5.

I promise you that the comparisons to dreadful commercial pizza chains end there. But the low prices remain significant, especially when you consider that you can get an 800° pizza absolutely overloaded with superior-quality toppings for about half of what a plain cheese pie costs at Vito's, Joe's, or Mulberry's. What you get for those low 800° prices is one of the only pizzas I've had in LA that compares favorably to the best pies from coal-burning ovens I used to eat in New York City (e.g., places like John's or Garibaldi's). 800°'s superb thin crust has that perfect char that can only be created by someone who knows and cares about what truly great pizza should be. Others locals have attempted this (e.g., Pitfire, Pizzeria Mozza), at times quite successfully, but certainly never at this price point. And certainly not with this kind of whiz-bang service, which I will get to in a moment.

I'm kicking myself that I didn't take any pictures of my food. However, Eater.com recently ran a preview picture of one of 800°'s pies, which can be seen here:
http://la.eater.com/archives/2011/12/...
In all seriousness, I think the pizza I was served tonight (and those at the tables around mine) looked even better than the one pictured - definitely thinner and much less puffy.

Perhaps the biggest and most novel "gimmick" at 800° is the ordering process. You stand in line, then place an order directly with the pizza chefs, who will compose your pie to your exact specifications right in front of you. The pizza is then placed in a reportedly 800° oven while you move down the line to order additional items (e.g., appetizers, salad, burrata, dessert gelato) and pay. Perhaps 800°'s biggest marketing ploy has been its promise that your pizza will bake in just a minute. Impossible? I've had all too many microwave pizzas that took significantly longer than that. I swear, though, by the time I got to the cashier (maybe 90 seconds after I ordered my pie followed by a made-to-order salad) my perfect, sizzling, fully baked pizza was already sitting on the counter, waiting for me to carry it to my table.

As I hauled my maxed-out tray to my seat, I realized that this is everything that fast food should be. Then I burst out laughing. I suddenly realized that this was the restaurant Cosmo Kramer and his hygiene-challenged business partner, Poppy, had envisioned on Seinfeld. No cucumber toppings for these pizzas, though. Not yet, anyway.

Did I forget to mention the Ferrari-designed self-serve soda dispenser? Absolutely state-of-the-art and totally cool.

I cannot imagine how 800° is going to handle the crowds. Once word gets out, I fully expect the lines will be insanely, intolerably long. Even with the limited number of patrons tonight, I still had to wait in line about ten minutes before I was able to place my order. Furthermore, as you can see from the Eater photos linked above, the dining area is not especially huge, probably about the size of My Father's Office on Montana, with about 20 mostly small tables in total. Take-out and delivery will be available, but this is definitely a pizza that ought to be eaten as soon as possible right out of the oven. It's obvious the owners are going to need to expand quickly to multiple locations while maintaining the high standards they quite visibly have put in place. Otherwise, the experience during peak hours at this one location may quickly devolve into a nightmare.

None of those concerns detract in the slightest from the swooning pizza high I'm still feeling tonight. In one fell swoop, the insanely affordable 800° has instantly become my favorite pizzeria in Los Angeles. See it for yourselves next week. What an auspicious beginning to the new year!

-----
800 Degrees Pizza
10889 Lindbrook Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90024

 
 
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  1. I just got back from my first visit to 800 Degrees. I was very impressed and pleased. These are definitely Neapolitan-style pizzas, with a very pronounced char on the bottom, puffy crust on the edges, and a bit floppy in the middle. They are 12-inch diameter, and my margherita with pepperoni filled me up for dinner, even though I left about half of the crusts. A bargain at $7 plus tax and tip. I was impressed by how enthusiastic and happy the staff was, which is understandable for a newly opened venture. The soft drink/water/ice dispenser was truly state of the art, with a touchscreen to choose your beverage. Gelato is made by L.A. Creamery.

    800 Degrees is on Lindbrook a door east of Westwood Blvd., in the former Daphne's, which was the former Togo's. Very nicely remodeled.

    12 Replies
    1. re: nosh

      Is that the same touch screen soda dispenser that I saw at All About the Bread on Melrose and LaBrea.

      Also, Arthur, was your meal free? or Did you have to pay for it, I couldn't tell from your post? It sounds like they are trying to one-up the chain, Pitfire Pizza, which has a bunch of chainlets across town and dispenses out pretty decent thin-crust pizzas.

      1. re: kevin

        The restaurant opened this afternoon to the general public. As I said very explicitly in the sixth paragraph, I was just a normal customer who paid in full for my meal today. I have no ties or special relationship with anyone associated with the restaurant, and no reason to expect I will ever be comped there again.

        1. re: Arthur

          Sorry, where you comped when they had their soft opening along with other general public customers?

          Thanks. My bad if I missed that.

          1. re: kevin

            Again, the answer to your question is right there in my post.

            1. re: Arthur

              Cool, got it now. the all caps had me in a dizzying spin. so the meal last week was free that you happened to pass by and there's no longer that preview opening. got it.

              the reason i was asking was i was goining to rush down there for a gratis meal if it was within an hoiur of your posting. and i didn't have the time to read through the whole post if i was going to rush down there, your post was pretty darn lenghty.

              anyhow, my aplogies.

              i guess i'll save my trip there for later, since it's no longer the soft, free, preview dinner, etc.

              1. re: kevin

                Even though it's no longer gratis, IMO it's the best meal deal in town, and you may still want to rush over there tonight. When I was there earlier today, there was no line to speak of. Once word spreads about this place, I doubt the same can be expected.

