Thursday, September 20, 2012

Who makes the best pizza?

If there was ever a question that has no answer that’s the one. Other than agreeing that it’s not Dominos there is absolutely no consensus. Even if we have a pizza we consider our favorite we’re always open to suggestions for one that’s better.

I’m particularly particular. My all-time favorite pizza no longer exists. There was a restaurant in Westwood called La Barbera’s. Hard to describe but their pizza was super molto bene – a thick and unique blend of cheese, dynamite sauce, and a crust that was thin but almost spongy. I’ve never tasted anything like it. La Barbera’s went to that big pie in the sky years ago and I’ve been trying to find a comparable pizza since. I figured, one or two of the chefs had to still have the recipe. I once heard that a parlor near the airport served La Barbera’s pizza. I drove down there like a madman. Nope. Wasn’t the same. And now I was stuck down at the airport. Various forums also recommended Little Toni’s in the Valley. I’ve had Peking Duck that was closer.

My second favorite pizza also is no longer. When I was stationed at Ft. Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis during my advanced training, there were two very industrious college dudes off base who started a pizza delivery service. One guy made the pizzas and the other delivered them to the various barracks. Now it could be that my taste buds were dulled by army chow, but those pizzas were surprisingly awesome.

Today more than ever there is such a huge variety. In LA it seems a new gimmicky pizza place opens every ten minutes. One we have in Westwood (near me) is called 800 DEGREES. You order your pizza the way you order a Subway sandwich. You move down the line while guys load up your pie with the toppings and features you desire. Then it’s placed in an 800 degree oven and flash baked. The result is a decent pizza. But there are lines around the block. I don’t get it.  Meanwhile, Mafia Pizza down the block is always empty.  Hard to believe with that inviting name. 

In LA we have numerous chains. CALIFORNIA PIZZA COMPANY is your standard reliable option, but they now clearly emphasize other entrees besides pizza because pineapple toppings are no longer the rage. B.J.’s is another. But are you really going to find superb pizza in the same restaurant that serves Thai salmon and baby back ribs?  NUMERO UNO is the deep dish equivalent. But for me they're numero venti. 

Another hot chain is Pitfire. And then there’s Wildflour – for the organic pizza aficionado.  Hey, you get hungry hugging trees all day. 

We also have Tombstone Pizza, but my daughter, Annie's rule applies here.  She eats no food where the consequences are in the title. 

We also have schticky pizzas in Los Angeles, like Lucifer’s, described as
thin-crust gourmet pizzas and a rockin' gothic sensibility.”  Yeah,  I can just picture them all sitting around the Castle of Otranto on a dark stormy night waiting for the pizza to be delivered.

Maybe the most controversial pizza in Southern California is Barone’s. Very thin-crust and rectangle. Some people love it, others think it’s like eating cardboard – and not even good cardboard.

Pizza-by-the-slice also is somewhat lost on me. I know New Yorkers swear by Ray’s (or Original Ray’s, or Ray’s Original, or Rey’s, or Rey’s Original), but to me it’s just re-heated.  That's breakfast pizza.

Deep dish Chicago style is great but super-filling. And takes forever to make.

Every town has its own standouts. You just gotta know who they are. When I broadcast minor league baseball in Syracuse I discovered Arturo’s Decent Italian Food. Their pizza was way better than decent. You’re welcome to chime in with your favorite from wherever you are. I do vaguely recall that the pizza in Firenze was pretty good. Not an authentically Italian perhaps as Matteo’s in Maui but still worth sampling.

And finally, if you’re like me, just reading this – I bet you're hungry for a pizza like right NOW.

83 comments:

That Neil Guy said...

My favorite, when I lived in LA many moons ago, was a place in the valley called Joe Peeps. Best pepperoni pizza ever.

Doug said...

I hardly ever get there, but Pizzeria Bianco in downtown Phoenix is outstanding. Ken, make a stop next time you're in town, but be ready for a long line. Have an adult beverage while you wait....

