Cheesy, Savory, Delicious! Meat Lovers, Vegetarian and Vegan! A Pizza Journey - Superfine, Il Romanista, DeSano, Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn, Pizzeria Mozza, South End, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Prime, Lupetti, Triple Beam and More! [Thoughts + Pics]

I’ve sometimes wondered why we haven’t gone on a Pizza Journey before. A Fried Chicken Journey? Yes! Tacos? Definitely. Chicken Pho? Sure, why not. :slight_smile: But trying a bunch of places making that round baked dough known as Pizza? We never had that inclination. Until now. And now that it’s over? I know why we’ve never tried this before. :stuck_out_tongue:

But first, a caveat: This is in no way a comprehensive bang x bang of all the Pizza places in L.A. I think this might represent only 0.00000000001% of the actual number of restaurants that serve Pizza. :sweat_smile: In hindsight, if we had @J_L and @PorkyBelly along, this thread might’ve represented 50% of the places, but maybe next time. :slight_smile:

Really this began because the number of bookmarks we had on noteworthy Pizza places mentioned in news articles or on FTC grew so unmanageable that we felt it was time to round up as many friends as possible and go forth!

Triple Beam Pizza


Full caveat: We and most of our friends are huge fans of Chef Nancy Silverton (of Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, La Brea Bakery fame).

So when we read about Triple Beam Pizza opening up last year, a joint venture between Chef Nancy Silverton, Matt Molina (former Executive Chef of Mozza) and a few other partners, we bookmarked it immediately.

Triple Beam Pizza’s claim to fame is serving Roman-Style Pizza, by weight. You choose however much Pizza you want, the servers will cut that size / slice from a large rectangular block of Roman-Style Pizza and charge you by how much it weighs.

The flavors offered seemed fascinating and we were excited to try it (only one in our group had been here before).

The one thing I was worried about was seeing all of those giant slabs of Pizza sitting there: Surely it might be cold or lukewarm? Would it reheat OK?

When you buy your slices, they will reheat it in the oven and bring it out to you.

Acorn Squash Pizza (Roasted Acorn Squash, Cacio di Roma, “Piccantissimo”, Honey):

The first thing most of us noticed when trying our first bite of Triple Beam Pizza: The chewier, thicker dough / crust. I’m no expert with Roman-Style Pizza, but this dough was certainly thicker, almost like a Pan Pizza from Pizza Hut, except much chewier.

It was also lukewarm / cool, despite seeing the server leave with our slices and bring them back a few minutes later. :frowning:

Acorn Squash sounded interesting, but turned out to be a bit too sweet.

Mushroom Pizza (Mixed Mushrooms, Fontina, Black Truffle Cheese, Sage):

This was more fragrant, more full of flavor, but we couldn’t really taste much true Black Truffle flavor coming through. It was also lukewarm (everyone’s slices), and the dough was still this level of hefty chew that detracted from our enjoyment. :frowning:

Spinach & Feta Pizza (Spinach, Feta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Chives):

Lukewarm-cool. The Spinach and Feta flavor combination was tasty, but the temperature and dough was just not sitting well with me (nor any of our friends).

Pepperoni Pizza (Pepperoni, Tomato, Mozzarella, Oregano, Extra Virgin Olive Oil):

Pretty average tasting Pepperoni, same lukewarm-nearly cold Pizza, really doughy and not that appetizing.

Sausage with 5 Lilies Pizza (Scallions, Leeks, Onions, Chives, Fontina):

This turned out to be everyone’s favorite flavor on this visit. I loved the combination of the Scallions, Leeks, Onions, Chives with Sausage and Fontina.

This was pretty disappointing, but we were hoping it might’ve been an off-day, so off we went for another visit later.

2nd Visit:

Potato & Chorizo (Roasted Potato, Spanish Chorizo, Jalapeno, Mozzarella, Rosemary, Chili Flakes):

First bite? Lukewarm. Again. :expressionless: The dough / crust was still this chewier, heftier base that just isn’t something I like. :frowning:

The flavors were interesting: Here, Spanish Chorizo, Roasted Potatoes and Jalapeno combine to make a really spicy flavor combination that isn’t as common on most Pizzas.

Pep & Shroom (Pepperoni, Mixed Mushrooms, Tomato, Mozzarella, Oregano, “Piccantissimo”):

To make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I asked our friends and everyone agreed their Pizzas were all lukewarm-to-cool. :frowning: At this point, we all got up and brought our remaining slices back to the counter and asked them to please heat up the slices again.

They came back out a few minutes later, and this time, finally after 3 tries, did we get Pizza that was actually hot (barely). :frowning:

The Pep and Shroom Pizza was fine. Their Pepperoni are not the “grease chalices” that @Ns1 and others have shown from the places in NY. While the heat helped, the dough was still the same as before.

Pepperoni Pizza (Pepperoni, Tomato, Mozzarella, Oregano, Extra Virgin Olive Oil):

Even worse than our 1st visit, the Pepperoni Pizza was pretty average-tasting. There was nothing that stood out to make this noteworthy from a bunch of other places. With the thicker, chewier dough it was even worse than many places around town.

Sausage with 5 Lilies Pizza (Scallions, Leeks, Onions, Chives, Fontina):

As tasty as the 1st visit for toppings. This was definitely everyone’s favorite still.

