Where to Find the Best Pizzas in LA
Where does your mind wander when you think about the best pizza in the world? Naples, of course. Rome too. Also New York. But one city has quietly been upping their pizza game in a way that will probably take you by surprise – Los Angeles.
The city of Angels used to be known as a place where it was impossible to even get a good New York slice, let alone artisanal fare and authentic versions of Napolitano classics. But today, LA has become a pizza haven where speciality chefs are perfecting doughs, growing starters, importing San Marzano tomatoes, and using Stefano Ferrara ovens.
Here is a list of the best pizzerias in Tinsel Town that will put most other cities to shame.
Photo credit Paul Feinstein
Chef Daniele Uditi earned his bona fides in Napolitano kitchens, but it’s his family’s 65+ year-old sourdough starter that is the key to his magical pizza. Uditi fires up his pies at Pizzana in a style that is more neo-Neapolitan than it’s flimsier-crusted cousin. What people may not realise, is that Uditi also makes the best gluten free pizza in the whole city – it shockingly tastes like the real thing.
Photo credit Paul Feinstein.
A Sicilian pizza, sometimes referred to as ‘sfincione’, has a base reminiscent of focaccia with tasty toppings. The best version of this rectangularly crafted pie is at Prime Pizza in LA’s Fairfax District. Their primo Sicilian slice comes with mozzarella, ricotta, pesto, and crushed tomatoes.
Pura Vita Pizzeria
Photo credit Paul Feinstein
Chef Tara Punzone opened the first 100% plant-based Italian restaurant and wine bar in the US and quickly followed it up with her plant-based pizzeria next door. The Neapolitan-style pies come with the exact right amount of crunch and topped with her ‘I can’t believe it’s not real’ mozzarella in addition to vegan versions of pepperoni, sausage, and other plant-based wizardry.
Photo credit Marisa Lynch.
Tonda-style pizza is another Roman export that has a very thin and very crispy, cracker-like crust. Not many pizzerias do it well, but Ospi, a new Italian joint in Venice does it just right. Chef Jackson Kalb takes his culinary mastery to another level with cleverly topped pies like the Spinach-Parmigiano Fonduta with bacon, fior di latte, and fontina; or the Copione with sopressata, honey, and chilli. Other treats on the menu are the Suppli ‘Al Telefono’, a fried treat with oozing scamorza cheese, and the crunchy cannoli that are some of the best in the city.
Fans of fermented dough (and everything else) have a lot to love at this east side LA restaurant. Irish owner Michael McSharry and his dedicated team have perfected a sourdough starter that gives every one of their crusts the perfect tang, crunchy bite, and soft chewy insides. Grá takes fermentation seriously and you can find fascinating toppings like kimchi along with salty sides like pickled cucumbers and marinated beets. Natural wines round out the theme and have you coming back for more.
Photo credit: Carla Choy Margot Landen
Tucked away in Venice, Gjelina is a quintessential LA restaurant that tries to answer the question, ‘what is California cuisine?’ The response is to use loads of local and seasonal ingredients and to create new flavour combinations you didn’t know existed. Their California-style pizzas follow this trend with specials like the Gruyere with caramelised onion and arugula; the Bottarga with smoked mozzarella, confit tomato, and jalapeño; and the white anchovy with bell peppers, Castelvetrano olives, confit tomato, and burrata.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Courtesy of Antica Pizzeria da Michele
True pizza snobs will know the name of this famous restaurant in Naples, and the LA outlet will not disappoint them. The Neapolitan pies are made with the exact same recipe as their Naples sister, which means they’re cooked in a brick oven in about 90 seconds and hit your plate with those perfectly blistered crusts. The patio is the other star here and gives off a sense of the Amalfi Coast as you dine under the stars.
Triple Beam Instagram
Pizza al taglio is a Roman specialty that translates to ‘by the cut’ as pizzaiolo’s literally take scissors to their squared off pizzas to serve by the slice. At Triple Beam in LA’s Echo Park area, you’ll feel transplanted to the eternal city as they cut and weigh each slice to determine the price of your meal. Options include pepperoni, roasted mushroom and shallots, potato and sage, and even a vegan ratatouille slice.
Blackbird Pizza Shop
Blackbird Pizza Shop Instagram
Homesick Chicagoans can get their Windy City fix as Blackbird offers the best deep-dish pizza in town. The ultra-thick pies are enough to feed a giant family, with options that include pork sausage or pesto or roasted garlic and goat cheese. Their signature is the ‘Balls Deep’ that’s filled with their salaciously savoury meatballs and dripping with mozzarella.
Vito's Pizza Instagram
It’s no longer possible to say that LA doesn’t have good New York-style pizza. Vito’s is a no-frills pizza shop that serves the perfect thin slices that remind you of Brooklyn. There are actually 17 different pizzas to choose from, but the traditional cheese and the white pie are the real standouts. Calzones and meatball sandwiches are also pretty great here.
Courtesy of Apollonia
Detroit pizza is having a moment. So much so, Pizza Hut just released a version. If you want to know what Detroit-style is, think of the crappy, frozen Stouffer’s French bread pizza, but make it great. The crust cuts your gums, the toppings sear the roof of your mouth, and you’ll love every minute of it. There’s a version of it at Apollonia that is next level (and has to be ordered special as it’s off menu), and comes with a spicy honey, red sauce, and burrata. It’s revelatory.