Here’s where to find L.A.’s best pizza
Cosa Buona is chef Zach Pollack's hearty, no-frills Italian joint—think of it as the fun younger cousin to Alimento. At Cosa Buona, the name is spot-on: There are a lot of good things here, including a range of antipasti, salads and some of the best mozzarella sticks in all the land, but a must is the pizza, with a fermented, chewy, airy, bubble-pocketed crust that denies typical slice categorization. Stick with familiar favorites like margherita, or the biancoverde—a white pie with mozzarella, spinach, garlic, basil and ricotta—or veer into fun, gourmet takes on American classics such as BBQ chicken or Hawaiian.
Neapolitan-style pizzeria DeSano brings a true taste of Italy to L.A. And we're not just saying that: mozzarella di bufala (buffalo mozzarella) is flown in fresh from a small town in Campania, flour is shipped by boat, salt is gleaned from the Mediterranean Sea, and their handmade wood-burning ovens are supposedly made with "volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius." It's hard to pick just one pie to go with, but the San Gennaro is a solid choice, with huge chunks of fresh sausage piled on top. Don't forget dessert, either: cannoli, gelato and, yes, even a Nutella pie, are offered as the perfect end to a pizza dinner.
Fans of Hollywood Pies' former business model know the deal at Dough Box: You place your order over the phone, drive to Dough Box's shop in El Sereno, and swap your cash (or card) for a steaming box or single slice of deep-dish pizza. Sketchy? Sort of. Worth it? Totally. The pizza company, which was opened by one of Hollywood Pies' original founders, offers roughly 15 different pizzas in sizes that range from 6 to 12 inches (the latter is also available in thin and pan crusts). We're huge fans of the Hill, which comes stuffed with mozzarella, house-made ricotta, garlic, spinach and Italian sausage. Cooking time takes around an hour, and delivery is optional if you live within a five-mile radius.
Don't fret, Chicagoans: The misleadingly-named Hollywood Pies brings a little slice of home to Pico-Robertson. The deep-dish spot originally operated a comically sketchy pick-up service—order ahead, pull up to the curb and exchange the goods—but has since opened up a dine-in area. Opt for the Classic Chicago, featuring whole-milk mozzarella, mild Italian sausage and the most heavenly house-made ricotta. Call in (323-337-3212) your order ahead of time because—deep-dish eaters, you know the drill—those cheesey bakes take some time to cook.
The Chicago deep dish at Masa of Echo Park is the real deal. You've got your 2-inch-deep pan, your fresh cornmeal crust, your cheesy sauces and chunky fillings for days. The cozy, family-owned vibe at Masa matches with an irresistible menu of classic Italian- and Chicago-style edibles (vegan options, too!) and turns an average night out into a hug in meal form. Pick from menu favorites like the Lots of Cheese (spoiler alert: It consists of mozzarella, romano and buffalo mozzarella cheese—and lots of it), or create your own with toppings that range from rosemary chicken breast to anchovies. If all goes well, you'll be rolling out of there like a hunk of stuffed crust.
Still nostalgic for a slice of New York? Mulberry Street Pizzeria is your go-to. Located in the heart of Beverly Hills on Canon Drive with another location just a few blocks away on S Beverly Drive—plus two more in the San Fernando Valley—this local chain exhibits authentic Italian charm and a welcoming mom-and-pop vibe. Unique toppings—lasagna pizza, anyone?—are available alongside some fantastic standards (the eggplant parmesan pizza is a must-try, as is the tomato and artichoke). Now that's amore.
Authentic New York pizza in SoCal? Hell yeah. Dig into Joe's pizza in Santa Monica or at their roving truck. Thin-crusted, loaded with toppings and garnished with Joe's special pizza sauce—the Grandma Pie with house-made marinara is something else, topped with a healthy smattering of fresh basil—these pizzas make the wait worth it. Order by the slice or a whole pie, and just try to say no to the garlic knots.
Nancy Silverton's Pizzeria Mozza has become such a force in L.A.'s pizza culture that nearly every other pie in town is compared to it, even if the comparisons are never quite apt. After all, Pizzeria Mozza is in a class all to itself: Silverton's pizzas are unabashedly doughy and chewy, full of airy, sometimes charred bubbles and topped with ingredients that wouldn't be out of place in the kitchen at Lucques: burrata and squash blossoms, fennel sausage or wonderfully toothy long-cooked broccolini with caciocavallo cheese. Beyond the pizza are other showstoppers: hefty meatballs made with no fewer than three rich meats (veal, pork, pancetta) and served in a passata di pomodoro sauce; and a creamy, buttery, rich butterscotch budino that, no matter how many times you have it, is bound to be one of the best desserts you'll have all year. Just like the pizza.