      2. re: nosh

        nosh, maybe I've just been lucky, but I'm quite certain that both pizzas i've had at 800° Degrees were larger than 12 inches in diameter. Seemed much closer to 14. Just take a look at the first picture I attached to my review. The pizza is bigger than the plate it was served on, and the plate is almost the width of the whole tray.

        1. re: Arthur

          I asked if they were 12-inch pizzas, and was told yes.

          1. re: nosh

            I just pulled out a 12-inch plate from my cupboard. It looks to be the size of the pizza plates they use at 800° Degrees, so you may be right. Still enormous for a personal pizza, though, especially for the price!

            1. re: Arthur

              I didn't think it was enormous though, I could've eaten two of them easily. (granted two of the margheritas, now if there was pepperoni on there, maybe it would be much heavier).

              it's like the chipotle of artisanal pizza joints. in a nutshell. And roughly the same price with a soda. i wonder if the students will flock to it.

              1. re: Arthur

                UPDATE: I take it back again. I was at 800° Degrees again last night, and the pizza was at least 14 inches in diameter (as was the plate, which was unquestionably bigger than what I measured at home).

          2. re: nosh

            I got the vege pizza - good variety of mushroom slices and sizes, artichoke hearts, and broccolini tips. It is a bit floppy in the middle, which makes it a bit harder to eat on the run unless you roll your slices or use a knife/fork. Maybe next time I will eat in, as it is a nice remodel. Definitely a great value, and the speed is impressive.

          3. Hmmm. I just went there for the open. The Caesar salad was great, the diet cherry fountain coke was fantastic, the pricing is wonderful, but I didn't love the pizza. I got the margarita with pepperoni. I thought it was fine, but not on the same level as a Bollinis or a Stella Rossa . No magic. Disappointed to report.

            8 Replies
            1. re: echoparkdirt

              i actually really liked the pizza better than stella rossa, much better. Stella Rossa flavor is just not there for me, this pizza did have real flavor. it reminded me a little bit of il dolce in costa mesa but much better along with mother dough pizza in silverlake which i really like.

              but the price is way right. And yeah, that's the same soda dispenser fountain that is at All About the Bread.

              1. re: echoparkdirt

                for a $5 pizza, i think it is unreasonable to expect "magic."

                stella rossa pizza, SHOULD be better, it cost THREE times as much.

                can you name any other $5 pizza that uses fresh cheese instead of that horrible commercial low-moisture, part skim rubbery goop?
                can you name any other $5 pizza that uses organic flour and has a crust that doesn't resemble something made with frozen white bread dough?
                can you name any other pizza that offers good quality add-ons(i.e arugula, kalamata olives, and anchovies) for only a $1 up charge?

                not to mention, that UNLIKE stella rossa, they are open for lunch, not just the hours that booze sales are there to bolster the bottom line.

                of course the product is not the equal to those in the top tier--
                however, i believe it is a fundamentally unfair comparison.

                1. re: westsidegal

                  Hey Westside Gal, how often have you been back to Stella Rosa? last time i was there i had a rather gummy, unsatisfying pizza...the sausage was great but the crust disappointed. I'll be trying 800 degrees sat...very interested.

                  1. re: lapizzamaven

                    i was there about two weeks ago.
                    pizza was fine.
                    now you've made me scared that things may have gone downhill.
                    the crust was one of the best aspects of stella rossa.
                    if that isn't the same, the whole pizza fails.

                    1. re: westsidegal

                      Sorry to deliver this distressing news about the crust. I agree completely that w/o great crust SR slips into pretty good class...their sausage though, was still excellent, along with Mozza my favorite sauseeege in LA...but the crust was gummy, little hole structure...definitely not what ive had before but...it was only once...it was also the only time id been there when it was really crowded....hopefully it was just an aberration.

                      1. re: lapizzamaven

                        I think it was aberration. Was there last week and the crust was great as usual.

                        1. re: lapizzamaven

                          i'm gonna need antidepressants if lousy crust turns out to be their new normal. . . .

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            Just tried 800 today for the first time. The toppings are quite incredible. The line was out the door when I got there at 1:30. It moved pretty fast and I was ordering in 10 minutes. Pizza came out hot and I immediately took them to the table. Ordered a sausage and onion and a pepperoni with scamorza. The peppers and onion on the sausage pizza were delicious. The sausage was too, however, i would have preferred them to be in smaller pieces.

                            The pepperoni was also amazing. Some of the best pepperoni i have tasted. Now onto the crust. The crust was good not amazing. Stella Rossa, Mozza and Milo and Olive have them beat. That being said, from a value standpoint the crust is better relative the difference in price - if that makes sense.

                            If I didn't have to cross the 405 this would easily be my number one choice given the price disparity.

                2. Just tried 800 Degrees ... here are some random thoughts:

                  1) Went with my wife today (a Tuesday) for lunch. Arrived on the early side, before 12. By the time we left, it was getting crowded (it was pretty empty when we arrived)(.

                  2) They are open 11am to 2 am -- so if you like late night dining, here is an option.

                  3) It's a very comfortable room. A large room, too.

                  4) The process is pretty simple. Tell the first guy (it was all guys working there today) what kind of "classic" pizza you want, then tell the next guy what toppings you want and that's it. They have some salads, sides and burrata, but we only had pizza.

                  5) One of the appeals for my wife and I is that one of the three classic pizzas is cheeseless. Neither of us really likes cheese and we rarely eat it, so a cheeseless pizza (and the ancillary luxury of not having to say "no cheese") was nice.

                  6) She had the pizza marinara with sopra ... sopra ... sopra-something. A spicy Italian salame. I had the same, but with ham as well. All the classic pizzas are $5, the extra toppings are a buck each. It is reminiscent of Subway, but with higher quality ingredients. If it matters, the toppings are sort of sprinkled on -- the pizza isn't "thick" with ham or salame, it's just a taste. And I mean that as a good thing.

