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Jan 14, 2013 01:33 PM

Stiff competition for Neapolitan pizza on the Westside

There is a new player on the Westside making delicious Neapolitan pies. il Piccolo Ritrovo has taken over the former Jacopo's Pizzeria that closed, then became J's Trattoria for a very short while. Located on Sunset Boulevard in the Palisades Village, they did a complete remodel of the restaurant, including importing and building a thousand degree pizza oven from Naples.

Gone are the dark wood & dark green interiors, the room is bright, inviting and comfortable, though not much bigger than its predecessor. The patio remains, and they've added a screen of climbing plants to give some privacy & protection from the noise of the busy street. It still holds about 50 diners though.

Business has been very brisk, with no reservations available the past few weekends, due to being sold out. The gentleman who answered the call stated we could get a table if we arrived before 5:30, and the hostess politely stated as she seated us, that they needed the table, a six top, by 6:30, which was no problem for us. Service was friendly, attentive and competent.

They have an extensive Italian menu, and some of the pastas looked phenomenal, can't wait to try some. But we were there to try the pizza. They offer New York style pizza as well as 12" Neapolitan styles. We ordered a large NY cheese for the children, a Caesar salad for us, and a 12" pepperoni & sausage Neapolitan. Both pizzas were excellent; the crust was done perfectly on each - firm, crispy but foldable on the NY, and soft, charred & wet on the Neapolitan. Sauces were light and acidic enough to stand up to the cheese and meat, but not overpowering, one of the complaints I always had with Jacopo's pies. The salad was fine, serviceable, but nothing outstanding.

I give it an edge over both 800 Degrees, which I really liked, and Stella Rossa, which I did enjoy, but I like the crust better here & at 800 Degrees. There is a "wheaty sweetness" to SR's dough that is okay, but a little distracting to me.

The other factors where I think Il Piccolo Ritrovo shine are that their tables are comfortable to sit at, as compared to Stella Rossa. They are open all day (hooray!) and have one of my all time favorite wines, which I have difficulty finding, by the glass. Best part, other than the fact they are in my neighborhood (so I will not have to endure lines of college students & metered parking), and have table service, is that they offer free valet parking. I have yet to find a restaurant in LA that does that. Can't wait to try more things on the menu. Finally the Palisades is beginning to attract better places to eat, and I for one, am very excited.

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  1. sounds like i need to get over there...i'll report back. anyplace thats quieter than SR is ok with me, too!

    6 Replies
      1. re: Servorg

        saw this on the website: "N.Y. Style Pizzas" and had to LOL.

        1. re: TonyC

          What did you expect, they are in LA, after all. And the owners are Italian, not New Yorkers.....

        2. re: Servorg

          Jeez Servorg, i just noticed i even commented on "Dirty's" original post here...duh...i think its time to start taking notes on my activities.

        3. re: lapizzamaven

          Yes, you do. I'd love to hear your impression. No flat screen TVs, I believe it is just beer & wine, but yes, you can actually sit & have a conversation with someone, the interior is not the industrial chic style that is so prevalent today. It is warm and comfortable....

        4. Hey Dirtywextraolives, i thought i "searched" for Ritrovo "bad!" Servorg, thanks for straightening out the record...but i fully concur...very comfortable and pleasant dining experience, something all too rare these days! Ive heard the orecchiette dish is excellent...and valet pking, I'll def be back!

          5 Replies
          1. re: lapizzamaven

            You even commented on this thread back in January! :-)

            1. re: PeterCC

              yeah, thanks PeterCC, for reminding me that my mind is deteriorating...ha, ha

            2. re: lapizzamaven

              No worries! Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did. I agree I like it much better than Stella Rossa. See you at Ritrovo soon!

            3. yeah Dirty, rereading your original post here reminded me of why i havent been back to Stella Rosa in ages...loud and uncomfortable, like 800 degrees...yuk!

              1. I agree re the wheaty sweetness of Stella Rossa's pizza being distracting.

                1 Reply
                1. re: aventinus

                  Thanks, wasn't sure if it was just me..... I can be a pretty harsh critic of pizza.....

                2. I for 2 am very excited. Free valet, in the pali...nice! Based on the texture, do you recommend I get a pie to go or is it best to stay put?

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: CharlesKochel

                    If its the Neapolitan style, best to eat it there right away. A NY style though can probably survive the trip home.

                    1. re: Dirtywextraolives

                      They serve both NY style and the Neapolitan style here ?