Monday, November 11, 2013

New Favorites: South End

Venice's new South End may advertise itself as a "European-style wine bar and cafe," but don't be fooled. South End is for pizza - slinging out some of the westside's best pies. Sure, there are a few salads, cheese and charcuterie plates and "tartes" (also known as a flatbreads/pizzas at other joints) and they even offer some nice vino varietals. The menu though is dominated by pizza and the reason South End has been popping since inception at the corner of Abbot Kinney and Washington Blvd. Is this place Mozza? Not exactly. Yet it shares three very important characteristics with the vaunted Melrose restaurant: 1) A former Mozza chef (Frank Fermin), 2) A tiny space (making the spot always busy and reservations in demand) and 3) Top notch crust. The sourdough-ish crust is also topped with fine, fresh, local ingredients. South End is also the complete opposite of that other schmancy Abbot Kinney pizza spot, Gjelina. No cold shoulder, I'm attractive, so I can just sorta treat you however here. At South End, you're immediately welcomed with a firm handshake and smile from co-owner Mario Vollera. And that personality shines in the pizzas. Especially the Venus (Roma tomatoes, salami, mozzarella, Fresno chilies and red onion) and the Winward (spinach, garlic, black pepper and Fontina and Piave cheeses). Definitely a welcomed addition to the westside pizza scene.

South End
2805 Abbot Kinney Blvd (entrance off Washington), Venice

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