                  7) I really enjoyed my lunch. I'm not pizza expert enough to make any comparisons and when we do order the occasional pizza we go without the cheese, so it's sort of besides the point to compare. I will say that the first word that came to mind was "fresh" -- the sauce, the sprinkled garlic, the oregano -- all very fresh and that's really what I look for in simple tomato sauce-based dish.

                  8) It's not out on a limb to guess that this is going to be really popular and eventually a chain.

                  9) It's true, the pizza only takes a minute or so to cook.

                  10) There is a vaguely Mendocino Farms quality to the place: The way you order then work your way down the line to the cashier. The fresh take on what some do in an ordinary way (pizza, sandwiches).

                  11) Finally: For us it was a lot of food. Neither of us finished our pizzas (I might've, but since she had a too go box I threw my last slice in). The pizza is easily as big as a phonograph record, maybe even bigger. No doubt it's possible to eat the whole thing, I could have eaten one more slice. My point is more that it's a very good value. With a soft drink (they have beer, but I wasn't up for one) my lunch was under 10 dollars and I was quite satisfied. We were already planning a pizza/salad split for our next visit. (Just to finish the thought: I might add more toppings next time, though it was filling, I might have enjoyed one more topping on it.)

                  P.S. -- The manager/cashier thanked us for coming in on their first day. I was surprised as I read some posts here already, but I didn't say anything. But, really, they are just getting started. It was clear that some of the "chefs" were still training some fo the others, but that didn't matter at all; you could just tell they were still working out some invisible bugs in the line.

                  All in all, a very good experience and I will return.

                  1. Sorry. Maybe I'm an incurable foodie, but I don't agree. I went there today. The crust is too soft and not very good. They're not using a yeast starter that adds much flavor. You should want to eat the outside rim after eating the middle, but I left it over. The toppings were also undercooked in my opinion. This might be a good deal if you just get the basic $5 pizza, but IMHO it's not even close to competing with some of LA's top pies -- Mozza, Milo and Olive (Wilshire, just east of 26th), Il Fico (Robertson, just below 3rd), Sotto (Pico east of Century City) -- and I haven't even been to Casa Bianca (Eagle Rock) or Stella Rossa (Ocean Park) yet.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: europhile40

                      Just a tiny note, Casa Bianca is way way way different, apples and oranges, than the rest of the joints you mentioned. Which are all mostly the new crop of Italian-Neapolitan style thin-crust joints.

                      1. re: kevin

                        Il Fico makes a Puglia style pizza, not Neapolitan, and the crust is perfect IMHO, with high quality, yummy toppings. The co-owner is chef at Vincenti in Brentwood, where he makes wonderful pizzas only on Monday evenings.

                        1. re: europhile40

                          i didn't like the vincenti pizza on my one visit there.

                          But i did really like pIzzeria il fico's margherita when i went there (although their pies do start at 16 or 17 bucks per, so it definitely ain't cheap).

                          the cheapest of these italian thin crust style that I still really really really like and it's about 10 bucks for a margherita is Cafe angelino, near il fico. which is really great, also, espcially for the price too.

                          Granted at all of these places i'm trying the Margheritas so I do have a definite point of comparison.

                          1. re: kevin

                            BTW, I've really like the other dishes at Il Fico too. No, it's definitely not cheap, but it's very authentic IMHO. I've spent a lot of time in Italy, and the food at Il Fico really tastes like I'm there, although the staff kinda bursts that bubble but by being mostly NOT Italian and even mispronouncing some dishes!

                            1. re: europhile40

                              800 Degrees sounds like it may give In 'N Out some competition for UCLA fast food. Sounds ok. I want a little love with my pizza. Milo and Olive is where I'm going for great pizza and a little love from those sweet owners, Josh and Zoe. OMG, I had an insanely great dessert at Milo and Olive: Fresh fig tart with almond custard. Bet 800 Degrees won't be able to pull that one off:)

                              1. re: maudies5

                                Agree on all points. Josh and Zoe are great, as is the food at all four of their food operations (Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, Sweet Rose Creamery and Milo and Olive). 800 Degrees is assembly line pizza. No character. No passion. Huge space with nothing interesting going on. Maybe a great UCLA hang, but not for the rest of us post-college folks. Their owner/creator has great credentials, and he may make a lot of money with this concept of fast food pizza with quality ingredients if they can cook it at the right temperature for the right amount of time (today they didn't), but I think he really should have just stayed with Umami Burger. It's a great concept and burger with which nobody can argue.

                                1. re: europhile40

                                  actually on my first few times at Umami, i liked the burgers along with the eponymous one, but after a while, i didn't quite like it anymore, all of my visits except for one where all at the original LaBrea location way in advance of it spreading like wild fire into a chainlet. (the last couple times i just found it to be plain disgusting but that's just my humble opinion, i realize plenty of people still love it to bits).

                                  Nowadays, when i crave a burger

                                  1. re: europhile40

                                    Nowadays, when I crave a burger, umami just doesn't fit the bill.

                                    But now you got me hankering for a pizza at Il Fico, darnit, i guess i'll have to try it again and try to remember 800 degrees and compare the two.

                                    btw, europhile, have you tried the pizzas at cafe angelino????

                                  2. re: maudies5

                                    maudie, have you tried pizzeria il fico yet???

                                    just a tadbit curious.