Len said...

This transplanted New Yorker is totally sold on Vito's Pizza, located in a strip mall on La Cienega just south of Santa Monica. Vito (yes, there is a Vito) is from New Jersey and somehow makes the pizza taste just like the East Coast. The best in town.

Mike K said...

Nicky D's in Los Feliz is a pretty good pie.

Vincenzo's up in Santa Clarita is a really, really good pizza.

Though, as a disclaimer, I actually like Numero Uno as well, but I think that is more because of the fact that I grew up on that pizza. My parents loved it and whenever we had pizza that is what we had. It was better back then as well.

D T Nelson said...

When you are in Seattle, I hope you get your pizza at Zeek's.

Anonymous said...

Ken, Ken, Ken...

There is no great pizza west of the Mississippi. Maybe none west of Philly. (OK, in upstate New York like Rochester, yes), but that's only technically west.

That said, I loved La Barberas too, but it wasn't in Westwood, it was on Wilshire, west of Barrington.

Len is right about Vito's, but it's only good if you haven't been in New York in a few months.

David

Guy said...

Mozza. Mozza. Mozza.

Paul Duca said...

What's your opinion of Shakey's...or can't you use that kind of language online?

Tom said...

Arturo's Syracuse! Loved that place, right down to the absurdly "Long Hall" to the bathroom.

Samuel Braff said...

Abbot's Pizza is the way to go, Ken. If you haven't tried it, you're missing out.

Jeremiah Avery said...

Two Amys in D.C. is quite good and as close as one can get in the U.S. to the sort I had when I was in Rome a few years back.

Speaking of D.C., Ken, are you going to be in the area for a possible book signing? Amazon FINALLY shipped your book to me; looking forward to reading it.

Kate said...

I know people in LA are tired of hearing people from NYC say "You can only get that in NYC" but in the case of pizza, I believe it to be true. Nay, gospel. And in a City of truly great pizza, the best IMHO is John's of Bleecker Street. Coal oven, thin crust, delicious sauce. Hasn't changed since my father brought me there over 30 years ago. And with the way this City changes, that is a good thing.

XJill said...

My friend JUST emailed me about 800 Degrees and said the "lines are around the block, we HAVE to go!" so maybe it's just the novelty of it??

i could be a bob said...

Your description of Barone's cracks me up- I like it but I've brought people there who very much disagreed with me.

I haven't visted there a lot, but I enjoy Tony's Bella Vista in Burbank.

I agree with That Neil Guy- Peeps pepperoni is fantastic, but bring a defibrillator.

And thanks to poster Len - I've driven by Vito's but never stopped in; I'll try it out.

David Schwartz said...

John's Pizza on Bleecker Street in New York's Greenwich Village is my favorite as well.

Here in Southern California I recommend two places that are excellent:

1. Marri's Pizza in Long Beach. Absolutely terrific crust and great cheese and sauce.

2. Pitfire Pizza on Pico (and there are also other locations around LA). Wonderful individual pizzas with terrific crust and sauce. Mmmmm....

Wendy M. Grossman said...

when I used to travel full time as a folksinger, I found that in every town there was always a place that had "the best pizza in the country". In NYC I was always told it was Goldberg's pizza.

But the fact is that the pizza I like best is the pizza I make at home from scratch.

wg

Curt Alliaume said...

Damn it, Ken - you just changed my lunch plans!

RCP said...

Aside from Chef Boyardee's Pizza Kit - the best pizzas I've had were usually in non-chain and now-defunct hole in the walls or unexpected places that didn't specialize in pizza. One in particular was thin crust with just a sprinkling of cheese ( I can't stand great globs of cheese) with herbs and green olives - that was 34 years ago yet the memory lingers. Great suggestions from fellow posters.

Anonymous said...

If you ever get to the St. Louis area try Stefanina's Pizza out in O'Fallon, MO. It's St. Louis style. Thin crust. 3 cheeses. It's the best pizza I've ever had and I LOVE PIZZA.