Asparagus Pizza:

I love Asparagus, but this was just bland. :frowning:

Triple Beam Pizza is a great idea: Make a fast-casual Pizza place, where customers can walk up, choose how big a slice of Pizza they want, and it’ll be cut to order. You pay by how much it weighs. The price also seems really fair for the amount of food we got. Unfortunately, the Roman-Style Pizza served here is nowhere near the pinnacle of tastiness (dough, crust, flavor and toppings) compared to Chef-Owner Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina’s previous endeavor (Pizzeria Mozza). It is a totally different style to be sure, but this heftier, thicker, chewier Pizza base ends up being not a style or taste that we liked at all. :cry: (And for this journey, Triple Beam turned out to be everyone’s least favorite joint.)

Triple Beam Pizza
5918 N Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Tel: (323) 545-3534

https://www.triplebeampizza.com/

Il Romanista


To make sure it wasn’t just Roman-Style Pizza that we didn’t like, off we headed to Il Romanista, the first Roman-Style Pizzeria in L.A. Opened by Luigi Roditis, walking in, you see much larger rectangular sheets of Roman-Style Pizza and a lot more flavors than Triple Beam.

It’s a similar setup in that you choose whichever flavor you want and they will cut it to order and then heat it up in the oven for you. However, they have a preset minimum size per slice, whereas at Triple Beam you could choose as small a slice as you want (we saw one person ahead of us ask for about a 2" slice).

La Bandiera Pizza (Mozzarella, Roasted Zucchini, Roasted Bell Peppers, Pecorino Romano DOP, Ricotta, Spinach):

Taking a bite…

Wow! First, it’s actually piping hot (unlike the disappointing lukewarm temp at Triple Beam), the flavors in the La Bandiera were wonderful! I loved the fragrant, delicate nature of the Roasted Zucchini, Bell Peppers, Spinach combining nicely with the Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano and Ricotta. :blush:

And then you hit the bottom crust and you’re greeted with this incredible crunch! :heart:

It’s cheesy, light, delicate, piping hot, not overly greasy, and it has a great crunchy bottom! SO GOOD! :heart:

Crostino Americano Pizza (Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Sausage, Parmigiano Reggiano DOP):

Piping hot as well! I loved their combination of Sausage, Mushrooms with the delicate funk from the Parmigiano Reggiano and melty Mozzarella, and then you get that incredible crunchy crust yet again! :heart:

By this point, everyone in our group had all smiles. :slight_smile:

Palatino Pizza (Mozzarella, Mushrooms, Provolone, Porcini Mushrooms, Parsley):

Serious Mushroom Lovers Pizza here: The combination of their mix of Mushrooms with Porcini, Mozzarella and Provolone, with Parsley was just perfect. :blush:

And piping hot, crunchy crust. Loved this! :heart:

Calabrese Pizza (Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Spicy Soppressata):

While the Spicy Soppressata could’ve been crisper, this was still delicious: As with all the other slices, piping hot, incredible crunchy crust, nice Cheese and Tomato Sauce combination (their Tomato Sauce isn’t too tart, nor too sweet), and the porcine flavors shine through with the Soppressata. Tasty. :heart:

We had to make sure this wasn’t a fluke, because this was so good.

2nd Visit:

La Verde Viola Pizza (Mozzarella, Zucchini, Eggplant, Provolone, Oregano, Olive Oil):

Another great slice, with the Eggplant adding a softer, earthier component to the melting Mozzarella, herbal Oregano, and great crunchy base. :slight_smile:

I Due Porcellini Pizza (Pancetta, Sausage, Mozzarella):

Delicious. The Sausage and Pancetta worked well together; it wasn’t overly salty. Piping hot and crunchy bottom completed this great slice! :heart:

Rosso Vegana Pizza (Tomato Sauce, Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper, Parsley) (Vegan):

One pleasant surprise is that Il Romanista offers up 4-5 Vegan Pizza choices, not relying on fake meats. The Rosso Vegana was full of flavor. Their Tomato Sauce (already nicely balanced) served as the perfect backdrop for the Mushrooms, Kalamata Olives, Red Pepper and Parsley. As with the other slices, it arrived hot, and with the same great crunchy crust. :slight_smile:

In the battle of the 2 Roman-Style Pizza joints, Il Romanista was so far ahead of Triple Beam it wasn’t even close. Every single one of our friends chose Il Romanista. I also confirmed that with all of the slices we ordered from everyone, 100% of the slices all arrived piping hot, with a gorgeous, crunchy crust.

In both of our visits, we enjoyed every single flavor we tried, the flavors, temperature, crunchy crust all combined to make Il Romanista a place I’d be glad to return to again and again. We’re still beating ourselves up for not stopping by sooner (consider how close it is to the Westside)! A huge thanks to @President_Mochi @Bigmouth @aaqjr attran99 @JeetKuneBao @js76wisco @ipsedixit and others for this rec!

Il Romanista
829 North Douglas St.
El Segundo, CA 90245
Tel: (310) 616-3111

Lupetti

Lupetti is a relatively newer place, recommended by @ipsedixit, and makers of Brooklyn Style Pizza (that’s foldable). That alone made it stand out compared to the rest of the places we tried on this journey.

Located in the heart of Little Tokyo, the small corner space has terrible parking (limited), but once you’re inside, it’s like a total mini-haven from the outside hustle & bustle, as Lupetti has a completely ivy-covered enclosed patio & dining room that’s surprisingly spacious.

