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looking for great pizza like La Barbera's had

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looking especially for their fresh garlic,onion and fresh tomato pizza.

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  1. Sorry, La Barbera's did not have great pizza. It was great fun, well located, had good hours and decent pizza for a city that had no pizza to speak of!
    Now L.A. has great pizza in several different locals.
    Are you looking for pizza in a specific local area?

    57 Replies
    1. re: VenusCafe

      I think you are probably correct about the myth of La Barbera's. Tarantino's in Pasadena makes pizza similar in style but probably better in execution, keeping in mind that it's been years since I had La Barbera's.
      Domenico's in Pasadena also makes a somewhat similar pie.

      1. re: mc michael

        Agreed. Have y'all tried Tarantino's in Pasadena on Green Street just east of Lake?

        1. re: mc michael

          With all due respect and risking the wrath of Servog (who is otherwise usually right on) you, like Venus are wrong. There will never be another LaBarberas (unless we can get the recapies) as Malibu Bread & Bagel once did with the original I & Joy (but that is another story).

          1. re: Thor123

            I'll just ask you one question. How do you feel/react when someone tells you "Your taste is wrong."? Does hearing that what you like is absolutely wrong on an "objective" level from a complete stranger give you pause at all?

            1. re: Servorg

              Depends if they r saying what you like is crap, as in this case, in which case Thor is right to say its wrong because he knows he likes it. Sort of different when folks say mine is the best and you are all wrong which is annoying.

              Anyways the only destination worthy pizza joint in la right now if u ask me which u didn't is grimaldis. Your faults I want it now.

              1. re: jessejames

                I don't think anyone here has said LaBarbera's is/was crap. Just that VenusCafe said it was "decent" and no more.

                But if I tell you "Grimaldi's" is no good and your opinion that it is chow worthy is just flat out wrong, would that give you more insight into me, or would you start doubting your own taste because I told you it wasn't "right"?

                1. re: Servorg

                  Fair to say. And no. I'm like Thor I think. I like what I like and u can like what u like too.

                  1. re: jessejames

                    "I like what I like and u can like what u like too."

                    Then you and I are on exactly the same page. Different folks have widely variable tastes in food, art, music and life. I think when you tell someone that their "taste" is just flat out "wrong" you are straying way off the reservation of Logic.

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Exactly! People, stop being a snob. Not every pizza has to be 100% authentic artisan style Italian pizza. I put food in different categories. Sure, I enjoy an authentic artisan style pizza, but I also enjoy a really tasty 1960's style Amercan pizza, like La Barbera's used to serve.

                      1. re: bringiton

                        La Barbera's was great! I really loved their very good pizza with a cold beer almost weekly when I was at UCLA in the late 60's. I loved it...but, I'm willing to bet that if I we're to compare it side- by-side with a pizza from Mozza or another one of today's better LA pizzerias, it wouldn't be that great. Nostalgia has a way of having us remember things to be better than they really were.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          Nope

                          1. re: Thor123

                            What do you mean? Do you agree with me, or not?

                            1. re: josephnl

                              There will never be another LaBabaras (unless we can acquire the recipe). If you dont know, you dont know.

                              1. re: Thor123

                                OMG! How amazingly suggestive can one be?
                                While making my weekend pizza, i was talking about this la Barbera thread as I tasked, not paying alot of attention to the pizza, talking instead, and when I pulled my pizza out of the oven I gasped, and was amazed that it looked so much like laB's!
                                I had poured on the cheese, and always just before baking, I sprinkle a little more cheese over my tomats etc., but this time I had totally covered them, and the toppings were all under the cheese, laB style. It tasted pretty much as I remembered their pizza and BOY! was it good!
                                My pizza is generally Napolitan, spare and crisper but lately
                                I've been putting on more cheese; this time much more.

                                 
                                 
              2. re: Servorg

                In this case no. I can appreciate different opinions re Dan Tanas etc, but La Barbaras was a religious experience. :)

                PS: Not intended to be an emotional or philosophical discussion. Your opinion is highly respected.

                1. re: Thor123

                  People have different religions (or no religion at all). It only becomes an issue when one side can't accept the religious (or non religious) differences of the other.

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Agreed, but had you been there a few times I am sure you would have been a convert.

                  2. re: Thor123

                    Come on! I loved La Barbera when I was 20 years old, a poor student, and had great times with friends enjoying a few beers and what we thought was very good pizza. I went there a lot, and have terrific memories of having a lot of fun there. The place was a great hangout with good vibes and food, but to say that eating there was "a religious experience"...give me a break!!

                    1. re: josephnl

                      "I'm not aware of too many things
                      I know what I know if you know what I mean
                      Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box
                      Religion is the smile on a dog"

                      Some drank the Kool Aid.

                      1. re: mc michael

                        Well she married a guy 30 years older so what does that say

                        1. re: jessejames

                          She should have eaten at La Barbera's?

                          1. re: mc michael

                            I guess metaphorically she does.

                            Kodachrome looks good to her.

