Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Observations and Rants: The LA Pizza Scene As Of July 2012

Recently I've noticed I've had a ton of pizza opinions. Parties, work meetings, cousin's graduations - no matter the venue, I've found myself discussing my thoughts on the Los Angeles 'za situation. I feel like it's time to get my observations and rants out in the open, so (thanks to the inspiration provided by fellow blogger MidtownLunchLA and his monthly "7 Reasons to Hate L.A. series") here is my first installment of Observations and Rants: The LA Pizza Scene...

- People have praised Pizzanista for a while now. Hell, they were recently featured in Los Angeles magazine. Since I don't live anywhere near the downtown location, I wasn't able to make it out there until this past weekend and must admit I was sorely disappointed. Sure the pizza isn't horrible, but that meatball pie you see? A whopping $27! You simply cannot charge that much for a ho-hum pizza even if you throw on homemade meatballs and a little grana padano. It doesn't work that way. Also, unlike the half white pie/half meat pizza atop the post from Vito's, if you're charging that much you should be able to blame "rent." But Pizzanista is in skid row-adjacent. I will not return.

- Hollywood Pies makes a quality Chicago deep dish. Give it a try.

- I really dig 800 Degrees. Very affordable, quality Neapolitan pizza for the masses. But, you need to have more than one Coke Freestyle machine, guys. Sandwich haven All About the Bread has the same problem. Look, the machines are cool. I like being able to concoct previously unknown flavor combinations and even combine stuff, but you can't have a single soda machine when you are a thriving restaurant. Especially on a college campus where the undergrads are fucking thirsty and total freeloaders that cannot say no to multiple refills.

- Pitfire Pizza is a great spot that serves up some tasty pizza with an even greater ambiance, yet despite 11 featured pizzas on the menu and specials, I often find myself seeking more options. Just a suggestion: add a few new pies to the regular menu.

- Stella Rossa isn't an upper echelon pizza spot. Stop trying to convince me otherwise. That picture there is of the Rosa from Phoenix's Pizzeria Bianco, the spot you are clearly trying to emulate. Keep trying.

- Pizzeria Mozza still offers the city's best pizza lunch special, but the Beverly Hills locations of Mulberry Street Pizza provide a good deal on Mondays and Tuesdays as well. Nine dollars gets you two cheese slices, a decent sized caesar or house salad and a drink. 

- The Milo + Olive garlic knot is the garlic knot that every other LA garlic knot must now hope to live up to...

- And finally the Los Angeles Pizza Rankings, as of July 2012, Mozza still makes LA's best. And it's still not even close. Followed by Milo + Olive, Vito's and Village.


  1. Re: 800 Degrees - We have a "fucking" alert. We're on "fucking" alert here, people.

  2. Super picky pizza eater who lived in NYC and New England for over a decade. Here's my take on the places you mentioned.

    Hollywood Pies and Mozza are the best I've had in LA. Pitfire is a step below, but still reliably excellent and my go-to place. I would place Stella Rossa on the same level.

    Vito's, Joe's, and Mulberry Street are excellent street slices.

    800 Degrees is... disappointing. Pies are soggy even when you order them "crisp" and the crust needs flavor from something other than char. Maybe I was unlucky, but this place just made me miss Antica even more.

    Milo & Olive should be outstanding, but their oven doesn't get hot enough for pizza, and they're oddly resistant to requests for "well done/extra crispy."

    BTW, have you tried Sotto yet? My buddy and I were there the other day for Porcetto and the pizzas looked outstanding.

  3. PS: I haven't tried Pizzanista, but based on the the pics here and on Yelp their pies looks undercooked. Typical California blond crust.

  4. Bigmouth, I agree with you on most of this. Sotto would definitely be next on my rankings list. Fortunately haven't had the same experience at M+O though and have been impressed every time.

    1. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love Milo and Olive. I used to live a couple of blocks up the street until recently and was a regular there almost weekly. The crispy duck leg and chicken meatballs, in particular, are to die for, and I polished off many a pork-belly sausage pizza. But I found the pies benefited immensely from a few minutes on the pizza stone at my oven's highest temp.

      I spoke with some folks and found out M&O cooks their pizzas at around 600 degrees for ten minutes. That's a little low and slow for pizza to begin with (compare that to 800 Degrees). But to be frank, I have a hard time believing their oven is that hot. My oven only goes to around 500 degrees, and I get a nice char on the crust in less than half that time. And like I said, I've asked for my pies "extra crispy" and had my request denied.

  5. Give Xlixe in Little Tokyo a shot. The New Yorker pie is a personal favorite.

    1. Thanks for the rec. Definitely will check it out next time I'm in that area.

  6. The LA Pizza Scene is really fantastic. I am a first reader of your informative blog. Truly I can say that I am going to become mad to get such a pizza. Really I can say that this article is so helpful to me. Thanks and keep it up...
    pizza blog

    1. Thanks for the kind words and checking out the blog.

  7. The first picture made my heart melt in desire! I so love pepperoni and tons of pizza sauce in my slice! I'm a regular customer of johnny s ny pizza in Cary NC, but I might give this one a try soon. Totally perfect.

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