L.A. has every style of pizza you loveand many you never even knew existed.

By Andy Wang
April 28, 2021
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OSPI pizza
Credit: Photo by Melissa Saka / Photo Treatment by Meredith Digital Design

One thing about the excellent pizza in Los Angeles, like so much of the excellent food in Los Angeles, is that it shows up in unlikely places. It shows up in corners where you would never think to look, and it shows up in pockets that you look at all the time but dismiss.

So maybe you should start your quest for excellent L.A. pizza by heading to one of the city's more touristy blocks. Seriously, go to the famous Venice sign at Pacific Avenue and Windward Avenue. You might not believe what you find.

Great White is a café where beach-loving entrepreneurs and a Goop-adjacent crowd eat avocado toast and tuna conserva salads right by the Venice sign. It's also where talented Chilean chef Juan José Ferreiro has put together a wood-fired pizza menu with perfectly chewy thin-crust pies that fight back when you bite into them, but not too much.

Ospi, a short stroll from the Venice sign, is where pasta maestro Jackson Kalb worked with renowned dough doctor Noel Brohner to develop cracker-thin pizzas that are inspired by Rome but calibrated for the free spirit of Los Angeles. (Consider Ospi's pizza with ground pepperoni, pineapple, and raw and pickled jalapeños as Exhibit A.) Brohner, meanwhile, also opened Hotel Erwin's Venice Way Pizza, with square slices and pies a few steps from the Venice sign.

But maybe an even more unlikely place to find terrific pizza is your own driveway. Meet Speak Cheezy, a new L.A. pizza van from Jason Winters of Urban Pie. For a $250 minimum, Winters and his crew will show up at your home for a private party and make fantastic sourdough pizzas like the anchovy-forward Bon Chovie, which has the pleasantly intense flavors of puttanesca.

Bestia Pizza
Credit: Nicole Franzen

Los Angeles has every style of pizza you probably love, and also so many flavor combinations you probably never considered on pizza.

You can head to the San Fernando Valley for a legit New York-style slice at Pizza Wagon of Brooklyn, which has brought the flavors of Bay Ridge to Sherman Oaks. Studio City's LBK is another Brooklyn-to-L.A. standout in the Valley. Meanwhile, downtown L.A.'s Superfine is where revered Rossoblu chef Steve Samson deftly weaves together New York and Neapolitan pizza influences to create his own style. (Hot tip: During the pandemic, Samson started serving Superfine pizzas at Rossoblu, and he plans to continue this.) For Detroit-style pizza, there's on-the-rise DTown Pizzeria in West Hollywood and Long Beach. And is it any surprise that Naples mainstay L'Antica Pizzeria Da Michele (yes, the pizza place in Eat Pray Love) opened its first U.S. outpost in Hollywood?

In Rancho Palos Verdes, you've got Burattino, where Korean-Angeleno proprietor Lee Kim has ultra-crunchy crusts and vibrant toppings that include both green and red chorizo from local sausage legend The Chori-Man. In Boyle Heights, chef Mario Christerna's Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. is inspired by his Chicano roots, so he's got a mole pie. Christerna also makes discada, a Mexican preparation of pork and beef, for his version of a meat lover's pizza.

OSPI Pizza
Credit: Wonho Frank Lee

Is L.A. the best pizza city in America? That's not even the right question. In L.A., pizza is about celebrating different styles and different flavors. Is L.A. the most uninhibited pizza city in America? Of course it is. From the yolk-porn duck-egg pie at Love & Salt in Manhattan Beach to all the restaurants where Brohner has helped great chefs dial in their pizza (including Evan Funke's pasta palace Felix and Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis's multi-regional Italian marvel Bestia), L.A. is stretching the limits of its imagination as it stretches its dough. Here's where to start:

Speak Cheezy

Have you seen the pizza van? If you pay attention to L.A. food on social media, you've probably seen the pizza van. Chef Jason Winters has long been known for sourdough pies that require 120 hours of fermentation. But it was only recently that he put an oven in a van and started driving par-baked dough around the city. This van, known as Speak Cheezy, has been a breakout hit that now regularly visits the homes of Hollywood celebrities, pro athletes, adult-entertainment entrepreneurs, and food-industry insiders.

A few hundred dollars gets you a "micro party" for about a dozen people, who can try pizzas topped with Bloomsdale spinach or AmaRosa potatoes or, best of all, clams and 'nduja. Winters also makes carbonara pies and a black garlic pizza inspired by a bowl of ramen. If you don't want to book a party, or if you're visiting from out of town, Winters also posts up around the city to sell individual pizzas (check Speak Cheezy's Instagram account for details). instagram.com/speak_cheezy

Speak Cheesy Pizza
Credit: Sterling Reed Photography

Pizzana

Daniele Uditi's neo-Neapolitan pizzerias in Brentwood and West Hollywood excel at everything from a braised short rib pizza to a cacio e pepe pizza to a black truffle pizza. This is also where you can find a perfect margherita. pizzana.com

Ronan

The drenched marinara pizza at Caitlin and Daniel Cutler's modern mom-and-pop restaurant on Melrose Avenue is fierce and funky with garlic, anchovies, and "too much sauce." You should absolutely add some 'nduja to this leopard-spotted pizza for even more of a wonderful jolt. ronanla.com

Great White

Both the margherita and the spicy Niman Ranch sausage pizza at this Venice café are exemplary, with shockingly good chewy dough and the ideal balance of cheese and sauce. The textures and flavors here rival high-profile pizza places all over the city. Great White is working to open new locations in both Larchmont and West Hollywood later this year. This feels like the beginning of an L.A. pizza empire. greatwhitevenice.com

Bestia Pizza
Credit: Nicole Franzen

Bestia

There are so many reasons to visit this Arts District powerhouse. But along with the beloved bone marrow and pastas, we recommend that every meal here includes a pizza or two. The sourdough crusts are beautifully charred, and standout topping combinations include prosciutto with fermented serrano chiles and fennel pollen. bestiala.com

U Street Pizza

Marie Petulla and Christopher Keyser's new Pasadena pizza place masterfully blends East Coast and West Coast influences in specialties like a clam pie that's inspired by Connecticut but finished with Fiscalini cheddar from California. ustreetpizza.com