                            1. re: jessejames

                              FWIW, it's a 24 year difference.

                              1. re: mc michael

                                Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians, for those who don't know the reference, was a very good group circa 1988 or so. Song "She" is excellent, and their first two albums are worth having.

                                I moved to L.A. (Westwood) late 1988. Never made it to La Barbera's. Wish I had.

            2. re: VenusCafe

              You are simply wrong.

              1. re: Thor123

                That's not possible since it's all personal opinion. And mine is I get the distinct feeling that, not unlike the fog of war, what we have here with La Barbera's is the fog of nostalgia. Nothing more powerful than nostalgia when it comes to magnifying positive feelings.

                1. re: Servorg

                  Nope, Venus is wrong.

                  1. re: Thor123

                    Tongue planted firmly in cheek? If not that is some powerful irony you're sharing. But at least you won't be anemic cause you probably have plenty more where that came from. ;-D>

                    1. re: Servorg

                      Also, is there a sexual innuendo that I am missing? Embarrassed, but have to ask.

                      1. re: Thor123

                        Not this time. Just wondered if you really meant what you wrote or, more likely, you were being humorously ironic for effect.

                        1. re: Servorg

                          Im not that funny. Really, really meant it.

                          1. re: Thor123

                            " Really, really meant it."

                            In that case I think you are badly underestimating the first part of your reply. Maybe not always intentionally funny, but damn funny nonetheless.

                  2. re: Servorg

                    I worked at La Barbera's and have not found a pizza that compares. Its not nostalgia. It is taste. It was the number 1 pizza in L.A. according to L.A. Magizine in the 70's. I have been searching for a pizza like it for years. I have eaten a lot of pizza while I have been looking.

                    1. re: DianeQT

                      "It was the number 1 pizza in L.A. according to L.A. Magazine in the 70's."

                      That's like saying "It was the best salumeria in the kosher district." Not very high praise since LA pizza was pretty much shite until a decade or so ago.

                      1. re: JeMange

                        What rock were you under in the 70's. Kids from UCLA going back east on breaks took stacks of La Barbera's pizza's with them. There were 6 dining rooms full all the time with a wait. People drove many miles to eat La Barbera's pizza's. They were just that good.

                        1. re: DianeQT

                          Erm, if you say so. Good luck with your search.

                          1. re: DianeQT

                            Right, and folks order Diane Salads by long distance from Green Street, but there are many other viable Chinese Chicken Salads about. And some not as sweet.
                            People also used to get Chasen's chili delivered overseas too, but whatever.
                            Before Coors went nationwide, college kids in faraway states would sell their souls to get Coors Beer as well.
                            I think Servorg has the proper take on this.

                            1. re: DianeQT

                              What made it a destination was that La Barbera's was the ONLY viable pizza in L.A. What made it really fun was that you always saw people you knew; the energy was fierce! Good CHEESE really elevated their pie. Generous, cheese melted all over the toppings. Most pizzas rise or fall on the cheese! Also La Barbera's had great variety.
                              But what made it unforgettable is that it was a community hang out place and was unique to the time. I enjoyed it, but refuse to overrate the pizza thirty years after the fact. As a regular, I was unhappy to see it close, but lack the need for nostalgia as we now enjoy many great pizzas in L.A....but regretably,not so many hang-outs. People were a lot more social then.

                              Think about trying the DeSano Pizza, Mother Dough, Larchmont Village Pizzeria or try La Monica's, which might be closest to La Barbera's.

                            2. re: JeMange

                              Not really. I would trade half the Neapolitan places in LA plus all the build-your-owns for one La Barbera's; And I love Neapolitan pizza.

                            3. re: DianeQT

                              I lived behind La Barbara's on Goshen Ave in the 70's. Ate there 3-4 times a week and never grew tired of it. Yes it was that darn good...

                              1. re: wienermobile

                                Did you eat anything other than pizza?

                                1. re: mc michael

                                  No, of course not! That would be a crime.

                              2. re: DianeQT

                                Diane, did you work in the kitchen or did you know someone who worked in the kitchen who could recreate a La Barbera's pizza today? Maybe it wouldn't lead to a new restaurant but I'll bet a one night only pop up restaurant serving real La Barbera's pizzas would be HUGE. What do you guys think?

                                1. re: bringiton

                                  I wish I did know someone. But I lost touch with the kitchen. I was a waitress and I loved working there. I think one of the sons of the oldest brother Joe LaBarbera is a chef. Joe passed away several years ago and he was the brother that started the restraurant. There were two other brothers Marion and Ronnie. The waiting area was the original store and it grew from there to 6 dinning rooms. Due to the popularity of the pizza.

                                  1. re: DianeQT

                                    This thread raises the question: why would a seemingly successful restaurant with a beloved product go out of business? Sure there could be an issue about the rent or availability of the premises. Sure the owners could be ageing and want to retire. But if the product is that good, why didn't someone buy the business and carry on?