Whole 18" Pizza - Half Pepperoni, Half Margarita:

Pepperoni (Pepperoni, Pecorino, Dry Mozzarella, Grana Padano, Tomato, Olive Oil):

The pie arrived rather pale. Picking up a slice, this was indeed foldable, with an OK Pepperoni flavor. The Pepperoni was rather soft and chewy / meaty, and not really crisped at all, but it was fine for some of our friends (they preferred it that way).

Margarita (Fresh Mozz, Pecorino, Grana Padano, Tomato, Basil, Olive Oil):

Their Margarita was better. It was nice that every slice had Basil on it (unlike some places on our journey). It was cheesy, stretchy, and tasted like a solid, foldable Brooklyn style slice.

Lupetti
710 E 4th Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tel: (213) 415-1938

https://www.lupettipizzeria.com/

Prime Pizza (Little Tokyo)

Just a couple blocks away - and perfect for our Pizza Journey (to try and burn a few calories) :wink: - was the 2nd branch of Prime Pizza, from the ownership group that brought us Golden State Cafe and Cofax. There have been mixed reports about Prime, but we wanted to finally try it out.

As with quite a few places on this journey, Prime offers Pizza by the Slice (as well as whole pies).

Pepperoni (Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella, Pepperoni):

The slice is reheated, arriving hot. The Pepperoni was crisped up, but the whole slice looked rather dry (our friends’ orders were all the same). We also arrived around 11:45 a.m., so it was prime Lunch Hour, so that wasn’t an excuse for Prime.

Taking a bite… there was a very familiar, typical Pepperoni taste. It was indeed a bit dryish, the slice was bendable, but not soggy, but the crust had very little flavor (compared to many other places). :frowning:

Grandma (Our Classic Brooklyn Square with Mozzarella and Grandma Sauce):

Prime serves 2 types of Square Pizzas by the slice, what they call Brooklyn Squares. The Grandma is a thick dough base, but it has a slight crunch to it (and more enjoyable than Triple Beam). The Grandma Sauce and melted Mozzarella make for that classic flavor combination that one might associate with Pizza growing up.

Sicilian (Mozzarella, Ricotta, Pesto, Crushed Tomatoes):

Like the Grandma, this is a square slice, thicker than their regular Pizzas. And it was delicious! I loved the Pesto, Ricotta, Crushed Tomatoes and Mozzarella combination. It also arrived piping hot, with a slight crunchy toasty bottom. This was our favorite on this visit.

2nd Visit:

Prime Pizza (Fairfax)

This time we stopped by the OG location on Fairfax, to see if that made a difference.

Much better! The Pepperoni were crisped up better, the slice was piping hot and the flavors seemed to combine in a much more pleasing way, just the right amount of salt, fat, tart and sweet. :slight_smile: This was a pretty good Pepperoni Pizza and was our current front runner to this point.

Sicilian (Mozzarella, Ricotta, Pesto, Crushed Tomatoes):

As flavorful as before: The Housemade Pesto provides little flavor bombs and just matches the blend of melted Mozzarella and Ricotta and Crushed Tomatoes.

Prime Pizza seems to be a better executed Pizza at their original Fairfax location: The Pepperoni is crispy, the slice isn’t as dryish as the Little Tokyo location. The melding of flavors seems to be more on point as well. The Sicilian (their interpretation of a Brooklyn Square Pie) is a standout and we’d be glad to stop by in the future if we’re in the neighborhood.

(2 Locations)

Prime Pizza (Original)
446 N. Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 852-1188

Prime Pizza
141 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 256-0011

https://primepizza.la/

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele

The Pizzeria from Italy made famous by “Eat Pray Love” has opened up a branch here in L.A., in the heart of Hollywood. Walking into the space, it feels very much like a sleek new L.A. rather than something transported from Naples, Italy.

But around the corner and all the way in the back, you’ll finally arrive at where the pizzaiolo is making the pies:

Cavoletti di Bruxelles (Sauteed Brussels Sprouts, 'Nduja, Castelrosso):

Delicious! In the middle of this crazy carb overload, maybe that colored our enthusiasm, but the Sauteed Brussels Sprouts were nicely cooked, the 'Nduja was mainly for flavor than actual substance, but it imparted a nice spicy, porcine backnote to each bite. :slight_smile:

Montanara Pizza (Fried and Baked Pizza, Tomato, Smoked Mozzarella, Basil):

This was definitely unique, the frying of the Pizza gave it a crunchy fried texture in every bite. The Tomato, Smoked Mozzarella and Basil combination was welcome and familiar. If there was one complaint, it’s that all of us enjoyed 1 slice, but didn’t feel like we needed to eat more of it after. Still quite tasty. :slight_smile:

Margherita Pizza (Tomato, Fior di Latte Cheese, Pecorino, Basil):

The first problem we had with this Pizza was the sloppy preparation: As you can see in the pic above, half the slices on this Pizza had No Basil. :frowning: 2 of the slices was mainly just Tomato Sauce with barely any Cheese. We don’t need some exact, neatly prepared, perfect-proportioned pie, but it just speaks to the sloppy nature of L’Antica here in L.A.

Adding to that sloppiness, in speaking with the pizzaiolo, he told us that his Pizzas “vary from 16 inches to 18 inches, depending on how it stretches.” That’s a rather large difference in diameter, but I guess it’s “rustic”?