The place was opened about 30 years ago by Mama Stef. The original location had only a few tables and she'd cook the pizza and serve it. They now have "express" locations but the big restaurant is in O'fallon.

Also try the St. Louis speciality of toasted ravioli while you're there :)

Ray Barrington said...

When a visiting (Italian-descent) New York sportswriter was in Green Bay a while back, he asked about local restaurants, I suggested our top local Italian place. His response: "I never eat in an Italian restaurant outside of New York. It'll kill ya."

Mike Schryver said...

Ray's sportswriter of Italian descent makes me think of those Olive Garden commercials where a large stereotypical Italian family are all enjoying dinner at Olive Garden. It's like a lost episode of The Montefuscos. No Italian person I know would ever go there.

David is right - there's no really good pizza west of Philly.

benson said...

Sorry, David is wrong. No good pizza east of Chicago.

Pequod's on N. Clybourne, just north of downtown is my personal favorite, but certainly Lou Malnati's is in the arugument, as are Giordano's, Uno, Due and several others.

Sorry, like ESPN, the pizza world doesn't revolve around the east coast.

Ted said...

No actual bagel was ever made anywhere west of Coney Island.

Dana Gabbard said...

Two socal pizzas I enjoy are King of New York with two locations in Koreatown and Chicago Pasta House in Moreno Valley. The forwer is a good thin crust/light sauce NY style pie. The latter was recommended by food writer Jonathan Gold and has authentic chicago style pizza (takes 30 minutes+ to bake). A schlepp past Riverside but well worth the trip--YUM!

Honorable mention to Pietro's, which back in the 70s/80s was a chain in the Pacific Northwest before contracting to three locations in coastal Oregon. Crust had tine hole and very crispy. Just the memory makes me salivate...


iain said...

Angelo's Pizza - for the next time you're driving through Lakewood OH.

DRH said...

Amante in Seattle is my favorite ... but when in NYC give me Lombardi's ...

Lewis & Clark said...

Milo and Olive on the 2700 block of Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica is possibly the best pizza I've ever had. It's on the pricey side, but the mushroom ($20) is a whole pie of heaven. (Feel free to use that in your ads, Milo & Olive).

Cap'n Bob said...

We have a Pizza Hut nearby, and a Papa John's. If there's something better in Tacoma I'd like to know about it.

Mike said...

I vote Dominos.

Jon J said...

When I was at DINFOS in 1967 (BMJ-14) a pizza delivery guy wouldn't have made it past the door to the barracks. He would have been stripped of his goods when the first person smelled pizza. But, I sure wish we had known about your friends. We would have gladly met them in the parking lot.

Of course, the Dog and Suds did have mighty refreshingly cold beer.

Bob Claster said...

Len is absolutely correct about Vito's. And the music is great there, too.

Here's what you're missing about the slices deal. This was the key element in NY acquiring the reputation as the world's best pizza to begin with. When a slice is put back in the oven a second time, it re-melts the cheese and sauce, and slightly toasts the bottom of the crust, to give the slice some stiffness and snap. I will take a re-heated slice over a slice newly cut from a pie any day. (Assuming, of course, that it wasn't made days ago, and isn't reheated improperly, etc., etc.)

Sadly, good pizza joints, which used to be on every other block in Manhattan on Broadway and elsewhere in the '60s, are now quite scarce. The Italian immigrants made enough money to send their kids to college, and they don't want to spend their days in front of a hot pizza oven. Most of the pizza joints are now owned by Armenians, Puerto Ricans, Pakistanis, etc., etc.

Sal's in Mamaroneck is still great, Sal & Carmine's up around 102nd and Broadway is still pretty good (but those guys are getting awfully old), and I hear there are still some very good places in Brooklyn.

Never eat at any pizza place (or, really, any place at all) that has the word "Famous" in the name.

Alanboss said...