                                    1. re: kevin

                                      I haven't tried Cafe Angelino yet, but will on your recommendation. BTW, I didn't mean to imply that Umami Burger was even close to my favorite . . . just that it's a good concept and good burger for the price. I just ate my all-time favorite LA burger a few days ago at Short Order . . . their Lamb Burger. Yes, it was a lofty $15 or $16, but a primo cut of lamb was ground into that burger, perfectly seasoned, placed on the perfect bun (any surprise that perfect bread was present when Nancy Silverton is in any way involved), with just the right amount of high quality arugula and feta, as well as an unidentified but perfectly complementary splash of what was merely described as "salsa verde." If you love lamb, then spring for this burger -- heaven with every bite. You will NOT be sorry!

                                      1. re: europhile40

                                        i'm either going for that in the next day , or il fico?

                                        Decisions, decisions, decisions.

                                        1. re: kevin

                                          BTW, they'll recommend it and serve it medium rare unless you request otherwise. The various burgers I saw coming out of the kitchen looked far too red for my taste, so I ordered mine "medium," and it was perfectly pink and juicy. Depends on your preference!

                                          1. re: kevin

                                            il Fico's pie is crispy/crunchy, bit dryer than a Neapolitan (Settebello, Mother Dough, etc.) It's a very enjoyable pie if you always considered a wet center to be a fault.

                                            The environs is properly Beverly Hills/Mid-Wilshire West, and everyone's efficient/friendly/charming, including the fellow diners who weren't put-off by a squirmy infant . The pizza's nice, but just short of excellent ala Settebello/Stella Rossa.

                                            Il Fico vs. SO would be totally different experiences. Personally, Westside trendy posh is much preferable to tourist trap celebrity burgers.

                                            1. re: TonyC

                                              I wasn't comparing the two at all! I was making an analogy between people who will always prefer inexpensive and basic pizza to more well-crafted, expensive, gourmet pies and people who prefer inexpensive and basic burgers to more well-crafted, expensive, gourmet burgers. BTW, IMHO there is nothing remotely "tourist trap" or "celebrity" about anything devised by Nancy Silverton at any of the restaurants or food operations in which she's involved. The opinions of legions of food critics (both from LA and elsewhere) and her long-term success at everything she touches are testaments to that. Regardless, I'm well aware there are people who under no circumstances would ever pay $13 to $16 for a burger anywhere, no matter how good it is, and I certainly respect that viewpoint. BTW, if I had to compare gourmet pizzas to gourmet burgers, it would be no contest. I would pick the pizza every time!

                                              1. re: europhile40

                                                I had both, the margherita at Fico was good though not great. I don't like their smokeyness from the oven but I do really like the smokey-ness from the pie at 800 degrees. In fact, based on my visit to both of them over teh past couple days, I would give the edge to 800 degrees. (I guess sometimes a pizza that is three times the cost of another is not necessarily better in my opinion).

                                                Though I do have to say that that I also tried the burger at Nancy's joint, Short Order, and the burger was beefy, juicy goodness (in reference to the Nancy's mix of beef blend), and it was well-seasoned and perhaps a little too heavy with the salt but I think it brought the flavors all together. And you really don't need any toppings on the burger. The burger and the bun itself magically works wonder sans any condiments. And yet the burger was way to heavy as after dinner I could not eat anything for the next 24 hrs or so (which usually doesn't happen with me) and maybe the burger will be a once in a rare occassion for me, because it's just too heavy,unless maybe if i have it for lunch.

                                                I tried the new orleans iced coffee and it was ok, but there was no sweethness in there, I dectected no cane sugar or chicory as the menu promised. Maybe they just left out the sugar???

                                                I'll still have to try a cappachino from short cakes though to see if it's up to snuff. Do they also serve the New Orleans style iced coffee at Short Cakes or only at the Short Order burger restaurant?

                                                1. re: kevin

                                                  Thanks for providing the silver bullet that addressed all the questions here.

                                                  Il Fico's pizza, again, is solid, but not "spectacular" (though I loath that word). A better benchmark of 800deg would be versus Settebello, Bollini (which has faltered since expansion), Stella Rossa, Milo/Olive, Mother Dough, etc.

                                                  1. re: TonyC

                                                    Tried the sausage/peppers, margherita and non red sauce pizza today. It reminded me of naan with toppings. I was sort of disappointed as it was soggy and the sauce on the bland side. I have had Settebello which I would say is a little better but they are almost triple in price for similar pizzas. The space is nice with an upscale feel and reasonable priced -- which is it's greatest selling point.

                          2. Wow that pizza looks great! And at $5-7 a pie, how can you go wrong? I still think Mother Dough has the best Neapolitan pizza in the city, but at $15-19/pie, it's hard to justify keep paying that knowing that a place like 800 Degrees exists.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: TailbackU

                              Yeah, you know what, MOther Dough and 800 degrees are very close in style. I think Mother Dough might just be a larger personal pie though. And Mother Dough has a great chocoloate mousse dessert with olive oil.

                              But yea, at about a third the price, 800 degrees is pretty much a bargain.

                              it's basically like i may have mentioned before the chipotle of artisnal pizza. and i found all the ingredients to be high-quality, and the smokey-ness from the wood oven was just about perfect.

                              But then again i also had the whole joint almost to myself when i visited there. within a day of the original posting here.

                            2. I just drove by 800 (Wednesday, 130 pm) and the line was out the door and down the block.

                              Some will like it, some won't. But if they offered my stock options I'd buy them.

                              And, just so you know, school hasn't started yet at UCLA. The crowd was basically all people dressed like the work in Wilshire high rise office buildings. Once the students start showing up, it's going to be real crowded.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: PaulF

                                No question. Westwood hasn't had a great cheap pizza place in ages, and college kids on a budget who don't want to stray off "campus" will certainly keep 800 Degrees hopping when they return for classes. They definitely have a financial winner on their hands, but for people with the time, money and palate to find the best pies, I think they should and will go elsewhere!

