When initial articles started about this new Pizza place in Brentwood, it focused on the fact that actor Chris O’Donnell was one of the owners, along with Candace and Charles Nelson (the couple behind Sprinkles Cupcakes). For us, that didn’t say much on how the actual food might turn out. It seemed more like a publicity grab, so as a result we just skipped the new venture - Pizzana - for many months. Heck, even the name sounded like some kind of marketing creation.
But after reading a report from @PorkyBelly and then hearing from FTC’ers like @lapizzamaven, we decided to give it a try.
The driving force behind the food at Pizzana is one Daniele Uditi, a pizzaiolo who worked at Italy’s L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele at one point, before coming to L.A. to create what their website says is “Neo Neapolitan Pizza.”
Zucchine Alla Scapece (Tempura Fried Zucchini, Lemon Aioli):
We started with their Tempura Fried Zucchini Flowers. These were fried nicely, not too oily and a solid starter, but it wasn’t as light as Pizzeria Mozza or Felix’s versions (both of which are stuffed with Ricotta).
Funghi Pizza (Italian Crema, Fontina, Shiitake and Oyster Mushroom, Caramelized Onion):
Looking at the ingredients and different flavors of Pizza being offered, you could see why this was branded as “Neo Neapolitan”: They had flavors inspired by classic Pastas (like “Cacio e Pepe Pizza” and “Amatriciana Pizza” etc.).
For the Funghi, it turned out to be local farmers market Shiitake and Oyster Mushrooms combining with Italian Crema and Fontina Cheese to create this wonderful, fragrant taste.
The Pizza is a thin crust style, bendable, but not soupy in the center, with ample leopard-spotting on the outer crust and bottom.
We really liked the “vented” plates for the Pizzas, which seemed to help them from getting soggy / steaming while you were eating them.
Margherita Pizza (San Marzano DOP, Fior di Latte, Parmigiano, Basil):
We had to try the classic Margherita Pizza as a baseline as well. Pizzana’s Margherita was fine: Tasty, but I think of all the Pizzas, this is the one that reaffirmed our feelings for all of their offerings:
Creative interesting toppings (outside of the Margherita of course), but the crust / dough is lacking. It’s not “bad” at all, but comparing it to our favorites around town, Pizzana’s is just rather bland.
Bianca Pizza (Fior di Latte, Panna, Fennel Sausage, Shaved Fennel, Red Onion):
The Fennel Sausage and Shaved Fennel with Red Onions reminded me of Pizzeria Mozza’s popular offering (one of our favorites), and when combined with their Fior di Latte it made for this porky, lightly sweet-herbal, fragrant, creamy Pizza.
On our 2nd visit, we started with…
Carnivoro Pizza (San Marzano DOP, Fior di Latte, Spicy Soppressata, Fennel Sausage, Prosciutto Cotto, Parmigiano, Basil):
I liked the crispiness of the Prosciutto Cotto, and the bit of zesty heat from the Soppressata helped to elevate this one as well. It might’ve been a bit too much meat, but still a solid flavor.
Verde Pizza (Roman Artichoke, Basil Pesto, Fior di Latte, Gaeta Olive, Sundried Tomato):
One of the specials of the day, the Verde Pizza sounded intriguing with the Basil Pesto and Roman Artichokes. We were glad to have ordered it:
Their Basil Pesto and Fresh Basil helped to create a really fragrant, aromatic flavor, with bits of piquant from the Roman Artichoke and salinity from the Gaeta Olives and Sundried Tomatoes.
This was probably our 2nd favorite of the pies we tried.
Overall, Pizzana represents a solid restaurant for a new style of Neapolitan Pizzas, with its strength being in its diverse toppings (e.g., we’re curious how the fusion-y Messicana Pizza will turn out, with its Chorizo, Cilantro Lime Sauce, Jalapeno and Queso Fresco).
All of the flavors we tried worked well, and a few of them really shone, like the Funghi, Bianca and the Verde. But when we really thought about it (all while chowing down on the crust), as @PorkyBelly says, it doesn’t surpass our favorites in DeSano or Pizzeria Mozza. We went back to DeSano after this and confirmed what we were thinking:
It’s the crust and Pizza dough: Pizzana’s is fine, but really a touch bland compared to the crust and taste at our favorites. Ultimately, we’re glad to have Pizzana nearby and it’s a boon for Westsiders, but outside of traffic, we’d rather drive to DeSano’s.
11712 San Vicente Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Tel: (310) 481-7108