Favorite chain... Buca de Beppo. Favorite local... Lomreli's in Gardena, CA. And The Cafe on the Paramount lot has a darned good fire grilled pizza.

Nixon said...

In Seattle there are 3 that I think are outstanding...Serious Pie, La Pulchinella and Tutta Bella.

Matt Dawdy said...

Minsky's in KC. It's right by my house. Let me know if you ever come to KC and want the best pizza ever.

David Whitham said...

the next time you cover a series in Boston, you have to go to Little Italy Pizza in Beverly.

I found this place while visiting my daughter at college, and beats everything on Wooster Street in New Haven, and beats anything I've every had in NYC.

http://www.littleitalybeverly.com/

Breadbaker said...

We were in Detroit for three nights and went to Buddy's twice. That's all you need to know

Angela said...

Pasqualino's In Penn Hills, PA (just east of Pittsburgh)has the most INCREDIBLE pizza. Their Steak & Cheese hoagies are also to Die for. It's A Family owned business. When I was a Kid, It Was Pasqualino's Pizza Palace (or just Pizza Palace) and it was a little hole in the wall with two small tables for eating in. Now, They've dropped the pizza palace part and had to buy out the whole plaza where they're located just to fit the droves of customers who come in.

Mike said...

Never mind all this old cobblers about Pizza.
Who serves the best Fish & Chips?

Mike Schryver said...

I really miss Arthur Treacher's.

Anonymous said...

I like dominoes the best since they improved I found a similar article about dominoes vs papa johns if anyone wants to check it out
http://www.squidoo.com/dominos-vs-papa-johns

also its hard to ask that questions because there are so many great mom and pop pizza shops too

chuckcd said...

Munchies Pizza in Fountain Valley CA
is the best!
Sounds like Kramer from Seinfeld opened that 800 Degrees place!

Susie said...

Here in the Twin Cities Punch Pizza is considered very good, but it's the kind of thin crust, flash cooked pizza all of you were talking about. I like Green Mill's stuffed pizza - very good!

susie

VP81955 said...

Ledo Pizza, a suburban Washington-based chain, has restaurants throughout the mid-Atlantic region and as far south as Tampa. Their pizzas are rectangular, with a wonderfully flavorful crust.

If you're ever in Ames, Iowa (trying to figure out why Ken would be in Ames, unless Iowa State's mass communications school invited him to speak), check out Great Plains Sauce & Dough -- all sorts of splendid gourmet pizzas.

pumpkinhead said...

Vincent's Pizza in Pittsburgh 20 years ago.

XJill said...

@ Mike re: Fish & Chips
Cat & Fiddle in Hollywood
Fords Filling Station in Culver City

YUM.MY.

For Ken - any new sitcoms you like this fall??

Steven Gordon said...

Best pizza I had growing up was Mike's Pizza on Roscoe in the good ol' SF Valley.
They had a strange way of cutting it (which I didn't realize until much later) all vertical and horizontal cuts

Anonymous said...

In Los Angeles, FOLIERO'S on Figueroa in Highland Park by far has the best pizza. The crust is incredible...and I'm a Chicago boy so I know my pizza.

Thin Crust said...

I'm surprised no has mentioned D'Amore's. I used to go to the original Valley location, they always prided themselves on catering the studios. Lot's of 8x10's on the wall, who knew Ed Asner love pizza so much? They now have a number of locations in the south land.

Rick said...

In Minneapolis, Pizza Luce has some great creative pizzas, like garlic mashed potato, as well old stand-by's. Good sandwiches, too. Leaning Tower of Pizza is a south Minneapolis institution. The Potter is my favorite. On Eat Street (Nicollet Ave.) is a little hole-in-the-wall called A Slice of New York. Great pizza. I once ordered a slice to go and I said, "I'll heat it at home." Before he would give me the slice he wanted to make sure I wasn't going to heat it in the microwave. I finally got my slice when I told him I already had my oven pre-heating.

Ryan D. said...