In making a traditional Neapolitan Pizza, we know to expect a soupy center, and a soft, chewy crust and that’s what we got. Perhaps it’s supposed to be this soupy / soggy, but compared to Settebello, L’Antica’s Pizza was extremely wet (see pics above).

The crust had a nice chew (no crispness nor crunchiness). We all thought this tasted like a classic Margherita (for those of us that got Basil). Is it worth ~$26 ($20+tax & tip) for this Pizza? About half of our friends said “No way.” The rest of us felt it was pricey but probably worth it.

2nd Visit:

Marinara + Anchovies Pizza (Tomato, Oregano, Garlic + Anchovies):

Anchovies on Pizza can be polarizing: For some, they love the briny, salty aspect (which we normally adore). For others, it should never be on Pizza. :sweat_smile: Unfortunately in this case, the Anchovies used here are really one note, mainly just a massive Salt bomb, and it doesn’t really elevate this pie. :frowning: It’s still quite wet in the middle, but not the soupy lake that was our 1st visit’s Margherita.

Broccoli Ripassati (Sauteed Rapini, Olive Oil, Chili Flakes & Garlic):

The Rapini was way too old, leading to a very chewy(!) straightforward, muted flavor. You know there’s a problem when Garlic, Chili Flakes and Olive Oil can’t save it. :frowning:

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara (Spaghetti with Cured Pork, Egg Yolk, Pecorino):

Shockingly flavorless. :sob: It tasted mainly of a cheesy liquid (Pecorino and Egg Yolks). The Curd Pork was visibly there, but they were like little chewy erasers that were best left uneaten (and had about the same amount of flavor). :frowning: (A far cry from Leo’s legendary version.)

3rd Visit:

Pappardelle Alla Genovese (Homemade Pappardelle, Slow Cooked Short Rib, Onion):

L’Antica’s Homemade Pappardelle Alla Genovese is thankfully much better, with tender slivers of melt-in-your-mouth Slow Cooked Short Rib meat, cooked in a Tomato-based Sauce. It reminded me of a Bolognese. The Pappardelle was on the softer side, but overall this was a solid plate of Pasta. Unfortunately, in L.A. we’re blessed with some great Pasta dishes all over town, so while it was tasty, it wasn’t something we’d drive across town for.

Margherita + Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza (Tomato, Fior di Latte Cheese, Pecorino, Basil):

The sloppiness reared its ugly head again here, as some of the slices had a large portion of it with no Tomato Sauce (as seen above). :frowning:

The option to add Prosciutto and Arugula transformed the Pizza. The Prosciutto they source was fragrant, deeply porky and added a nice meatiness to the pie, nicely contrasting the bitter, bright Arugula. The crust had the same soft chew for this style of Pizza, with a soft center.

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele’s first L.A. foray seems to be hit or miss: If you’re looking for a traditional Neapolitan Pizza, with very soupy center (at times), a soft, chewy crust and simple, sparse toppings, L’Antica might fit the bill nicely. Their Montanara (Fried & Baked Pizza) seems more unique and is another consideration, as are their Brussels Sprouts. But the QPR might not be that ideal, with their 16 - 18" Pizzas (it’s random in size) running you roughly ~$25 give or take. And their Pastas ranged from disappointing to decent.

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
1534 N. McCadden Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Tel: (323) 366-2408

Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn

Looking at their menu, there’s a nice blurb about the restaurant (later corroborated by chatting with the cashier who turned out to be the owner, Anthony): It seems the OG Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn opened up in 1966 by his Uncle Phillip. When he decided to retire, Anthony and his brother decided to take over the family business, and after running it for 30 years, Anthony and his wife moved to California, while his brother continues to run the original Pizza Wagon back East.

Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn offers up many Pizzas by the slice, but also whole pies as well.

Pepperoni Pizza:

This started looking like the “grease chalices” that @Ns1 was looking for. We were hopeful. The first bite had a nice balance of savory, zesty, salty Pepperoni cups, Cheese and a flavorful crust. :slight_smile: There was still some meaty chew (in a good way) on the Pepperoni, so those looking for something more crisped up might be disappointed, but still this was tasty.

Pesto Pizza:

Like the Pepperoni, this arrived piping hot (heated up in the oven upon order), and the combination of their Pesto Sauce with Ricotta and the melting Mozzarella was delicious! :heart:

Sicilian Pizza:

Their Sicilian is a rectangular shaped Pizza, similar in heft, thickness as Prime Pizza’s Brooklyn Squares, and in many ways reminding us of the thick Roman-Style Pizzas at Triple Beam and Il Romanista, except much more basic for toppings.

Pizza Wagon’s Sicilian is tasty, arriving piping hot with melted Mozzarella and Tomato Sauce, with a thicker crust that was slightly crunchy / toasted. We liked Prime Pizza’s Sicilian more (with their tasty Pesto), but this was fine and a good option if you’re in the area.

2nd Visit:

Spinach Roll (Sauteed Spinach, Mozzarella):

We noticed they had a couple of “Rolls” on the menu (Chicken Roll and Spinach Roll). Curious, we decided to try one. The Spinach Roll is almost like a “Pizza Pocket” in a way, stuffed with Sauteed Spinach and Mozzarella, melting, vegetal and really tasty. The outside dough “pocket” had a nice golden brown toasty quality. This is something I could see myself ordering again. :slight_smile:

Whole 16" Pizza - Half Pepperoni + Half Vegan (Mushrooms, Onions, Bell Peppers, Tomato Sauce, Vegan Cheese):

We wanted to give their Pepperoni another try, this time baked fresh in a whole pie. Like before the Pepperoni turn into little grease chalices, while not really crisped, they are meaty, savory and balances out nicely with the Mozzarella and their crust.

