Nice report @PorkyBelly. I regret looking, now I need to go back.
By now Pizzeria Mozza is an old stalwart; a comfortable place that I sometimes take for granted… until I try some of the newer Pizza joints and then go back to Mozza to compare.
The first entry by Chef Nancy Silverton on the corner of Melrose & Highland that would eventually spawn Osteria Mozza and Chi SPACCA, along with Mozza 2 Go (which led Jonathan Gold to dub the whole grouping the “Mozzaplex”), Pizzeria Mozza was one of my first eye-opening experiences with Pizza.
Cauliflower Fritti (with Spicy Mint Aioli):
Delicious. The Cauliflower is already seasoned / studded with an herb & spice mix and then fried to a tender density, but still having some body to each bite.
Bacon, Salame, Fennel Sausage, Guanciale, Tomato & Mozzarella Pizza:
Taking a bite of the Pizza, and we’re instantly reminded of why we love Pizzeria Mozza so much. It’s the flavorful, crispy-crunchy base and crust. It doesn’t get super wet and soggy in the middle (it’s not Neapolitan style), but it’s Nancy Silverton & Mozza’s own unique style and it is fantastic!
The toppings on this one are wonderfully, deeply savory: I really liked the combination of the zesty Meatballs with the porky salinity of the Bacon and Salame. And the Guanciale is just magical here, giving it a great fragrant porcine undercurrent.
Meatballs, Mozzarella di Bufala, Tomato, Chili Flakes & Fresh Oregano Pizza:
Thanks to @PorkyBelly for this recommendation. We enjoyed the well spiced Meatballs with a bit of heat from the Chili Flakes, sweetness of the Tomatoes and the light, fragrant Fresh Oregano.
It’s always fun watching the staff prepping and cooking up these magical pies in the wood burning oven.
Fried Squash Blossoms with Ricotta:
These had a nice crunch, and Pizzeria Mozza used to be one of the earliest restaurants we remember enjoying these at. I’d agree with @PorkyBelly that these days it’s taken a step back. Still tasty, nice crunch, but a touch oily and not as good as before.
Lasagne Al Forno:
Since @PorkyBelly @frommtron were asking about it, we decided to force ourselves to not order a Pizza in order to try one of their Daily Specials, the Lasagne Al Forno.
It was very good: I liked the Tomato Sauce and the vegetal taste of the Verde Sauce. Nice bits of meat and melted, delicious Cheese, baked in their wood-burning oven.
I think I liked it as much as Angelini Osteria’s Lasagna (different flavors, but general enjoyment factor).
Is it good enough to make us give up Pizzeria Mozza’s Pizza?
Fennel Sausage, Panna, Mozzarella, Red Onions & Scallions Pizza:
My absolute favorite Pizza at Mozza: Their Fennel Sausage is meaty, porky and fragrant from the Fennel infusion. It provides the salinity and is balanced with the melty Panna Cheese, the aromatic, Spring-like thin-sliced Scallions, Red Onions and then topped with Fennel Pollen.
It’s not overly salty, not too heavy and just SO GOOD!
And that perfect crunchy-crispy crust and bottom. It is my favorite pie overall.
Butterscotch Budino (Maldon Sea Salt & Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies):
Probably Nancy Silverton & Mozza’s most famous Dessert from the Mozzaplex, it was one of the first of the new wave of chef-driven restaurants to have this sweet & salty combination (and it spawned a bunch of imitators over the years). It is still unmistakably creamy, luscious and indeed still has that fragrant Butterscotch sweet + Maldon Sea Salt salinity which makes it irresistible.
But I would say, like @PorkyBelly we like Felix’s Budino more.
The Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies were so fragrant and delicious as well.
(NEW) Meyer Lemon, Aglio e Olio, Ricotta, Anchovy, Parmigiano & Fried Parsley Pizza:
We wanted to try something out of our comfort zone and something new, so we ended up with this order. First, the Pizza was actually rather light in taste: You would think “Anchovy” = “Really Salty / Briny” but actually it was quite balanced.
There was judicious use of the Anchovies, so it never overpowered the slice, but provided enough saltiness to match the Ricotta. The Garlic and Olive Oil added a fragrance and delicious luscious factor and the Fried Parsley and Meyer Lemon rind portion added some herbal and bitter notes, respectively.
I don’t know if we’d order it again, but it wasn’t bad. Just different, with the amazing, delicious crust again.
BLT: Bacon, Guanciale, Onion Cream, Roasted Tomatoes, Rucola & Aioli Pizza:
This was a wilder looking Pizza. Initially, yes, we were thinking this might give some FTC’ers some bad flashbacks to “Salad Pizza” , but actually the Arugula worked quite well.
Beneath the crazy looking green topping (with Aioli on top of that), is a wonderful base of the awesome Mozza Pie Crust (crispy, firm and crunchy) - SO GOOD! - with porky bites of Bacon and Guanciale, then some sweetness from the in-season farmers market Cherry Tomatoes (baked and cooked down to a tender consistency), mixed with the Onion Cream base. Then the bitterness of the Rucola kicks in and balances this out a bit.
Overall, Pizzeria Mozza continues to belt out some of the best Pizzas in So Cal, and at least for us, is easily our favorite pies in town. Chef-Owner Nancy Silverton’s extended time developing this unique Pizza Crust (from before its Grand Opening over a decade ago) has paid dividends to this day:
There’s a reason @PorkyBelly @lapizzamaven and others enjoy this place so much. The unique, wonderfully tasty Pizza crust and base is the key to Mozza’s creations and enjoyment: It actually tastes delicious on its own, and is a firm, crunchy-crispy finish. It’s addictive and standout from the competition for this reason.
Then add in the creative toppings and fresh, farmers market ingredients and you have awesome baked happiness.
641 N Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 297-0101
(Also in Newport Beach)