There's plenty of care—and time—that goes into making the dough at Pizza Romana. A full 24 hours of fermentaiton, in fact, in the traditional Roman style. The result is a soft, airy dough that acts as a fantastic base for whatever pie you choose. Pies range from more traditional—basil pesto, amatriciana—to more inventive picks, like the mac and cheese or the butternut squash with maple braised bacon and leeks. End your meal with a scoop of Romana's seasonal gelato, or even a gelato shake.
Pizzana is what happens when Neapolitan-style pizza meets sweet treats, all thanks to its founders—they of the Sprinkles Cupcakes empire—and while you can find some solid desserts here, don't get it twisted: The show-stopper is undeniably the pizza. Chef Daniele Uditi masterfully helms the kitchen, where he crafts and throws crusts made from organic, stone-ground Italian flour, with his own grandmother's yeast starter brought over from Italy. Imported mozzarella tops pies, as do California ingredients both consciously harvested and grown. The cacio e pepe pizza topped with soft egg is a highlight, but we can't ever deny the Corbarina, made with squash blossoms, burrata and gremolata.
The hand-tossed, thin-crust pies at this hip Arts District pizza joint show off local ingredients such as arugula, tomatoes, cage-free eggs and ethically-raised pork-and-beef meatballs. Go soul-searching with the Meat Jesus, a carnivore's dream featuring pepperoni, sausage and bacon, or carbo-load with the Mac n Cheese pie (which is, in fact, macaroni and cheese piled high on a pizza). Though pies are a reasonable size, prices here skew a little high, so unless you show up with a large group, plan on ordering a single slice to go (especially on Tuesdays, when slices are only $2).
Chef Vito Iacopelli crafts his signature thin-crust pies at this West Hollywood pizzeria, topping discs of dough with kale, green apples, prosciutto, and everything in between. If you're coming by with a friend (or a date), consider Prova's signature pie, the Volcano Vesuvio: salame di Napoli, fresh ricotta, mozzarella, ground pepper and San Marzano tomatoes. Of course if you're really looking to impress, there's always the Emmigratis, which includes fresh mozzarella and Italian sausage atop a roasted bell pepper sauce, with an entire ball of burrata in the center of the pie.
With locations in both Hollywood and Santa Monica, this artisanal pizzeria makes for a particularly good nosh session no matter which side of the 405 you're on. Don't let the cool-kid scene distract you from truly good, seasonal pies that source local ingredients like purple kale and hand-picked oregano. Try the fennel-flavored, house-made sausage pie topped with organic tomato and mozzarella and, while you can get it, the seasonal squash pie with bacon. We also love the signature burrata, plated with house-made bread and tomato jam and take-away baked goods on display, from oversized Rice Krispy treats to bacon-and-chocolate chip cookies.
Tomato Pie Pizza Joint was opened by a New York transplant who—you guessed it—desperately missed the NY-style pizza from back home. So he started his own pie shop, which now has three locations (South Pasadena, Silver Lake and Mid-City) and is dishing out thin-crust pizza to homesick transplants. Try the Mr. White, a garlic, olive oil and four-cheese variation, or the traditional Grandma, a margherita pie that is simple, classic, and oh-so New York.
Former Mozza chef Matt Molina and Mozzaplex magnate Nancy Silverton teamed up for Highland Park's only Roman-style pizzeria, slinging scissors-sliced pies you pay for by the ounce. You can only find four or five varieties per night, but don't let that worry you—they're all great, so order a little slice of each. (There's even a nightly vegan option.) Don't skip the foccacia, though, which is great in every flavor; we're partial to the O.G., slick with olive oil and flecked with nothing but rosemary and sea salt. Enjoy on the cute patio and eat right away, for best results.
The pizza here always tastes fresh—they make crust dough from scratch daily, use only Wisconsin mozzarella, and make their own sauces, meatballs and sausages in-house. Try the clam and garlic, a fan favorite, where both namesake ingredients are in abundance. It's not quite New York-style, but it's delicious in its own right, and it's all hand-spun and made-to-order.