We have a few vegan friends so I’m always on the lookout for a tasty new place for them to try. The owner, Anthony, mentions he uses Follow Your Heart brand Vegan Cheese for their Vegan Pizza. I’ve tried that brand before when cooking for my vegan friends; it melts really well and tastes like Cheese, so I figured this Pizza would turn out decent.

Surprisingly, Pizza Wagon’s Vegan Pizza was really good! I don’t know which flavor of Follow Your Heart they use, but it indeed melted really well (in their professional Pizza oven), and the Mushrooms, Onions, Bell Peppers and Tomato Sauce all combined to make a delicious Vegetarian / Vegan Pizza that many in our group said they’d be glad to order again. :blush:

In the end, Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn turned out to be a pleasant surprise, with some great Pizza options (and individual slice options) like their Pepperoni and the tasty Pesto Pizza. Their Vegan option was also quite good. We’ll be back. (Huge thanks to @Gr8pimpin!)

Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn
14522 1/2 Ventura Blvd.
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Tel: (818) 616-1492

To be continued in Part 2 (next post)… (sorry I hit the Max Character Count).

14 Likes

Part 2 of the Journey (Sorry I hit the Max Character Count).

South End

South End is a place I’ve had bookmarked for a long time thanks to @lapizzamaven. It’s also slightly embarrassing because it’s so close to us, but for some reason I kept forgetting to try it when dinner rolls around. But finally, as part of our Pizza Journey we got to try it. :slight_smile:

Opened by Pizzaiolo Mario Vollera (of the now closed, @westsidegal favorite Antica Pizzeria in Marina Del Rey), when you walk in, it reminds you more of a dark, moody wine bar as opposed to a restaurant.

And while Antica earned the VPN designation, slinging traditional Neapolitan pies, with South End, Pizzaiolo Vollera has gone in a totally different direction, with some unique toppings (the “24k” with Edible Gold, White Truffle Sauce, Black Truffles, Duck Pate and Fontina for $101; or Beef Bresaola, etc.) and totally different style of Pizza.

Kinney Pizza (Crushed Tomatoes, Burrata, Basil Pesto, Monini EVOO):

Taking a bite, this is a super crunchy, crispy Pizza. The outer crust reminds us of Pizzeria Mozza’s crust, but slightly underseasoned. Still, the combination of Tomatoes, Burrata, Basil Pesto on a super crunchy crust was pretty wonderful. :blush:

1905 Pizza (Pork Salsiccia, Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Mozzarella, Red Onion, Majoram):

Their Housemade Italian Sausage with Fennel was thankfully not overly salty, nicely seasoned, aromatic, and when combined with the Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Red Onions, and their super crunchy crust? It made for another delicious offering. :slight_smile:

If there’s one slight complaint about South End, it might be that the crust / dough tastes a bit underseasoned. Not totally empty like Pizzana, but lacking that extra little bit to push it over the top. Conversing with our server, she mentioned that Pizzaiolo Mario Vollera is no longer cooking at South End, busy with other projects, so that might explain things. The pies are still tasty, with a very Mozza-esque style Sourdough Pizza, and many unique toppings. It may not dethrone Mozza, but we’ll be glad to return to try more of the menu.

South End
2805 Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Venice, CA 90291
Tel: (424) 228-4736

http://www.southendla.com/

Grimaldi’s (El Segundo)


The first California branch of Grimaldi’s (originally from Brooklyn, NY) opened up in El Segundo a few years back. Featuring their signature coal-burning brick-ovens, the menu states that this makes for a distinct aroma and taste. We’ve tried this Grimaldi’s when it first opened up, but haven’t been able to go back since.

Walking in, and we’re greeted by Frank Sinatra belting out classic tunes. And of course, “New York, New York” rang out over the speakers while we were there as well. :slight_smile:

Margherita Pizza + Italian Sausage:

The Margherita arrived about 25 minutes later. There’s very distinctive black charring around the edges of the pie. It seemed more burnt / charred than what we remembered from our 1st visit years ago. Taking a bite, there is a very distinct, crisped-crunch (not like Mozza or South End), but a very uniform, “sealed in” sturdy baked-type of crunch if that makes sense. None of us noticed any particular distinct aroma that coal might afford, but it was fine. The Mozzarella was super stretchy and the Tomato Sauce was more on the piquant side, but still tasty. The Basil was mainly all burnt / charred, so there was a running bitterness in each bite, missing the bright, floral, herbal qualities in fresh, raw Basil.

Garden Pesto Pizza (Artichoke, Red Onion and Ricotta, Topped with Pesto Sauce):

This was fantastic! Artichokes, Red Onion and creamy Ricotta were elevated by Grimaldi’s Pesto Sauce, adding more bright herbal notes. The crust on this 2nd pie wasn’t burnt like the Margherita, and had that solid crisp-crunch to each bite (on the bottom and crust edge). This was our favorite. :slight_smile:

Grimaldi’s
2121 Rosecrans Ave, Ste. 1399
El Segundo, CA 90245
Tel: (310) 648-7503

https://www.grimaldispizzeria.com/locations/el-segundo/

Superfine Pizza

Opened by Chef Steve Samson (Rossoblu, Sotto), Superfine Pizza is a Takeout Only Window with a few tables nearby. I wasn’t really enamored with Sotto’s Neapolitan Pizzas back in the day, so when I heard Chef Sampson was opening Superfine, the thought of grabbing a slice of Neapolitan ala Sotto didn’t sound that interesting.

