10 Best Pizza Restaurants in Los Angeles
|The pizza at Milo & Olive|
The heart of the kitchen at this 24-seat restaurant is undoubtedly its wood-fired oven, a wide-mouthed Mangini so thoroughly utilized that not a second seems to go by without something passing through its stone archway: pies topped with melted Oregon morels, braised chard, oregano-rubbed shrimp, butternut squash or homemade pork belly sausage. There are also delectable pastries crafted by Zoe Nathan, as well as vibrant seasonal salads and fresh pastas, but it's the pizzas you'll see on every table. The crust is what you might expect from a rustic bakery, a yeasty wheat and rye that transforms into a chewy wholesome plane of bread. You will inevitably endure a long wait for a table -- there are subway cars with more seats than this place -- but it's impressive how quickly angst fades with the loud, crackling sound of a pizza slicer shearing through crispy crust. 2723 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; (310) 453-6776, miloandolive.com.
G. Snyder Stella Rossa
6. Stella Rossa Pizza Bar
The first thing you notice if you happen to glance into the kitchen of Stella Rossa are rows of tall glass jars filled with pale dough. Chef and partner Jeff Mahin, who famously worked at Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck (named the world's best restaurant in 2005), uses the jars as a built-in barometer: When the dough rises to the container's top lip, it's ready to be stretched, shaped and finally slid into a gas-powered oven. Stella Rossa pizza is distinctive for its puffy, golden-brown rim, a circle of inflated bread that manages to be moist and dense on the inside but cracker-crisp on the bottom. Most weekends, the wait for a table extends to the better part of an hour -- the place is proving a favorite of Santa Monica's young-and-chic crowd, who happily gather around a central bar for globe-spanning wines, local beers and bespoke cocktails. The Margherita, painted with specially sourced Chilean olive oil, is fine, but the combination of crisp purple kale, wilted spinach and shaved pecorino steals the show. 2000 Main St., Santa Monica; (310) 396-9250, stellarossapizzabar.com.
Anne Fishbein The pizza at Gjelina
There are many things to dislike about Gjelina: the servers more concerned with their post-shift art show, the sheer impossibility of scoring a patio table during brunch, a no-substitutions policy that even Gordon Ramsay finds too strict -- but dammit if that pizza isn't bewitchingly tasty and, dare we confess, downright sexy. Like the American Apparel model sitting at the table next to you, the sheer visual impact of these pizzas -- glowing mosaics of vibrant ingredients -- is enough to have you swooning before the first bite. Chef Travis Lett has a way with mushrooms that would make a Portland forager green with envy; his version topped with Hen of the Woods, beet greens and melted Taleggio is hauntingly good. The crust splits the difference between traditional and new wave: earthy and a bit sour, soft and pliable underneath but charred and bubbly on top. Thank goodness for the convenience of Gjelina Take Away -- even if that means munching slice after slice while squatting on a small section of curb along Abbot Kinney. 1429 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice; (310) 450-1429; gjelina.com.
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10889 Lindbrook Drive, Los Angeles, CA