THE TOP TEN Pizzas In Los Angeles
Swan Fungus (http://www.swanfungus.com) explores the various pizza options in Los Angeles (a decidedly bad city for pizza) and formulates a list of the ten best pies in the city.
Swan Fungus (http://www.swanfungus.com) explores the various pizza options in Los Angeles (a decidedly bad city for pizza) and formulates a list of the ten b... more
Casa Bianca - Holy crap. This is definitely the best pizza I’ve had in Los Angeles. The sauce is amazing, it even has a little kick to it! The pies are cross-cut in super-weird shapes that make it impossible to tell how much you’ve eaten (about half an extra-large pie? Two-thirds? ). The crust was perfect. I didn’t get a glimpse of their ovens, but I’m sure they’re majestic and awesome. Jesus Christ, the smell alone is enough to make your stomach growl and yearn for sustenence. It was $17.38 for the pie, and I will gladly pay that much for Casa Bianca pizza for as long as I continue to live in Los Angeles. You seriously have to try it if you have not already, it will change the way you think about Los Angeles pizza.
Folliero’s - This guy came into the store and started talking to one of my co-workers about “the old neighborhood” (Highland Park), and he mentioned how Foliero’s was still the same, all the same people worked there, and the pizza was still great. All I needed to hear was “pizza,” and I was sold. The guy said that at Foliero’s, they meld New York and Chicago styles, by creating a thin-crust pie with toppings buried under the sauce and cheese. The first slice of pizza I had from Foliero’s filled me with hope that not all the pizza in Los Angeles sucked. The second pie I had was not as good as the first, but it was good enough to catapult Foliero’s almost to the top of the list. Actually, it was the top of the list until last night.
Masa - Their Chicago-style pizza is phenomenal. You have to give them an hour to prepare it, so I usually call them before I leave work and place my order, then show up an hour later, sit down and eat it. It’s like magic, I tell you! I get the traditional (sausage and mushroom), but they do five styles or a build-your-own pie. Great sauce, excellent crust, seasoned perfectly…it’s really a marvelous pizza. To top it off, the warm bread they give you when you sit down is fantastic. As if eating a deep dish pizza isn’t enough, you can fill up on bread first for an ultimate carb-packed dinner.
Mr. Pizza Factory - As far as weirdness goes, Mr. Pizza Factory probably blows all the other area pizza joints out of the water. Located in Koreatown, they’ve completely reinvented pizza in some absurd Asian tradition I could never begin to understand. It’s delicious too. Their website doesn’t make a lick of sense (”Love for women?”) and the “Order Online” function has never worked as far as I know, but you really should go there and try it out sometime if you live in the city. Their pies are enormous, and the toppings and premium pizzas are otherworldly. You can get a cheese-stuffed crust, a “gold crust” (which has a sweet potato mousse baked into it), or a “nude” crust (no crust at all). Nicci swears by the Potato Gold, which is topped with potatos, cheddar cheese, nacho chips, bacon and sour cream with the sweet potato mousse crust. I just go for the meat lovers with a cheese-stuffed crust. Their pies last for days. I’m telling you, if these slanty-eyed goombah-wannabes could learn about pizza sauce, they might turn themselves into the best pizza in town.
Il Capriccio Pizzeria - This place, like Hard Times, is a victim of the slightly-overpriced bug. I guess this is a common theme amongst non-chain pizzerias in Los Angeles, because those places offering pizza pies probably feel like they’re selling such a hot commodity they’re entitled to jack up the price without any recourse. It’s not really like there’s that much variety when it comes to LA pizza. The pizzerias are probably all colluding with one another. Anyway, Il Capriccio is pretty good! I went there for the first time right when I moved out here because Steve recommended it. It wasn’t bad! They’ve got a decent wood burning oven and they kind of know what they’re doing as far as the dough/sauce/topping paradigm is concerned. I like it. I haven’t been there in ages, but I like it.
Nicky D’s - Perhaps known more for that hideous sign outside than the food, Nicky D’s is another wood-fired pizza joint that provides a better-than-average Los Angeles pizza. I don’t know that it’s “A slice of NYC pizza transplanted from Times Square,” but it’s good. Large pies can cost as much as $22, but their individual pies are more affordable and still provide a suitable meal. Good sauce, good crust, but not revelatory.
Tomato Pie Pizza Joint - I like Tomato Pie. Nicci and I ate at the Silverlake location on one of their first nights in business, and the owner treated us kindly and seemed to know a bit about good pizza. I’m pretty sure he’s a transplanted New Yorker, but the style of pizza isn’t quite New York style. Lately I’ve been digging the Mr. White pizza, which I add spicy Italian sausage to for a bit of a kick. Their tomato, basil and olive oil pie is delicious (I don’t remember if that’s the Grandma Pizza or not), the dough as a bit thinner and crispier than Hard Times, and the sauce is better. Although a contender, it is still not quite in the same league as some of the higher-ranked pizzerias.
Andiamo - A lot of people I know have been raving about Andiamo lately, and it even cracked a few area Best of 2008 lists. I’ve been there once (I ordered the Signore Roberto) and it was pretty good. Like many places in LA, Andiamo is an Italian restaurant that just happens to devote menu space to pizza. It’s not a pizzaria. In that regard, it can’t truly be in contention for the best pizza in the city. Pizza is like an afterthought in Italian restaurants. You either begin one with the intention of focusing on pizza (see: Foliero’s, Casa Bianca) or you don’t (see: a billion other places like Andiamo in LA).
Hard Times Pizza Co. - Pat and Nate claim that this is the best pizza in the Echo Park/Silverlake/Los Feliz area, but I haven’t been convinced of its greatness yet. Plus, they’re from Boston, so what the hell do they know about good pizza? I’ve ordered from Hard Times two or three times recently, and although I was satisfied, I’m simply not impressed by their pizzeria. The folks who answer the phone always sound like they couldn’t care what you want, when you show up they look completely overwhelmed by even a moderate-sized clientele, and to top it all off, it’s a bit overpriced. Their crust is too doughy and the sauce has no zip. Even so, it’s actually worthy of an 8th-place ranking. It just goes to show how bad the pizza here is…
Deano’s - I know it’s hypocritical that the first place on my list is a gourmet-style pizza, but the fact is, Sari used to work there and I got free pies whenever I picked her up from work (sometimes two or three times a week) so I’ve had plenty of experience consuming their pizza. Yeah, it’s in The Grove, but it’s actually not that bad. I recommend the Bar-B-Q Chicken pie, Buffalo Chicken, Alfredo Pesto Shrimp & Garlic, or my personal favorite, the Spicy Latin Pepperoni, which has enough spicy chorizo to satisfy even a chorizo nut like me. I never paid for a pie so I don’t remember how expensive they are. I also haven’t had one in almost a year, because Sari eventually got fired for giving away (to me primarily) too many free pies. Oops!
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