But hearing @ipsedixit @lapizzamaven rave over how great Superfine was, we knew it was time to visit.

Superfine’s pies are a “cross between Neapolitan and New York style” according to the cashier. And they bake all their pies in an electric oven at 640 degrees.

Superfine offers Pizza by the slice, and also whole pies. FTC Confession: I’ve never really thought much about ordering Pizza by the slice. After all, by the slice means that the Pizza was already made ahead of time and has been sitting around for who knows how long. Reheating food and selling it seemed like something not that appealing to me, but then we tried this…

Pepperoni Pizza (Tomato, Cheese, Pepperoni):

Everyone in our group’s slices arrived piping hot. Taking a bite:

Incredible! :open_mouth: The Pepperoni “cups” were crisped up so you had a slight crunch and some meaty savoriness. The Cheese was melty and gooey and the crust had a slight crunch, but was still pliable. This was SO GOOD! :heart:

Es-Ca-Role Pizza (Escarole, Red Onion, Salt-Cured Olives, Chilies, Mozzarella, Smoked Provolone):

A fantastic Vegetarian Pizza: I liked the combination of the bitterness of the Escarole with the salinity in the Olives, some nice heat from the Chilies, a bit of Red Onion, Mozzarella and Smoked Provolone. Also piping hot with a great crust! :slight_smile:

Veganissima Pizza (Tomato, Garlic, Rapini, Capers, Oregano, Chilies, Mint, Parsley, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil):

One of the most flavorful Pizzas we had on this journey! Superfine’s Tomato Sauce is well-balanced, really umami, savory, tart, a touch of sweet, but never veering off in any tangent. Add in the Garlic, Rapini, briny Capers, and great herbal combo of Oregano, Mint, Chilies, Parsley and Basil and you have magic! :heart: (And it’s vegan.)

Salami Honey Pizza (Spicy Salami, Grana Padano, Provolone, Buckwheat Honey):

This felt like Superfine’s take on Roberta’s Bee Sting. The Spicy Salami, Provolone and Grana Padano made for a great combination, but the Buckwheat Honey was just too sweet. I’d agree with @lapizzamaven here that Honey shouldn’t be on this Pizza. :smile: The Bee Sting at Roberta’s actually achieved a better balance with some sweetness from the Honey, but also a big spicy kick and savoriness. Maybe it’s a fluke on this slice, but the Honey overpowered the rest of the ingredients.

Overall our visit was incredible, and we couldn’t wait to return.

2nd Visit:

Whole 18" Pizza - (Half) Sausage Rabe (Housemade Sausage, Rapini, Fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, Ricotta Salata) + (Half) Mushrooms & Tendrils (Mushrooms, Pea Tendrils, Fontina):

Superfine’s Housemade Sausage is really great: Porky, meaty, not too fatty, not too lean. Just a really satisfying savoriness, and the Rapini adds enough of a slight bitter, vegetal aspect , and then the 3 Cheeses really creates a great flavor combination. :slight_smile:

The Mushrooms & Tendrils Pizza was also standout. The combination of the tender, flavorful Mushrooms with Pea Tendrils (rather unusual ingredient in Pizza) worked here as well. Piping hot with a good satisfying slight crunch in the crust. :blush:

Spinach On White Pizza (Four Cheeses, Spinach):

This was fine. Piping hot again, but the Spinach didn’t add as much flavor as we were hoping, tasting mainly of the 4 Cheeses.

Pepperoni Pizza (Tomato, Cheese, Pepperoni):

Even more incredible than our 1st visit! The Pepperoni was crisped up, adding a bit of slight crunchiness, while still giving off a great Salami flavor in every bite. Piping hot, cheesy, awesome crust, this was outstanding! :heart:

3rd Visit:

Queen Margherita + Sausage Pizza (Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil):

I dub this the @lapizzamaven Special, in honor of your recommendation. Superfine’s Queen Margherita with the balanced Tomato Sauce, slightly crisped crust and the Housemade Sausage makes for a fantastic flavor combination! :heart: It’s got the classic Margherita base, and their Housemade Sausage is not overly salty either, so it adds a great meaty component that fits right in. Our group devoured this in what felt like seconds. :sweat_smile: :blush:

4th Visit:

Sausage Rabe Pizza (Housemade Sausage, Rapini, Fresh Mozzarella, Ricotta, Ricotta Salata):

Still as consistent as before. Arriving properly heated up (hot), nice toasted crunch on the crust. Great balance of Rapini and Housemade Sausage and the Ricotta Salata, Mozzarella and Ricotta combination.