If you get tired of Chili's while in Phx for Spring Training. Try http://www.pizzeriabianco.com

Ben Kubelsky said...

Best in Chicago: Lou Malnati's. Best in Akron: Luigi's. Best in Cleveland: just drive to Akron.

Nathan said...

This is the best pizza!

Roger Owen Green said...

Himalaya Indian Restaurant And Pizza in a most unimpressive-looking building in Niagara Falls, NY.

chas said...

Never liked La Barbera's. Too wet and sloppy. Barone's is much better. Lou Malnati's in Chicago also makes a thin pizza that tastes a lot like Barone's. Best hipster pizza is Olio at Third and Crescent Heights.

ScottyB said...

Ken: Dude, dude, dude -- quit falling for this whole "the only REAL Chicago pizza is stuffed pizza" bullshit. Someone only came up with that to make everyone forget about Al Capone and Michael Jordan. The only REAL Chicago pizza is a flat concoction with made by hand like they did 60, 70 years ago -- decades WAY BEFORE a stuffed pizza got thought of, made in stand-alone shelf ovens. A gorgeous thing with tangy-kinda-sorta sweet sauce, plenty of melty-ass mozzarella on a bed of crisp dough sliced into squares (they called it "party-style" back in the day) instead of pie-shaped. Next time you're in town for a White Sox game, I'll have a place in the far, far, far South Side neighborhood of Hegewisch (right next to the Illinois-Indiana border) that I deliver for that'll send you one that'll be a total fucking treat and is damn close to what you described. Seriously.

ScottyB said...

In Chicago, "hipster" and "pizza" are two words that have no rightful business being together in the same sentence.

ScottyB said...

Ken: You think pizza debate is bad? You should see the shit that they they go thru every single day on the 'A Hamburger Today' blog.

ScottyB said...

Ken: I'm gonna take a stab at the source of your opening photo: Some sort of Papa John's (mis)creation. Jesus fookin' Christ -- that's an abomination. Crust/dough 3/4-inch thick, *pieces* of canned topping (Christ, maybe those were once green peppers at one time, but now ...), and nowhere NEAR enough cheese. I cry for you in LA, Argentina ...

Cap'n Bob said...

I don't dislike Domino's pizza, but their fabulously rich owner supports anti-abortion groups (as does the owner of the Carl's, Jr chain). So, I buy elsewhere.

Robin Raven said...

My favorite pizza is Mellow Mushroom's! I highly recommend theirs with vegan cheese. Not kidding. It's absolutely superb.

Beatrice said...

I've never tasted american pizza so I can't say; but I can reccomend some good places here in Rome, in case you drop by!

One of the most famous (and attended) Roman pizzeria is Panattoni on Viale Trastevere. Romans call it L'Obitorio (the morgue) because of its marble tables (Pier Paolo Pasolini gave it this nickname)! Everybody knows this place; they make the real Roman pizza, thin and crunchy, and a lot of typical roman appetizers.

If you prefer Neapolitan pizza (thin and soft with high sides, named cornicione "ledge") go to Pizzarè, via di Ripetta 4, near Piazza del Popolo.

Otherwise, if you're in the mood to overdo, go to I Gerani (Peppe's)in via della Pisana: they make the biggest pizza in the city (diameter 40-50 cm) and it's not expensive at all!

And last, for the pizza-by-the-slice I think the best is Pizza Rosy in via Latina 123 (ufortunatly it's not in the city centre).

Another thing: when you eat in an italian pizzeria you should order appetizers such as olive ascolane, fried mozzarella, fried zucchini flowers, fried cod fillets and bruschette!

Anyway everyone thinks they make the best pizza in the world: Neapolitan people generally don't like Roman pizza and vice versa, and we both don't appreciate much the pizza they make in northern Italy!
And no offense, everytime I see a slice of american pizza on tv I have a heart attack: de gustibus (and probably prejudice) :D

Anonymous said...

Well, I learned one thing from all these comments. Asking who makes the best pizza is like standing up at a Star Trek convention and asking who the best Star Trek character is.