                                1. re: europhile40

                                  "No question. Westwood hasn't had a great cheap pizza place in ages..."

                                  europhile40, can you name any local "cheap pizza places" outside of Westwood that are better than 800° Degrees? The ones you keep using as your points of comparison all charge two, three, or more times 800° Degrees's prices.

                                  Also, I think your comments throughout this page might make some readers think 800° Degrees is some kind of downscale college hangout. It most certainly is not, although its prices are sure to draw students in droves.

                                  1. re: europhile40

                                    I hate to say it, but just based on the Margheritas alone, I may have enjoyed 800 degrees in the pleasure department more than Il Fico. So not only is 800 degrees pretty cheap, it's not just cheap, and it is pretty good, but maybe i need a return visit to see that it is consisently good.

                                    1. re: europhile40

                                      Once again, just my opinion, but when I think back on it was pretty good, it was like the corporate child of Mozza crossed with Mother Dough pizza for lack of a better term. And it did have pockets of char, olive oil drizzled all over it, and fresh mozzarell broken apart in chunks and scattered around along with some leaves of fresh basil.

                                      Weirdly, the margherita at FIco did not have any basil on it, at all, but I can't remember if it had basil on it the first few times that I went to Fico.

                                      1. re: europhile40

                                        <<people with the time, money and palate to find the best pies>>
                                        will be at LAX catching the next flight to italy.

                                    2. Do they (or will they) be serving wine and beer? Sounds like a great after work place for my team (in one of those high rise Wilshire office buildings...)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: coffeebrownies

                                        Wine and beer are listed on the menu as "Coming Soon." I don't know if they are being served yet.

                                      2. Great review! And it so happens that I work at UCLA and can walk there. Woo hoo!

                                        By the way, Kramer and Poppy talked about customers making their own pies. George warned, "you can't have people shoviing their arms into an 800 degree oven!"

                                        1. A wheat product cooked at 800 degrees sound a lot like naan, and the bubbles reinforce that thought.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Dogbite Williams

                                            Naan is much thicker than the pizza at 800 Degrees. Naan has that chewiness (in a good way -- I don't know how to say it any other way), the pizza at 800 was crispy.

                                            If that makes any sense.

                                          2. Went with my son last night. 1 Pizza Margherita, 1 Pizza Bianca and a Chopped Salad to share. He had a Soda and played with the machice for a bit ( Coke with Rasberry was his final selection ) I thought that the whole concept and food was great and the cost was very very low. $6 and $5 for the Pizzas and $5 for the salad and $2 for the Coke. The line moved fast ( we were there about 5:30 ) when we left it was out the door a bit. Only comment would be is to cook the Pizza a touch more ( I like it rather crispy and will ask for it that way next time ) All and All I will surely be back. Pizza toppings were top notch quality and very very fresh. This place will do well. As an aside, we took a walk to Diddy Riese for Desert ( my suggestion )

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Foodandwine

                                              My preference for dessert would be Stan's for a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup donut. mmm mmm mmm mmm mmm good. It doesn't have the line of DR, but the donuts are pretty spendy.

                                            2. Okay, I just tried it, and I am VERY impressed. As others have noted, it's not the absolutely best pizza in the world, it won't compete with Mozza, but it's very good, surely one of the best in LA and at a price point that can't be touched by its competitors.

                                              I had the Margherita with garlic, anchovies, oregano and red onions (kiss me!) and it was $6 + a dollar each for the fish and the bulbs. I asked for it extra crispy, and they did as well as they could with a pizza with fresh tomato sauce, olive oil and high quality mozzarella.

                                              The flavors were excellent, very fresh and clean. Delicious pizza. The dough was quite good, though as others have noted, it's a bit on the chewy end for a Neopolitan style pie. I noticed too that it became a bit more chewy as it cooled, while the first couple of pieces were more of the crispy, airy texture you're looking for.

                                              The interaction with the staff was very pleasant, and they were well organized. Indeed, by the time I got to the cash register, my piping hot pizza was ready for me. Even though it was the height of lunch hour, I was in and out within 30 minutes, and even though it was crowded, the large space with high ceilings didn't make me feel cramped at all, nor were desperate patrons staring at my table.

                                              I live close to Mozza and love their pizza. But if 800 Degrees was next door, I'd choose it 9 out of 10 times over Mozza. It's the value which is so stupendous.

                                              I predict, quite seriously, that 800 Degrees will revolutionize the pizza industry in America. It's that good a consumer experience.

                                              1. I've been to 800 Degrees twice now and, like most others, have enjoyed it a lot. I haven't tried any of the other high end pizzas mentioned in this thread yet, so this was the best pizza I've personally had in LA and was really impressed with the price for the quality of toppings.

                                                My first time, I had a margherita with sopresetta, olives and garlic cloves (quick note: I asked for garlic when I saw it on the free toppings list not realizing that was for minced garlic and there was a charge for the garlic cloves they put on my pizza. But, I'm not going to complain. It was just a dollar and the cloves were very good on the pizza). This pie was great. My second time, my dining companion got the same pizza I had previously after I told her how great it was, and I got a pizza marinara with mushrooms, anchovies and arugla. Not nearly as good as the first pizza I had, but I think I'm just not a fan of anchovies on pizza despite wanting to give them another chance.

                                                I was initially skeptical when I saw how closely 800 Degress resembles Subway/Chipotle, but the comparison stops at the ordering process and does not extend to quality.