Pepperoni Pizza (Tomato, Cheese, Pepperoni):

Incredible! :heart:

Veganissima Pizza (Tomato, Garlic, Rapini, Capers, Oregano, Chilies, Mint, Parsley, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil):

There’s so much natural flavor from their Veganissima (Vegan) Pizza. You don’t even miss the Cheese. :slight_smile:

5th Visit:

Whole 18" Pizza - (Half) Queen Margherita + Sausage Pizza (Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato, Basil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil) + (Half) Pepperoni Pizza (Tomato, Cheese, Pepperoni):

Definitely a winning combination: The fresh, bright, Spring-like aroma from fresh Basil, the savory, sweet and tart Tomato Sauce, melting, wonderful Mozzarella and that Housemade Sausage. :heart:

They went a little overboard on the amount of Pepperoni was on this whole Pizza! :sweat_smile: It was really delicious, still crisping up, porky, nice fattiness and meatiness. :heart:

I’m not sure what crazy magic went into Superfine’s Pizzas, but seemingly against all odds - with an electric oven (not wood-burning), in a tiny kitchen (Takeout Only) - it is baking up some of the best Pizza by the Slice and Whole Pizzas in this inbetween Brooklyn & Neapolitan style! From the balanced, deeply flavorful Tomato Sauce, a nicely seasoned, slightly crunchy crust and dough, to the crisped up Pepperoni “grease chalices” and other toppings, Superfine is a standout!

Superfine Pizza
1101 San Pedro St., Unit F
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Tel: (323) 698-5677

DeSano Pizza Bakery (Revisit)

For a sanity check, and to see how these Pizzas have compared to some of our favorites, we stopped by DeSano’s again for our 10th(?) visit.

Margherita D.O.P. + Sausage Pizza (San Marzano Tomato, Buffalo Mozzarella, Basil, Garlic):

From the flavorful dough / crust, to the zesty, not overly salty Sausage, fresh Basil, San Marzano Tomatoes, Buffalo Mozzarella, this is one of the reasons why enjoyed going to DeSano. Delicious! :heart:

Diavola Pizza (Spicy Soppressata, Pepperoni, Calabrian Peppers, Buffalo Mozzarella):

The Diavola had a nice level of spiciness, without overwhelming your mouth. The Spicy Soppressata with the Salami was nice, the Tomato Sauce, Buffalo Mozzarella and crust helped to even out the sodium level, and the Calabrian Chilies added a nice aromatic spicy kick.

Vesuvio Calzone (Spicy Soppressata, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, Garlic):

We fell in love with DeSano’s Calzone’s after @ipsedixit recommended them a couple years ago. This time, the Vesuvio while still quite fragrant and luscious, lacked a touch of the incredible unctuousness that hit us the first time we tried it. It’s still a surprising and tasty Calzone, but not as legendary as before.

There’s a certain level of quality, and understanding of flavor combinations that goes into DeSano’s Pizzas. Their Acunto brick ovens (built by hand in Naples, Italy) might be a factor in how tasty their pies are. And overall, it’s a great place to grab a pie and enjoy some good times with friends (easy parking, large dining room).

DeSano Pizza Bakery
4959 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Tel: (323) 913-7000

http://www.desanopizza.com/

Pizzeria Mozza (Revisit)

We had to finish off this Pizza Journey with a revisit to one of our favorites, Pizzeria Mozza, from Chef-Owner Nancy Silverton.

Insalata Mista (with Radish, Cucumber & Herbs):

Bright, fresh greens. Not overly dressed, cool and refreshing for these hot Summer days.

Fennel Sausage, Panna, Mozzarella, Red Onions & Scallions Pizza:

One of our all-time favorite Pizzas, Mozza’s Fennel Sausage, Red Onions & Scallions Pizza hits all of the right notes for us: The balanced, not overly salty, fragrant, herbal Fennel Sausage, the lovely bright notes from Scallions and Red Onions, the melting Cheese and that crunchy, crisped crust! :heart: So, so good!

Stinging Nettles, Salame, Cacio di Roma, Mozzarella Pizza:

Balanced, the Stinging Nettles added a distinct vegetal, slight earthiness to the pie. Crunchy awesome crust as always. :slight_smile:

Caramel Coppetta with Marshmallow Sauce & Salted Spanish Peanuts:

While Mozza’s Butterscotch Budino is legendary (rightfully so), there’s another excellent Dessert on the menu as well: The Caramel Coppetta with Marshmallow Sauce & Salted Spanish Peanuts. The combination of the chilled Ice Cream, luscious Caramel Sauce, the Marshmallow is incredible and fun, and the Salted Spanish Peanuts turns this into a Sweet & Salty type of Dessert that is in some ways even more delicious than the Butterscotch Budino. :heart:

(From a previous visit)

Primavera: English Peas, Pea Tendril, Asparagus, Ricotta, Lemon & Herbs:

This was pretty amazing. Fresh farmers market English Peas, tender Pea Tendrils, the Lemon added even more brightness and pared well with the Asparagus, Ricotta and Herbs. :heart:

Funghi Misti (Fontina, Taleggio & Thyme):

Earthy, funky, full of enticing flavors that only Mushrooms can impart, along with the great crunchy crust again. :slight_smile:

BLT: Bacon, Guanciale, Onion Cream, Roasted Tomatoes, Rucola & Aioli:

While visually a bit of a strange, maybe off-putting looking Pizza, the BLT is thankfully pretty wonderful: There is a real baked Pizza with Bacon and Guanciale and Roasted Tomatoes underneath, but then it’s topped at the last second with fresh Arugula and their Aioli. The result is a surprisingly balanced taste, with the salty, meaty cheesy base Pizza offset by bright, bitter Arugula, some creaminess from the Aioli and the sweetness of Roasted Tomatoes.