Subjective, precious hyperbole galore.

Just EAT the fucking PIZZA, you goddamn nerds!!

Dave Arnott said...

Ken, for me it wasn't La Barbera's, it was Mario's in Westwood. And the closest thing I've found to that... you've already mentioned (and clearly don't care for): Little Toni's, which I love.

So there's your grain of salt.

I really like Barone's. I love the lasagna pizza at Dino's (add pepperoni to it when you order it and it's extra bonus sublime). I wish I liked Vito's more, 'cause it *is* the real deal... but for some reason, Village Pizza on Larchmont scratches that itch better for me. My chain pizzas of choice are Round Table, Buca di Beppo (the pepperoni & peperoncini one), and California Pizza Kitchen (not "Company," as you mention... unless there's another chain I don't know about)

Mozza is really good, if that's the evening you want. Ditto Bottega Louie downtown. I though 800 degrees was more interesting than tasty. I think part of what people love about it, tho, is that it's inexpensive for a "real" pizza.

And finally, if you ever get up to Thousand Oaks (or Simi Valley), there's a Mom & Pop chain called Toppers Pizza Place that's like nothing here in town. I recommend ANY of their specialty pizzas... but not the plain cheese, for some reason (well, the place its called Toppers, after all).

Brook Durham said...

Ken,

Have you tried "Mulberrry's." I'm from the east coast where good pizza is plentiful. I've found Mulberry's to be the best in the west. Also doesn't hurt that it's "owned by Oscar-nominated actress Cathy Moriarty."

http://mulberrypizzeria.com/

Mike McCann said...

>>Maybe the most controversial pizza in Southern California is Barone’s. Very thin-crust and rectangle. Some people love it, others think it’s like eating cardboard – and not even good cardboard. >>

I'm surprised "anonymous" about halfway down the page didn't point out the similarity of this recipe to the St. Louis-area chain IMO's. (Also notable for its use of provel cheese, a very sour-tasting product that's unknown outside St. Lou.) I lived there seven years and never got it. But there are a lot of Cardinals fans (and Chuck Berry's neighbors) who love the stuff.

Mark said...

Ken - Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock is the best - we only get the sausage pizza. The crust is thin and non-intrusive, the sauce and cheese have the perfect tang (not sweet), the sausage is supposedly ground on the spot (whatever the hell that means), they're only open from 4:00 until late and there is a constant line outside - no reservations for parties less than 6.

The pie (at least the large) is huge and cut checkerboard style, and, amazingly, tastes good (although not as good as fresh) when you reheat the leftovers the next day.

Vinny said...

Ken,
Unfortunately Matteo's in Wailea has put out the wood burning oven and closed its doors for business. We lost the best pizza and sandwich place on the south side of Maui. There is a new place that took over the location, but DO NOT BE FOOLED...it is so terrible I will not ruin the decency of this blog by giving out their name.

The next best choice (now the ONLY smart choice) on Maui is up in Pukalani at Serpico's. It's a relatively small location (maybe 10 tables) and the service leaves a lot to be desired (mostly high schoolers or just graduated high schoolers), but the pies are amazing. Try the Eggplant Specialty pizza and you'll easily suffer through the service issues.

My heart broke when Matteo told me he was closing. Such a nice man, great chef and a good friend.

Thanks for the blog.

cshel said...

Even though I'm late to the party, I have to chime in for Barone's pizza in the Valley!!!

Barone's is the best! Just plain cheese with no toppings. A true test of pizza deliciousness.

I also like that, when they moved location, they kept the same old-school Italian restaurant decor.

Bucky Sinclair said...

Wow, I'm surprised to not see any mentions of Hollywood Pies. They're a pick-up or delivery-only kitchen on Robertson just off of Pico. My sister grew up in Chicago with pan, deep dish, stuffed, and thin pizzas. I sent her to Hollywood Pies (from back here in Chicago!), and she was completely pleased. We joked that it took her 30 years as an immigrant Angeleno to find a great Chicago-style deep dish pizza. She said they're "delicious."