                                    1. re: mc michael

                                      It didn't go out of business; The mini mall that is there now wanted La Barbera's in there, but they decided to retire, since the children had no interest in keeping it up. A real modern tragedy.

                                      1. re: Ogawak

                                        Thanks for the answer, sad though it may be. Guess they should have let Diane take over.

                                        1. re: mc michael

                                          My husband and I tried to talk Joe LaBarbera into franchising but he just didn't want too. I had the perfect location by Chaffey College. We already had frachises in B-B-Q restraurants. Love's Woodpit and frachises can be good for everyone.

                                          1. re: DianeQT

                                            Is Love's still around anywhere? I'll never understand why they folded. The food was superb.

                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                              It is a long story what happened to LOVE'S. The corporation was sold several times and each time the cash was taken out till there was none. Originally LOVE'S was part of I HOP and LOVE'S was making money but the pancake house wasn't so they used LOVE'S money to keep it going. Regulators took over I HOP and sold loves to Butterfield Savings and Butterfield spent like drunken sailors. I really liked our Short Ribs mmmmmm wish I still had recipe for the glaze.

                                              1. re: DianeQT

                                                mmmmmmmm, Love's baked beans.

                                                1. re: Novelli

                                                  Love's Baked Beans….Best ever...

                                                  1. re: wienermobile

                                                    Yes, they were baked very slowly overnight. Soooo good. Cole slaw dressing was made from scratch and best cole slaw. Everything was prepared on the premise. Until corp. started to bottle the sauce.

                                                    1. re: DianeQT

                                                      Did Love's change over time? I remember going a few times and did not think it was especially good. My recollection is that it was mediocre at best!

                                                      1. re: josephnl

                                                        No it was great what passes now is mediocre. The company owned stores weren't as good as the franchised stores. Before I was a franchisee I was a customer at the store by the Forum in Westchester, Ca. I had the one in San Bernardino, Ca.

                            4. re: Thor123

                              God Bless La Barbara's Pizza RIP

                            5. re: VenusCafe

                              Agree completely. When I was at UCLA in the late 60's we often had pizza at La Barberas. We loved it...but compared to some of the excellent pizza available today (Mozza, Ortica, Sotto, etc.), LaB was fun, but not great pizza!

                            6. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/509802

                              1. Sadly, there is no place in LA like La Barbera's. It was a unique pizza experience. This question comes up a lot. There are many posts here that discuss La Barbera's with people offering alternatives that really don't pan out.

                                1. summarizing the TL;DR: bunch of boomers who went to UCLA in the 60/70s miss some pizza joint from 1975, when US was all about TV dinners and crap dried cheese.

                                  right.

                                  i'll take half of Stella Barra, half of Olio, and another whole one from Settebello.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: TonyC

                                    Did you ever experience La Barbera's pizza personally?

                                    1. re: Ernie

                                      I did almost daily for 8 years. Still looking for one as good.

                                    2. re: TonyC

                                      ....and you would be missing out big time.

                                      1. re: Thor123

                                        It's not nostalgia that makes everyone still lust after LaBarbara's Pizza. It truely was really really great pizza…..

                                        1. re: wienermobile

                                          I moved to the west side in 1973 and had pizza exactly once from LaB's...so I won't say if it was good, bad or indifferent. Because truthily enough, I don't recall. But my wife lived in the neighborhood and went to Uni (walked to and from most days) and went to LaB's all the time with her H.S. girlfriends. She told me they all thought it was good, but nothing they craved or thought was fantastic. They went because it was one of the places they hung out as a group.

                                      2. re: TonyC

                                        If you never went, then you can't postulate. Bringing Stella barra into this makes that assessment sound foolish. Wow.

                                      3. Loved La Barbera's. Grew up in WLA in the 60's and I really did miss it when I went away to grad school in the midwest. The only place that I have found to be similar, is Filippi's down in SD. They are a family chain down in SD and serve the old style pizza. Can't really comment on the authenticity of the pizza, except for the kids in my class whose parents were Italian, went to La Barbara's

                                        1. Does anyone have any photos of La Barbara's or their food? I can't find a single one in all of cyberspace. Please post them if you can.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: wienermobile

                                            This blog post (either scroll down quite a ways or do a word search for La Babera's) talks about La Barbera's and has a photo of a pizza, but I didn't notice an attribution of whose pizza is pictured, so I'm not sure: http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/2012_09...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              Thanks so much Servorg but I don't believe that is a photo of a La Barbara's pizza. My quest continues…..

                                              1. re: wienermobile

                                                I gave my friend who was my roommate in the 70's a framed La Barbara's menu. I'll see if I can talk him into opening up the frame so I can scan it and post it here….

                                                1. re: wienermobile

                                                  I use to have a menu around here some place I will look for it. I have a wine menu here somewhere too.

                                                  1. re: DianeQT

                                                    If you find it please post it…thanks.

                                                    1. re: wienermobile

                                                      I will I use to have enough of them to paper my kitchen. Thats what I was going to do.

                                                    2. re: DianeQT

                                                      I'm preparing for reverse sticker shock on the prices.