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LA's Hottest New Pizza Joints

No matter how you slice it, we have great 'za in this town
September 29, 2017
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by Lesley Balla

Everywhere you turn, great pizza is on the rise around LA. From Downtown to the beaches of Santa Monica, you’ll find new slice shops, Neapolitan wood-burning ovens and gourmet pizza parlors of every ilk. They might not all be serving pizza exclusively, but the pies at these 12 spots have been tops over the last year.

Gesso
Turning the Pitfire Pizza on Fairfax Avenue into this expansive, loftlike, all-day spot has its merits. Breakfast pastries, cocktails and wood-fired chops are just a few. But fans of the pizza shouldn’t fret, because even though the concept and chef are different, there are plenty of pies on the menu. Topped with things like scamorza and blistered cherry tomatoes, clams and Parmesan, and hot pickled peppers, fennel sausage and ricotta, the options might even be better than before.

801 N. Fairfax Ave.; 323-544-6240

Pizzana
The couple behind the Sprinkles Cupcakes empire teamed up with Chris O’Donnell — yeah, the actor — his wife and Naples-born pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi to create one of the buzziest pizza spots in town. The lines rarely die down (a good tip is to go right when it opens) for the popular pies, which have a perfect bubbly crust and an array of toppings to please pizza purists and pie lovers’s alike. Think amatriciana with fior di latte, crispy prosciutto and shaved parmigiano, to the spicy messicana with chorizo, cilantro lime sauce, sweet chile, jalapeño and queso fresco.

11712 San Vicente Blvd.; 310-481-7108

Vito's Pizza Santa Monica
An offshoot of the wildly popular, thin-crust pizzas at Vito’s in West Hollywood, this is one of the Westside spots to get really good, giant foldable slices. Only here can you also get a cocktail (the Negroni is perfect), some vinyl spinning in the background and delivery — a bonus to anyone in the neighborhood.

2455 Santa Monica Blvd.; 310-884-5900

Felix
You probably hear more about chef Evan Funke’s handmade pasta — and see it being made in the center of the dining room — but the pizza served at the Venice hot spot isn't an afterthought. Mixing the dough by hand daily, topping it with things like smoked fior di latte, broccoli calabrese, mozzarella and 'nduja, and cooking it in the wood-fired oven makes this pizza deserving of its high praise.

1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 424-387-8622

Mixed Company
The new all-day cafe and bakery from the guys behind the Village Idiot and The Black Cat — the latter is next door — taps into what everyone wants to eat in Silver Lake, from fresh pastries and coffee in the morning to happy-hour pizzas to nighttime small plates and bottles of wine. Those pizzas range in toppings, but the pineapple pie is something even pineapple pie haters will find tasty.

3903 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323-661-6307

Lodge Bread Company
What started out as a backyard baking project for chefs Or Amsalam and Alexander Phaneuf turned into one of the best and most talked about bakeries in town. When the two took over a neighboring space, they created a larger menu, including a daily pizza which was previously only available on Monday. As you can imagine, the dough is perfection, and the seasonal toppings range from things like stinging nettle with pesto and Calabrian chile to a white pie with aged cheeses, roasted garlic and arugula.

11918 Washington Blvd.; 424-384-5097

Cosa Buona
Chef Zach Pollack took over the former Pizza Buona space to offer his version of Italian-American specialties to the Echo Park neighborhood. In addition to the antipasti, the crispy farro salad, the oozy smoked mozzarella sticks and meatballs, there is really good wood-fired pizza with a bubbly charred crust, from a classic margherita to a meat lover’s pie that puts all chain versions to shame.

2100 W. Sunset Blvd.; 213-908-5211

Il Romanista
Traditional Roman-style pizza (think rectangular slices) is served out of an unassuming El Segundo strip-mall storefront. Sold only by the slice, toppings run the gamut from eggplant, arugula, mushrooms, spicy sauce, pepperoni and more. The loaded pies change throughout the day, displayed prominently at the counter window.

829 N. Douglas St.; 310-616-3111

AR Cucina
This colorful Italian restaurant from Akasha Richmond features rustic Italian cuisine inspired by her travels through Italy, from farms to fishing villages. But this being California, the dishes change with the seasons as new local ingredients become available. With new chef de cuisine Chris Keyser at the helm, the oblong pizzas have changed a bit on the all-day menu, but the best is the pie, salad and drink special at lunch. 

9531 Culver Blvd.; 310-558-8800

The Ponte
Celebrity chef Scott Conant and local restaurateur Stephane Bombet partnered to turn the former Terrine into this Italian-centric bistro. Yes, Conant's famous spaghetti pomodoro is here, along with other Italian specialties, but also just enough pizza to make everyone happy. The best? The margherita, an elevated version with dollops of burrata and fresh basil.

8265 Beverly Blvd.; 323-746-5130

Gusto
Vic Casanova decided to close his original Gusto trattoria on West Third and move it into his larger Pistola space a few blocks away. The new Gusto is bigger and better than before, now with a pizza oven and full bar. If you’re not feeling like pasta, the zucchini-topped pizza — slices of squash plus the blossoms, ricotta and basil pesto — is perfect for sharing with a friend or two.

8022 W. 3rd St.; 323-782-1778

North Italia
From the Fox Restaurant group, which also has True Food Kitchen and Flower Child in Santa Monica, this Italian chain is massive with a menu spanning all of Italy, from squid ink pasta to short ribs with polenta. There are also a few pizzas on the menu, some topped with prosciutto and goat cheese, others with spicy pepperoni, sopressata and sausage. The kitchen will even do a gluten-free crust.

1442 2nd St.; 310-382-2460

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