Janice said...

Barone's is dreadful - not only does it taste like cafeteria cardboard, it's the greasiest stuff ever. It could soak through the table. Nevertheless it was my brother's favorite place when they were on Ventura.

My favorite place, Paty's Take n Bake, doesn't seem to be there anymore. However, Gelson's now does a take home fresh every day bake it yourself pizza which is outstanding.

Dana Meijler said...

In case you ever find yourself in Pittsburgh, go to Mineo's in Squirrel Hill. Best pies for generations.

DC said...

"Two Saucy Broads" in Fullerton.

Steve Peresman said...

Yes...absolutely Mineo's. The secret...the cheese is the star...and the toppings are baked UNDER the cheese.

Good place for dinner...then to the strip district after midnight for Primanti's sandwiches. Cole slaw and french fries on the sandwich.

If the Pirates didn't break our heart every year, we could go during the MLB playoffs.

Dan Hoard said...

I am happy to have shared some of those Arturo's pizzas with you!
The next time you're in Boston, try Santarpios near Logan Airport. The atmosphere makes Arturo's look like The Ritz, but it is the Vin Scully of pizza. There's no higher praise right?

yatesy said...

I was in la last september and rana cross a place downtown called Garage Pizza, claiming to make good NYC style pizza. As a Philly resident, I was intrigued. And you know what? The pizza was pretty damn good! I think there is one in Silver Lake too, and it's worth the trip. I wrote about it on my food blog if you want to read more before checking it out. http://didjaeat.com/2011/10/26/la-trip-assorted-food-nonsense/

cadavra said...

Cassano's in Dayton, OH and surrounding environs. Emd of discussion.

katherine said...

Original Domenicos on East Washington Blvd. in Pasadena. Surprised no one has mentioned it. Not bad pizza at all. No deliveries, very old school.

My best pizza ever was somewhere in South Phila in the 70s - the place was on 13th street, we were told to go there by Hank the bartender who called ahead and told them to keep the place open til we got there. We tried to tell him what we wanted on the pizza, but he waved us off and said into the phone, "A tomato pie. They'll be there in a minute. Keep the place open til they get there."

Best pizza I ever tasted.

Never found out which place it was - we were three sheets to the wind at the time. Much the same as Chinese restaurants we went to. Always at 2 am after the bars closed, somewhere in Chinatown, up a flight of stairs, white tile walls.... That's all I can remember.

Christiana said...

Ovengrinders in Chicago, and in Los Angeles, Hollywood Pies. They just moved to Beverly Hills and they're the closest I've been able to find to a Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

Little Miss Nomad said...

I'm from New Haven County, CT, which makes even NY pizza look by and large shitty, so LA is practically a wasteland for me. I've had non-awful pizza at Caioti on Tujunga in Studio City (right across from the Robert Blake murder). For a non-red pizza, the chicken pesto pizza from Ameci has grown on me. As far as I can tell, that's the best you can get in the east SF Valley.

Knuckles said...

Next time you're in Seattle, Ken, you should check out Via Tribunali on Capitol Hill. Neapolitan style, and ridiculously delicious.

Jim said...

Asking who makes the best pizza in California is like asking who will be the Astros' MVP.

RyderDA said...

Ken, greetings from Maui where (on this visit) I discovered your beloved Matteo's closed April 30, 2012. A new pizza joint under new ownership and management unrelated to Matteo's has opened in its place. Haven't been there yet.

Rumour has it Sr. Matteo may be opening another restaurant in another location, but that hasn't occurred yet.

The Comic Scholar said...

If you're ever in the Boston area, there's a little town called Swampscott, and in that town, by the train station, there's a pizza place called Captain's Roast Beef and Pizza (for reference, every non-chain restaurant near Boston sells roast beef). The town is smaller than a postage stamp, but the pie is excellent.