                                                I'll definitly be back. I live just a few minutes drive away, and just wish that parking wasn't so bad in Westwood and that 800 Degrees had been around when I was at UCLA

                                                1. I'll throw in my 2 cents. I was able to try it last night. Had the picante which was their margarita with sopressata and red chilies. Love the concept and quality of ingredients. Hate the crust the crust just tastes under cooked and gummy. Seems like an easy fix if they would just cook their pizzas longer. Quality for the price, the place is a winner. Just be sure to ask for your pizzas well done.

                                                  10 Replies
                                                  1. re: cdub

                                                    I've eaten there three times now. The degree of baking has varied minimally each time, but not once has the crust been anything close to "gummy." Frankly, I can't even see how that would be possible.

                                                    1. re: Arthur

                                                      I haven't been to 800 degrees yet but I can't help but wonder if the complaints about "undercooked" and "gummy" aren't just due to a misunderstanding of the Neapolitan pie...yet again. Unfortunately, LA has been very slow on the uptake in appreciating a proper Neapolitan crust. It's supposed to be chewy, not crispy.

                                                      Pizzeria Ortica in OC gets the same complaints and they make a very nice Neapolitan pie. Some have even gone so far as to call the center "raw"...which is clearly impossible if the edges are thick, bubbly, and charred.

                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                        I agree. It's pretty darn Neapolitan. You can quible about crust flavor, or overall crispy preference (like Mozza, not so classic Naopolitan, but certainly yummy), but 800 degrees is def great for what it is. Maybe 80-90% as good IMO as something costing twice as much.

                                                        CDub, I loved the sopresatta and red chile paste too. Great pie, no question I'll return. Ultralate hours a big plus, also.

                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          Exactly right, Porthos.

                                                          Apparently 800 Degrees has had its fill of hearing misguided criticisms of the crust's crispness and authenticity as well. I returned there tonight and immediately saw the newly posted sign that is prominently on display in the attached photo, which states:

                                                          "NO, it's not crispy. We make pizza the way it was invented in Naples, Italy in the DOP-protected Vera Pizza Napoletana style, which has a soft, chewy crust.

                                                          "If you'd prefer it crispy, please ask."

                                                           
                                                          1. re: Arthur

                                                            And that is why LA lags NYC and SF in the Neapolitan pizza renaissance.

                                                            Apparently crispy is the only kind of crust yelpers like here in LA.

                                                            Even some "food critic" in the OC register proclaimed the pizza at a certain "neapolitan style" pizzeria better than most because its Neapolitan style pizza is crispier than others. That's pretty much an oxymoron and epitomizes how misunderstood Neapolitan style pizza in LA is.

                                                            1. re: Porthos

                                                              Now I understand why the crust was prepared the way it was on my first visit.. Guess I prefer crispy over Traditional DOP. I will try it again and see.. I really like the place allot and if asking for crispy is an option, thats great.. I am well glad to see that they are on board to keep us non traditionalists happy... I am sure we will see more locations soon..

                                                              1. re: Foodandwine

                                                                My Son and I went back a few weeks back. This time I asked for a little crispy and really enjoyed the pizza. Gosh, this place is soo good. And an incredible value as well. I hope that you will enjoy whenever you have the opportunity to try it..

                                                              2. re: Porthos

                                                                i've had experience before with neapolitan pizza having eaten at una pizza napoleanto in NY when it was in NY as well as many other places and it wasn't the same. the dough wasn't cooked. it was raw and gummy when i had it. my own experience the one time i was there. i'd give them a second try which i haven't been able to because normally, their lines wrap around the block now. however, my one and only experience is what it is.

                                                                1. re: cdub

                                                                  fwiw,
                                                                  1) i've been avoiding the lines by going there for early lunch (i.e. 11:30).
                                                                  so far this strategy has worked for me

                                                                  2) the next time you go there, try ordering your pizza "crispy." i think you'll like that much better. (it still will have a soft spot in the middle of the pie, but all in all, i think you'd like it better).

                                                        2. re: cdub

                                                          Was there last night as well. I can't stand the pseudo charming, bubblegummy staff, but I don't think there's any other pizza joint in America churning out a pie so properly Neapolitan for $5. Freakin' floored. And they sliced it without belittling you.

                                                          Chef Carron was working the pies even at 10pm, and guaranteed the oven is truly over 800 degrees.

                                                          Due to location, line, etc., I will unlikely return. But during vacay, say on a Tuesday after the Geffen, there is no better place to eat in that neighborhood. Just wish the chewy crust had a tad more crisp, but the $6 margherita wasn't gummy nor wet in the middle, and was pretty pleasurable for this cheap bastard.

                                                        3. Question on the crowd ...

                                                          Even though I work near Westwood, we went there on Saturday night so the kids could try it. The line was really long, maybe 70 people or so. We didn't stay.

                                                          For those who brave the crowds, is it worth it? I would have been willing to wait, but it looked like even when we got our pizza, there would be no place to sit. It was just packed. So, I guess my question is, even if you wait in the line, is it easy to sit and find a table and eat your pizza without feeling like you need to gobble really quick and get out. For me, the chaos seemed worse than the length of time.

                                                          For what it's worth, we just walked over to the WW Yamadaya. First time there after 20 visits to Culver City location. My shoyu ramen was very much the same. The karage chicken was a bit tastier in WW. The pork cutlet was less meaty than CC, though one order is hardly a fair sample size.

                                                          WW has octopus balls, didn't try them. They have no beer, which depressed me. At around 8 on Saturday, no wait for a table. Same time in CC and you'll wait 30 minutes at least.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: PaulF

                                                            fwiw,
                                                            the wait on a saturday night for a table at stella rosa or at milo and olive or at gjelina wouldn't be any shorter.
                                                            the last time i walked into stella rosa on a saturday night the hostess told me that the wait for a table was an hour and a half. since there were no available seats at the bar, that meant that our party would have had to stand around for an hour and a half to get $20 individual pizzas. we decided to go to a different, non-pizza, restaurant.

