These new pizza spots up and down the coast are anything but cheesy
Words by KAREN PALMER
California has always had a weird thing with pizza: We don’t necessarily have our own “style,” like New York or Chicago, but that doesn’t mean that West Coast pizzaiolos aren’t pulling perfectly blistered pies out of ovens up and down the coast. A hot new crop of pizza joints is firing up its ovens—including one NYC legend that recently made its Los Angeles debut.
Best for: Igniting Insta-envy. Neighborhood: Culver City. Who’s behind it: The same team behind the beloved Brooklyn pizza joint. What they’re known for: Wood-fired Neapolitan-style pies and a knack for inspired vegetables and salads. What to eat: Look for New York staples such as the Normcore (mozzarella, tomato, garlic, basil and sea salt), as well as a few California-style pies like the honey-drizzled Bee Sting. What to drink: Anything from the cocktail menu featuring hand-pressed juices. Who’s the crowd: Media types who live and work nearby, as well as foodie pilgrims willing to make the trek (and endure the wait). Extra toppings: The brunch- and lunchtime-only cheeseburger, a sleeper hit in Brooklyn, has also made its way onto the West Coast menu. robertaspizza.com.
Best for: Date nights. Neighborhood: L.A.’s Arts District. Who’s behind it: No Name Bar’s Bryan Ling, as well as chef and Gjusta alum Adam Tomei (yes, he’s Marisa’s brother). What they’re known for: An open, modern design from Studio Collective, complete with custom Douglas fir benches and outdoor seating, as well as bar-style pies, chicken Parm and other East Coast specialties. What to eat: Either of the superlative cheese slices—the Regular (made with good ol’ shredded mozzarella) or the Margarita (made with fresh mozz). What to drink: A Moretti, the classic Italian lager. Who’s the crowd: DTLA hipsters. Extra toppings: In Sheep’s Clothing, a highly stylized, high-tech, Tokyo-style kissa (a hi-fi cocktail bar that spins good music) opens through a not-so-secret doorway in the foyer. Expect a café vibe with pour-over coffees, teas and pastries during the day, and a casual, cocktail scene at night. lupettipizzeria.com.
Best for: On-the-go lunch. Neighborhood: L.A.’s Fashion District. Who’s behind it: Steve Samson, chef and owner of highly acclaimed Italian restaurants Sotto and Rossoblu. What they’re known for: Samson calls his pies “Los Angeles style,” which draw inspiration from both Naples and New York. What to eat: Any of the produce-driven pies—a nod to the building’s history as a wholesale produce market—such as the Es-Ca-Role, topped with escarole, red onion, olives, chilies, mozzarella and smoked provolone. What to drink: An ice-cold Mexican Coke or Topo Chico mineral water. Who’s the crowd: Downtown’s lunchtime set. Extra toppings: Pull up a chair at the counters flanking the pizza window, or grab a spot at a table across the sunny courtyard. superfinepizza.com.
Best for: Sports fans. Neighborhood: San Diego’s Little Italy. Who’s behind it: Black Swan Hospitality, a venture from co-founders Douglas Hamm and Anthony Viveros. What they’re known for: Soaring ceilings, a beer hall-meets-sports bar vibe, and pizzas cooked at 900-plus degrees in a Forza Forni wood-burning oven. What to eat: The Salsiccia di Finocchio pie, topped with fennel sausage, cremini mushrooms, garlic sauce, pecorino and fresh oregano. What to drink: Simple but refined drinks such as the NPT (Nolita Prescription Tonic), made with lemon-, cucumber- and rosemary-infused gin and Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic. Who’s the crowd: Families early in the evening, shifting to a mix of locals, tourists and cocktail lovers after 8 p.m. Extra toppings: Did we mention there’s a shuffleboard court to work off your pizza, too? nolitahall.com.
Best for: Pizza purists. Neighborhood: Hayes Valley in San Francisco. Who’s behind it: Italy natives Gianni Chiloiro and Angelo Sannino, the same team behind locations in Mountain View and Cupertino. What they’re known for: Doppio Zero is one of only 18 pizzerias in the state to serve Vera Pizza Napoletana, made with double-zero flour (hence the restaurant’s name). What to eat: The namesake Doppio Zero pie, topped with burrata cheese, prosciutto di Parma, arugula, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and extra-virgin olive oil. What to drink: The Vesuvio, a combination of Hedge Trimmer Gin, blueberry honey syrup, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice and prosecco. Who’s the crowd: Boutique shoppers during the day; locals and the pre-opera crowd at night. Extra toppings: In addition to its 68 seats inside, the pizzeria is planning to open outdoor seating on Gough Street. dzpizzeria.com.
This story originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 Men’s Edition of C Magazine.