Meatballs, Mozzarella di Bufala, Tomato, Parmigiano, Chili Flakes & Fresh Oregano:

Another visit:

Margherita + Sausage (Mozzarella di Bufala, Tomato, Basil & Extra Virgin Olive Oil):

Another in honor of @lapizzamaven, Mozza’s Margherita is great as is, but add in some of their Housemade Fennel Sausage and it makes for a beautiful flavor combination and great pie. :heart:

Jimmy Nardello Peppers, 'Nduja, Tomato & Smoked Scamorza:

According to Ark of Taste, it seems Jimmy Nardello Peppers were originally from Basilicata, Italy and brought over to the U.S. in 1887 by Jimmy Nardello. This looked deadly spicy, but thankfully it was a mild-medium heat, and the Peppers were aromatic and sweet, and the 'Nduja added in some spicy savoriness. :slight_smile:

Biting into crust of both of these Pizzas on this latest visit, something seemed slightly off. I checked with the manager and confirmed:

  • Pizzeria Mozza has switched their supplier for making their Pizza Dough.

Apparently it got sign off from Chef Silverton, but we noticed the crust didn’t rise as much as before, and the taste while still good and crisp-crunchy wasn’t as deeply flavored as before. We’re hoping they’re still working out the kinks, but @PorkyBelly @lapizzamaven @attran99 and others take note and please report back if you notice something different (and let the restaurant know).

Overall, Pizzeria Mozza remains a standout L.A. hometown bastion for a unique take on Pizza. Chef Nancy Silverton has created her own distinct Pizza dough and crust that’s crunchy, airy with great flavor combinations that has made an indelible mark on the Pizza landscape.

Pizzeria Mozza (O.G.)
641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 297-0101

https://pizzeriamozza.com/

With this Pizza Journey behind us, I am now joining Nemroz on a keto diet! I don’t think any of us can look at another Pizza for a while. :expressionless: :sweat_smile: :stuck_out_tongue: But thanks to everyone’s suggestions there were some great discoveries along the way.

One day, if I recover, I’ll be glad to go back and enjoy more from Il Romanista, Superfine, Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn (and our old favorites like Pizzeria Mozza and DeSano).

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Glad you loved il romanista that place is so good. We had the same disappointing experience at triple beam.

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You continue doing God’s work, @Chowseeker1999! Great adventure. I love Il Romanista…I only wish I spent more time on that side of the world to have it more often. I need to get back to Mozza and try Superfine for the first time…and DeSano’s, too.

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Out of all the new places we have tried in the past few years we agree that super fine and il romanista are the best. The most consistent and best tasting between sauce, crust and toppings. We haven’t been to some of the places on your journey. Pizza in LA is significantly better than when I first moved here from NY 20 years ago.

If you ever make it down to the OC I would recommend two Neapolitan places. Fuoco in Fullerton and Michael’s in Long Beach. I know LB is not in OC but it might as well be.

The one place in LA I recommend not on the journey is Cosa Buona.

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Thanks @hungryhungryhippos. :slight_smile: What’s your favorite flavor at Il Romanista?

Epic pizza post!!!

Next time get the JeetKuneBao’s OOE Special at Il Romanista! Glad you liked it!!! Potato is the most traditional topping for Roman style pizza per owner.

Superfine is high on my to do list for pizza!!

Also on my list is the weekend only square slice at Apollonia’s. (Check out their IG for times for the squares)

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As did we.

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Same. Pretty much had exactly the same thoughts as @Chowseeker1999.

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Wow, what a pizza experience…gld more people went and had an excellent experience at Pizza Wagon…its my go-to for slices…Romanista/excellent; *South End, I love; don’t understand all the problems at Triple Beam.…ive been there 5 times and its been excellent each time…I always tell them, “make it hot!” and never had a problem…Triple Beam is with a few others at the top of my list of LA pizza!

What would you consider the best place for a soupy center pizza?

And I’m so excited that one of your favorites, Il Romanista, is in El Segundo. Next time I go to the hazardous waste disposal drop-off, I’m going for pizza after!

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I get lucky and made it to Apollonia last week…2 great Sicilian/ or Square slices…excellent, one pepperoni and one “white” slice with moss and ricotta+…very tasty!

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I really liked Prime Pizza’s Sicilian but it reminds me more of a grandma slice, whereas Pizza Wagon is what I’d get back east as a Sicilian. Yeah I need both.

I share @lapizzamaven ‘s thoughts on Triple Beam.

I got to tell you I am dying to get over to Superfine and Il Romanista. As most people know about me already is I hate to schlep. Superfine is tops on my list to try. Damn I’m so hungry now. I live two blocks from Pizza Wagon and am back on the Carb Wagon.

Really great report as usual!!! Thank you for sharing!!

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I think LA Pizza is really SO SO much better than when I moved here back when they were still making pintos. Ok not that long ago.

Even the NY style is getting close to the real thing. But all the diverse styles are amazing now.

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yeah, Gr8pimpin give me a heads about Pizza Wagon if you’d like to meet over there!

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DEAL!

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hahahhahahah

my parents had a pinto wagon that greenish color and faux wood paneling so bad

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Thanks @attran99. :slight_smile: I think you’ll enjoy Superfine and DeSano’s. And thanks again for your rec for Il Romanista. :slight_smile:

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Thanks @js76wisco. One day, when I can look at pizza again, we’ll be giving it a try! :smile:

Haha!

We had a blue one when I was a kid. So glad it did not explode like many of the other ones. What was that movie, that was done by the same people that did airplane? There was a Pinto that exploded in it.

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