                                                            re: the chaos
                                                            to me, there was more chaos at milo and olive on a saturday night than there is at 800 degrees. all the seating at milo and olive is communal. in order to get a party of 4 seated together the hostess is constantly asking people to move from seat to seat in order to "defrag" the seating. at least at 800 degrees, once you have your food at your table, nobody asks you to move.

                                                            at gjelina, on a saturday night, it is not unusual to be asked to wait even WITH a reservation. without a reservation on a saturday night, fuggedaboutit. there, too, there is no bar nor place to sit while waiting; you will be standing up leaning on the wall until your table is ready.

                                                          2. I finally made it to 800 Degrees this weekend, and I thought it was great. Better than Mozza? No. But as a million other people have pointed out here, it was 30%-50% of the cost - so it isn't really a fair comparison. We had the Margherita, Capricciosa, Tartufo, and Sausage & Peppers. All were well-received, with the Capricciosa and Sausage having an ever-so-slight edge. Four pizzas was a little too much for our group of four - next time I would try to restrain myself to three - but we managed to eat all but two slices. The crust is soft but I didn't find it gummy at all. I did find that the best way to eat it was to fold the slice in half on its axis. We were also pleasantly surprised by the lack of line, but since it was an hour before the USC-UCLA game, I'm guessing that was an anomaly.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: aching

                                                              That's excellent. I have to say that this kind of pizza, and that includes Mozza's, must be eaten practically immediately after it gets out of the oven or it definitely loses something.

                                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                +1, EarlyBird.
                                                                theirs is NOT the kind of pizza that you bring home and eat cold the next morning.
                                                                it absolutely MUST be eaten immediately.

                                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                                  yep and as you previously suggested, tell them to do it well done.

                                                            2. 800 Degrees just announced a Santa Monica location at 120 Wilshire Blvd. in downtown Santa Monica, just across the street from Hillstone and is scheduled to open this fall (2013) It will be even larger than the Westwood location and they predict even busier.
                                                              http://www.lamag.com/lafood/digestblo...

                                                              27 Replies
                                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                                More crappy pizza to spread around town.

                                                                What in fuck's name is the world cong to ???

                                                                We must be doomed.

                                                                1. re: kevin

                                                                  dunno what you find so distasteful about it, but i love the food they serve.
                                                                  just registering a dissenting opinion.

                                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                                    with you on this one, Kevin...nothing appealing about 800 degrees for me! and the entire stupidity about "build your own pies"...Jesus effin Christ! and it has to be even bigger than Westwood, naturally! def crap! and peoples stupidity..i drive past it often and luv watching those idiots with "take out" from there...pathetic...what id give for a small, non descript slice joint!

                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                      Seems kevin's opinion has veered erratically off course: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8262...

                                                                      1. re: Arthur

                                                                        He's fukin all over the place. Very articulate though.

                                                                    2. re: wienermobile

                                                                      I'm equidistant to both locations. Such a difficult life to have such tough choices to make....

                                                                      1. re: ilysla

                                                                        my heart goes out to you.
                                                                        PLUS, if you end up going to westwood, you will have to try to resist TLT.
                                                                        if you end up going to SM in the evening, you will have to try to resist musha.

                                                                        approach/approach decisions are SO difficult!

                                                                        1. re: westsidegal

                                                                          TLT ?

                                                                          1. re: kevin

                                                                            Brick and Mortar for The Lime Truck.

                                                                            WSG, I actually was at 800 Deg this past weekend and passed by TLT. I thought of your post, but my partner and I had already planned to go to Ammo at the Hammer for lunch (very civilized and tasty, BTW). Hopefully TLT soon!

                                                                            I was also just thinking that one could do a "pizza triangle" w/ Milo and Olive, the SM 800 Deg, and then finish w/ Stella Rossa (which I've only been to once.... wouldn't mind going again, but I think I'd stick w/ just the pizza since I thought the salad I had there was merely good).

                                                                            1. re: ilysla

                                                                              @Ilysia...if you ever do that Pizza triangle...go to 800 degrees first...that way you'll end the evening on a good note!

                                                                      2. re: wienermobile

                                                                        I finally got a chance to try this place last week with my better half. Consensus was "fine"; perhaps if we are in the 'hood we would return, but I doubt it. I found my Margherita surprisingly bland - who forgot the salt? - though my wife's Bianca creation was a bit better.

                                                                        I know it's not fair to compare to Mozza, Sotto, and the like, so I won't. That being said, as we are rarely in Westwood, and if I'm going to be driving anyway, I'd rather pony up the extra $10+ and eat a phenomenal pie.

                                                                        As an aside, popped in to Diddy Reese to see what the hullabaloo is all about ... yawn. Flour-y, dough-y, bland ... at least it was cheap (I guess).

                                                                        1. re: a213b

                                                                          As I've stated above in this thread, 800 Degrees may not be the best pizza in LA, but it's by far the best deal on a quality pizza in LA. You also MUST eat it immediately in the restaurant.

                                                                          I live not too far from Mozza, and work a short walk from 800 Degrees, and I'd take the latter any day over the pricey former. I should point out in fairness that I've only had Mozza once, and made the mistake of getting it take-out, a very similar pizza which should be eaten immediately.

                                                                          1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                            Hi... I tried 800 Degrees for the first time about a month ago, two pies (one simple and one complicated, topping-wise). Thought is was very good.

