10 Best Pizza Restaurants in Los Angeles
|pizza at Mother Dough|
Of all the pie shops in town that adhere to formalized, Neapolitan-style standards of pizza making -- and there is no shortage of them these days -- none does so with more canonical fervor than Los Feliz's Mother Dough. The menu is obsessively restrained. There isn't so much a kitchen as a long counter where pizzas take shape, buttressed by a bell-shaped oven, radiating heat across the room. The restaurant's name comes from a special, hypersensitive strain of sourdough starter that owner Bez Compani developed and tweaked for years. The oven runs hot enough that a fascinating ring of carbonization develops around the pie, even though its stay in the belly of the beast lasts no more than a minute. Toppings are intentionally minimal: a thin layer of sauce, a whiff of basil and a few bits of mozzarella, or perhaps a handful of uncooked arugula and some transparent shavings of buttery prosciutto. This is fork-and-knife pizza at its most eloquent. 4648 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz; (323) 644-2885, motherdoughpizza.com.
3. Olio Pizzeria
Anne Fishbein The pizza at Olio
Remember that guy in high school who could always be counted on for a perfect set of notes from chemistry class? It turns out he became a pizza chef, and a damn fine one at that. Bradford Kent -- who earned a graduate degree in food science from Cal State Long Beach -- spent several years perfecting his dough recipe, which consists of three separate dough types fermented at different times and temperatures. When combined with a powerhouse oven, fired to 1,200 degrees by a combination of olive and almond wood, the result is a crust modeled after a French baguette -- bubbly and chewy, with a bready interior latticed like a cathedral window. The classic Margherita is sublime, especially an upscale "D.O.C." version made with certified buffalo mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes. But Kent has a flair for off-kilter combinations as well (he used to make a mean Thai curry pizza during his days as a street cart pizzaiolo at the Manhattan Beach farmers market). Daily specials often include seasonal toppings such as figs drizzled with thickened balsamic vinegar, or roasted butternut squash. 8075 W. Third St., L.A.; (323) 930-9490, pizzeriaolio.com.
2. Pizzeria Mozza
Anne Fishbein pizza at Pizzeria Mozza
It would be sacrilege to discuss pizza in Los Angeles without tipping a proverbial cap toward the Italian temple Nancy Silverton forged with help from Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich back in 2006. This materfamilias of pizza showed Angelenos not only what pizza could be but what it should be -- dusting the dreams of new-wave pizzaioli with fennel pollen and Calabrian chiles. The simple pairing of Mozza's famous chestnut-colored crust -- chewy and dense, undulating with dozens of yeasty air pockets -- with vibrant, brick-red tomato sauce and a few gleaming mounds of fresh cheese is a Italian poem transcribed for California palates. Six years later and it's still a must for pizza enthusiasts nationwide. We wouldn't be surprised if the pizza crisscrossed with delicate zucchini blossoms and layered under fat dollops of creamy burrata ends up with a street named after it someday. 641 N. Highland Ave., L.A.; (323) 297-0101, pizzeriamozza.com.
And for our top pick...
10889 Lindbrook Drive, Los Angeles, CA