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Dec 9, 2012 01:52 PM

The best Neapolitan pizza in LA?

Hey guys, I'm an LA to NY to back-in-LA-on-occasion transplant, and my time in the big apple has found me developing a big hankering for Neopolitan pizza. (From Keste, specifically, if any of you have been there!)

I've tried the following places on my visits here, none blew me away:

- Pizza e Vino near Irvine
- Antica Pizzeria in Marina del Rey
- Pizzeria Mozza (found it downright disgusting)

So, has the landscape changed at all? Any new players on the scene?

Mangia in my future? :)

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  1. I can't give an opinion on which Neopolitan pizza in L.A. is best. I haven't tried any of the restaurants on your list above. I do really like Bollini’s Pizzeria Napoletana both for his pizzas, 20oz RIB-EYE STEAK and some of the daily specials along with the Allagash Black on tap.

    1. On a cost/benefit ratio, 800 Degrees in Westwood.

      Overall, my current favorite is at Sotto.

      22 Replies
      1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

        800 looks great! I laughed at the cost/benefit - I was thinking Sotto was going to be $25/pie. Hah- 800 is comically cheap! In NY you could pay upwards of $20 for a pie! (Worth it as it might be :))

        Thanks for the rec- will definitely try these out!

        1. re: BigBrother

          800 Degrees is indeed great. I finally had a chance to try it last weekend. I think it gets knocked down the list here because of its price -- if it were selling them for $20 people would inadvertently rate them higher. Oddly, to be considered a "true Napoletan" pizza by Americans, it seems you need to sell your pizza for some absurd price. Perhaps most Americans are ignorant of the fact that our $17 pizza margherita sells for 4 euros in Italy.

          In any case, their pizza is la vera napoletana in terms of crumb and crust. It's executed very well. The tartufo is a rich flavor bomb of Northern Italian heritage. If you like the Pizza del Re at Keste you'll like this. They also had a brussel sprout, pancetta and scamorza special that I wish I could've tried. This combination of flavors demonstrates that the guy behind the scenes has the right idea about Italian flavor profiles.

          Is it a little soggy? Yes. Is this a conundrum typical to the Italian pizza, especially the napoletana version? Yes (the Romans make a more dry pizza). As Bourdain once put, quite succinctly, either you are a cheese guy or a dough guy. I like a pizza that is soft and creamy in the middle, and chewy and charred on the outside. 800 Degrees is just that. Those who eat pizza with knife and fork (like myself and virtually all Italians) will probably not be bothered by the wetness at the center.

          1. re: Thor123

            Easily +2 Sotto.

            Btw, Bollini is not Neapolitan style despite the name. Just look at the yelp photos.

            1. re: Porthos

              I thought Bollini had the approval of The Napoli Pizza Commission?

                1. re: Burger Boy

                  I thought so too, and I believe I saw something on their website about it a while back. But there's nothing to that effect now. Curious.

                  1. re: Burger Boy

                    Use specific ingredients and pay the fee, after a quick site visit, you're approved.

                    1. re: Burger Boy

                      The only place that's still VPN Neapolitan in LA is apparently... Settebello in Pasadena. Shocking, I know.

                      Bollini claims to be Neapolitan. If you talk to them, they'll say they're Neapolitan. The word is strewn all over the website. They lost their VPN stat because they procured it through Antica, and Anitca is no longer the LA VPN certifying official? Or they stopped paying VPN's fees. But the VPN cert was still on Bollini's wall the last time I visited.

                      1. re: TonyC

                        Doesn't speak very highly of Antica if it is certifying Bollini pies as Neapolitan. The dough is rolled flat and there is no bubbly crust but I guess that doesn't matter here in LA.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          When they first opened in '07, and up til about mid '08, the crust was far better.

                          photo evidence 1:
                          [pleasure palate


                          evidence 2:
                          [wandering chopsticks


                          This is the closest wood burning pizza parlor to me, yet I have only ordered 1 pie since '08.

                          And of course Antica has since shuttered.

                          1. re: TonyC

                            These photos look pretty much like what we were served at Bollini's last Saturday. Bubbly, somewhat charred crust that tasted so good!

                            1. re: TonyC

                              Still looks like a flat thin crispy crust to me and not like the two photos below with thicker raised lip. Photo 1 from Ortica and Photo 2 from Sotto

                          2. re: TonyC

                            You are correct that Chef Chris Bollini claims to serve an authentic Neapolitan pizza. But I do not see anything related to on any of Bollini's website pages now.
                            Guess I'm going to have to try Settebello sometime soon to compare.

                            1. re: sel

                              yes, in this link:
                              the fact Settebello is the only VPN "certified" pies in LA now is mentioned.

                              1. re: TonyC

                                I got that point, I was just saying that the Bollini site has no VPN certification logos when I checked today.