                                                                            The only part of the experience that I found harsh was the table procurement ritual -- vying with a myriad of divorced dads/mom with multiple kids in tow for a place to sit/eat, and entitled university dudes with thick necks and no indoor voices. Everyone has a right to enjoy pizza, though...

                                                                            1. re: silence9

                                                                              silence9:
                                                                              my strategy for dealing with the folks you mention is trying to arrive before 11:45 am or between 2pm and 3:45pm.

                                                                          2. re: a213b

                                                                            re: salt at 800 degrees
                                                                            they use coarse salt that is sprinkled on by hand right (i.e. no shaker) in front of the oven. since i'm there pretty frequently, i know to ask for a little more than usual.

                                                                            re: <<I'd rather pony up the extra $10+ and eat a phenomenal pie.>>
                                                                            wouldn't we all? that said, for an everyday lunch, leaving a restaurant almost $20 lighter (including tax and tip) is not something all of us can do every day. imho, there are not too many other places that you can really walk out of spending <$10 (all in) that compare. imported flour, fresh cheese, fresh basil, etc. as opposed to all-purpose flour, commerical, rubber-cement-like, low moisture, part skim cheese, basil from SER that is sold in a huge plastic jug, is what is being offered by all others at the 800 degrees price level.

                                                                            re: Diddy Reese
                                                                            you forgot to mention: so much sugar that your teeth feel like they are wearing sweaters afterward.
                                                                            so much artificial flavor that the aftertaste of it all is disgusting even 10 minutes later.

                                                                            1. re: westsidegal

                                                                              Oh, I wish I would've known that about the salt! Like you, I now know to ask for a dash more.

                                                                              I think therein lies the difference; while I shouldn't say "never", the odds of me ever being in Westwood around lunch are slim-to-none. So, for me it becomes dinner, and as we enjoy cooking, we are a bit more selective about where we dine out ... leading to my statement about driving and choosing the better pie.

                                                                              As for Diddy ... I have to admit that after a first bite, and a second to confirm, I chucked the remainder in the trash. I don't need the empty, nasty calories (nasty referring to the cookies).

                                                                              1. re: a213b

                                                                                800 Deg is certainly not the most amazing thing I've ever eaten (pizza or otherwise), but I'm not too far and I think it can't be beat for the price. Can't really afford the calories, though, so I don't eat it often. ;)

                                                                                Diddy Riese is fine for what it is -- an undercooked, insanely cheap cookie. It's not much more than that. But, since I'm not as picky about cookies as I am about other things (since I don't like sweets in general), I find it acceptable.

                                                                                If I want *really* good food (and the price tag to match) in the area, I'll go to Tanino. =)

                                                                                1. re: ilysla

                                                                                  ilysia,
                                                                                  have you discovered any comparably-priced lunch restaurants near there that are calorically friendly AND have decent food?
                                                                                  (my unending quest)

                                                                                  1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                    Fundamental LA is worth checking out http://www.fundamental-la.com/lunch.html

                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                      if i ate meat or poultry, Fundamental LA would have more appeal.
                                                                                      thanks for the suggestion, though.

                                                                                      at this point, my westwood lunch rotation is:
                                                                                      shamshiri grill
                                                                                      800 degrees
                                                                                      TLT
                                                                                      (none of the above serve low calorie food, but they all have very good price/quality/quantity ratios for lunch and you can get in and out fast enough)
                                                                                      p.s. i time my 800 degree visits to either be at 11:45 or earlier or 2:15 or later. the line moves very smoothly at those times. once, when i tried to eat there during the "normal" lunch hour, there was a woman there who ordered 30 pies to go for her office. as you'd expect, the wait time was untenable, the movement of the line became glacial.

                                                                                      1. re: westsidegal

                                                                                        The albacore tuna conserv and their grilled cheese and soup and some of the salads would work for you. It might be worth throwing it in for some variety once in a while? Just a thought.

                                                                                        1. re: Servorg

                                                                                          probably will end up there someday.
                                                                                          i had forgotten about the place.
                                                                                          thanks for reminding me.

                                                                                    2. re: westsidegal

                                                                                      "Decent food" meaning as good as 800 Deg? Alas, no.

                                                                                      I tried Nature's Way once or twice (vegan on Lindbrook just east of Gayley), but that was several yrs ago. The food was, um, interesting. I ordered some type of meat-substitute burger that had the texture of a crab cake. That texture was lovely, but it wasn't anything close to what the real meat is like. They also have "air fries." I recall the food being rather underseasoned, but it might be worth a try (realizing that it is several rungs below an 800 Deg).

                                                                                      I tried Bibimgo (or whatever it was called) on Broxton a few mo ago. Decent, yes, but I felt it was over-priced (though I can't recall the actual total). Might be relatively calorically friendly, but I imagine there's a ton of salt....

                                                                                      I also work at the northern end of UCLA; believe it or not, this lowers my motivation to walk all the way to the other end of campus and then to start exploring the village.... ::sigh::

                                                                                      1. re: ilysla

                                                                                        thank you so much for the 411.
                                                                                        i had tried bibimbap, a few times for dinner. in order to feel full i had to order two dinners. the food was flavorful, though, and if the price/quantity ratio had been better, i would have stayed with them.

                                                                                  2. re: a213b

                                                                                    got it.
                                                                                    i go there for lunch when i'm working near westwood.
                                                                                    and i'm willing to spend more for dinner than for lunch.

                                                                                  3. re: westsidegal

                                                                                    Plus one on your DD Reese sentiments. I usually hit up Stans which for one reason or another seems to be underrated these days.

                                                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                                                      Not a doughnut connessieur, but I found the one donut I got from them practically inedible..... Guess I should have stood in line for a half baked cookie at Diddy Reese.