National Pizza Month is almost half over, so there’s no time to waste. (Of all the myriad and oftentimes ridiculous “holidays” created by some mystery authority, this is one we can get behind.) And if you think a pilgrimage to New York City — or even Italy — is necessary to properly celebrate — you're mistaken.
Los Angeles, for all its illusions of crazy dietary restrictions, actually makes incredible pizza. And a damn lot of it, considering the number of pie-slinging restaurants — many of them ultra gourmet, with the highest quality farm-fresh ingredients — that have opened in L.A. in recent months and years. And if you think the folks you see on the silver screen and your favorite shows don’t eat, you'd be wrong again. Stars... they love pizza just like us.
1. Pizzeria Mozza
Since opening, Nancy Silverton’s haven for perfectly baked, creatively topped pies has been revered as the city’s best, and it’s hard to argue with that when Beyonce and Jay Z are sitting next to you in the dining room. Their unofficial endorsement goes a long way toward ensuring the legacy of these pizzas in L.A.. Plus, don’t you feel a lot better about indulging since Queen Bey eats it, too?
Ask any Angeleno the best pizza downtown and they’ll tell you, hands down, Bestia. Chef Ori Menashe has gained something of a cult following for his pies—Salami Calabrese, Burrata and Alla’nduja among them—which require an oftentimes tough reservation to savor. With regulars like Michael Peña, James Franco and Jessica Biel, you can be sure you’re not the only one clamoring for them.
Anyone whose tastes run more to traditional Neapolitan over New York or Cali artisanal should consider a trip to Sotto — complete with a highly specialized yellow-tiled wood-fired oven built by an Italian master — mandatory eating. There is no better classic margherita in such close proximity to the biggest talent agent headquarters and studio lots, making it a go-to for industry pizzaholics both day and night.
A-listers like Victoria Beckham and Ryan Gosling are fans of this unendingly popular Abbot Kinney restaurant where the multitude of salads and veggies are great, but the crispy thin pizzas—especially the drool-worthy savory ones with lamb sausage, chorizo and mushrooms—are even better. The best news is that if you can’t get a seat, GTA next door offers the same impeccable flavors and cheesiness by the slice (or whole pies to go), and about the same probability of spotting someone you recognize from TV.
Down the street — crawling with stars — from Gjelina is Venice’s newest pizza hot spot, Felix. Chef Evan Funke has a meticulous and almost obsessive mission to make the perfect dough, which to him makes all the difference in the world. He’s studied in Naples and holds himself to the highest standards, so you know his barely blistered margherita (along with the mouthwatering handmade pastas) is well worth the calories.
6. Mickey’s Deli
For those times when gourmet isn’t the goal and it’s all about inhaling some feel-good cheese, pepperoni, and maybe a little grease, there’s Mickey's Deli, a 64-year-old South Bay favorite of local L.A. Kings and Lakers players. In celebration of National Pizza Month, the deli is making special, truly massive 20-inch slices ($9.99 each) that dwarf your typical pie. These monster slices may be more appropriate for a professional athlete burning thousands of calories a day, but hey, it’s a holiday — treat yourself.
7. The Restaurant at Mr. C
Its proximity to major studios and talent agencies makes this classic Italian eatery a favorite power lunch spot for the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Sofia Vergara, who may not be aware of the fact they’re dining at the only Cipriani location that has pizza on the menu. Their casual, light pies fit the SoCal lifestyle and per unspoken LA rules are comprised of dough made in-house and toppings straight from the farmer’s market.
Everyone loves a pizza party, especially actor Chris O’Donnell, who with his wife, Caroline hosted them so frequently they ended up opening a neo-Neapolitan pizzeria along with the founders of Sprinkles Cupcakes and a native Italian pizzaiolo this April. The intimate Brentwood spot has already drawn the likes of Jennifer Garner for its light yet sturdy “slow dough” that holds toppings such as chorizo, cilantro lime sauce, pickled sweet chile, jalapeño and quest fresca. (For gluten-free guests, they make a crust so good you’d swear it’s full of wheat.)
9. Cosa Buona
After years and years of making some of the best authentic Neapolitan style pizzas in the L.A. area, chef Zach Pollack took his expertise to the Eastside and opened the buzzy Cosa Buona, serving pies that walk the line between conventional and artisanal. A who’s who of the hip ‘hood and beyond have turned up to bite into supple, lightly blistered crust (try the Hawaiian) that Pollack claims will remind them of the pizza of their youth, on steroids. (Obviously it’s not National Mozzarella Stick Month, but his upscale smoky version of the bowling alley staple is not to be missed.)
10. Crossroads Kitchen
True pizza connoisseurs might balk at a vegan pizza, but because it is L.A., we’ll show the plant-lovers among us some love, too. Chef/owner Tal Ronnen’s vegan culinary stylings, including a range of apparently addictive pizzas like one with “spicy meatballs,” regularly draw the likes of Katy Perry, Ruby Rose, and Joaquin Phoenix.
11. Love & Salt
The final word in gourmet South Bay pizza is Love & Salt, where crisp pies are cooked low and slow in an almond wood–burning oven. Chef Michael Fiorelli has become famous for his unconventional approach to the beloved Italian staple thanks to such inventions as his Duck Egg Pie, a riff on pasta carbonara, that features pancetta, panna, potato, rosemary, with a yolk that is smeared on the top tableside by a waiter.
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