                              2. re: sel

                                Bollini's never had any official VPN certification from Antica! their crust was nothing really Neapolitan several years ago...i had one good pie and one totally undercooked crust... Go to Settebello..ive only been once but it was an excellent pie! Sotto def also an excellent Neapolitan style, as was OLio the last time i was there...

                              3. re: TonyC

                                Just surfin' through here and noticed a comment about Antica/VPN certififying...VPN is still run in MDR by Peppe Miele who had enough of the restaurant biz after 30 years here when the Mall was remodeled and rents jacked up...he trains pizzaioli at his school down the street and travels around the world doing the same...he has trained people but not officially certified them(800 degrees) because they depart from the Traditional Neapolitan method...theyre not food nazis about it but the whole 800 degrees thing is way too assembly lined and i thnk there are issues with ingredients too.

                                1. re: lapizzamaven

                                  800 degrees, iirc, never claimed to be officially certified.
                                  it would be hard to turn out an officially certified pizza at the price they charge.

                            2. re: Porthos


                              should be called BULLini.

                              overpriced soggy least the last time we were there, and that's why it's the "last" time.

                            3. re: Thor123

                              sotto is the closest to the pizza i ate when i worked in italy (cooking at a michelin starred place on the amalfi coast)

                          3. antica pizzeria in marina del rey has been closed for many years.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: westsidegal

                              You mean a year and half don't you? I believe it closed in mid July of last year...

                              See here:

                              1. re: Servorg

                                i guess time doesn't fly!
                                really, it's only been a year and a half?
                                seems like eons.

                            2. Ok, just hit up 800 Degrees and Sotto back to back (we don't mess around :))

                              First Sotto- on looks alone, they get high marks- looked really authentic. Taste? Paltry. If we closed our eyes, it tasted like an Ameci's pizza :\. Pretty disappointing.

                              800 Degrees- I see what you mean by quality/price ratio! Got a margherita for something like $7. Really damn good! Not Keste quality, but really, truly good.

                              Still though, now that I've tried LA's latest, I implore all of you- if you find yourself in Manhattan, you *must* go here:


                              Religious experience-level!

                              Thanks all!

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: BigBrother

                                Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy Sotto. I've been there twice now and have loved all the food, especially the pizza.

                                Big fan of 800 Degrees.

                                As for Neapolitan pizza in Manhattan, I tried Motorino this past summer and it was indeed fantastic.

                                1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                  I'm surprised that you like the pizza at Sotto so much because it is a much softer crust than the crust at Motorino. My neo pie places of the moment are Settebello and Olio on W3 rd and Crescent Heights, both of whose crust is much firmer than Sotto.

                                  1. re: pizzafreak

                                    Neopolitan pies are supposed to be soft and chewy remember? :)

                                    1. re: Porthos

                                      Sotto's crust is not just soft, it is supersoft. Oh well, to each his own.

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        fwiw, sotto's pizza will be available as part of the restaurant week promotion later in the month

                                      2. re: pizzafreak

                                        I'm not discriminatory :). There is just something about the pizza at Sotto that really gets to me, more so than the one I had at Motorino. I had the brussell sprouts and pancetta pizza at Motorino and everything really was fantastic (the salty pancetta, the slightly charred sprouts, the cheese, and the crispy crust). Despite all that, I keep wanting to go back to Sotto to have another pizza along with everything else on their menu for some reason.

                                        1. re: pizzafreak

                                          Olio's one of my personal favorites, though I haven't been in a while. I can't speak to its authenticity, but it suits my taste the best of the places I've been (have never been to Antica, however). I like Settebello fairly well for the price, which is way more reasonable than some of the places out there, as well as the fact that it's close to where I live and work.

                                      1. re: WildSwede

                                        Thanks, I checked out their website. Nice price point for what looks to be a properly made pie. Will check back.

                                        1. re: WildSwede

                                          Yup. Great pizza. Also, for those who don't like the sog, Settebello's pizza is much less wet than 800 Degrees. I personally don't mind it myself, but I know this is a big turnoff for some re: napolitana pizza.

                                          1. re: fame da lupo

                                            Glad you liked it. I was just in there today for lunch with Fellow CHer Will Owen.

                                            1. re: WildSwede

                                              As was I -- ordered the "Vico" partially for the ingredients (sausage, fennel, red onion, mascarpone -- pretty well paired) and partially for ol' Giambattista.

                                              1. re: fame da lupo

                                                Another trip. Had a special with pancetta, smoked mozz, chili oil. Fantastic.

                                                1. re: fame da lupo

                                                  I am thrilled you like it. Since I work 2 blocks away, I go about every 2 weeks. It is something I look forward to. This week's special: Polpettine Pizza
                                                  -Housemade Napoletana Meatballs
                                                  -Red Onion
                                                  -Mozzarella di Bufala
                                                  -Parmigiano Reggiano
                                                  -Olive Oil