After spending 38 years cooking for her husband and seven children in New York, Mama D decided to move to California. She packed her grandmother's recipes, arrived on the West Coast, and opened a traditional Italian eatery. Nowadays, Mama D, Papa D, and their children take turns supervising the eatery's kitchen, where chefs roll signature homemade raviolis and fill them with chicken, sautéed spinach, or lobster and crab. Using dough made with filtered water, they knead Mama D's Neapolitan pizzas and top them with homemade sauce and freshly grated parmesan. Most of the restaurant's dishes are named after their inventors. Names such as Julianna's homemade meatball, Gary's veal parmigiana, Jr.'s chicken limone, and Cheryl's steamed clams contribute to Mama D's family atmosphere and make it easier for Julianna, Gary, and Cheryl to remember their favorite dishes.
The door to Mama D's rests beneath a green awning and opens to a casual eatery with tables veiled in red-and-white checkered tablecloths. Passing through the interior, diners arrive at an outdoor seating area decked out with a fireplace and sun umbrellas.
Located in a spacious dining room and roughly 100 yards from the beach and Manhattan Beach Pier, Manhattan Pizzeria specializes in Italian dishes that have become American classics. The owner, who was worked as a chef at Spago in Beverly Hills, utilizes a menu of pizzas with eclectic ingredients, bowls of sauce-covered pasta, hot wings by the dozen, calzones, and a wide variety of subs and salads. As patrons mull over pizza toppings, the cooks can suggest combinations such as buffalo chicken with mozzarella and red onions, or speciality pizzas such as the Deluxe. Alongside the pizzas, chefs use their toppings to create hot and cold subs, as well as salads that burst with vegetables like a scarecrow’s investment portfolio.
Pedone's Pizza's cooks fulfill their titular promise for pies, but they use their ovens for far more than baking crust. They also whip up a slew of Italian specialties, from bubbling lasagna to toasty chicken-parmesan sandwiches. In addition to classic dishes, they flex their culinary creativity when creating their pizzas, sometimes replacing the standard tomato-based sauce with alfredo, thai sauce, or Kristina's secret pink sauce. Customers have the option of a preselected suite of toppings to accompany each sauce, or they can make their own recipes from a selection of fresh ingredients with which the kitchen staff will top any pie or vacation scrapbook.
Fresh ingredients rule at Stefano's Pizzeria, with homemade sauce and farmers'-market herbs and veggies spreading their power over a doughy dominion. The menus at both the Santa Monica Place and Howard Hughes locations manifest four kinds of hand-tossed pies, including thin New York–style pizza ($2.75–$4/slice), which Stefano's native New Yorker owner carried with him to the coast, transporting simple cheese pies beneath the seat and in overhead compartments. The thick Sicilian–style ($3+/slice) has traveled even further, embodying secret recipes handed down through generations. Inventive gourmet varieties ($21.50–$24.50 for 18") present creative concoctions of barbecue-chicken-and-four-cheese pizza, and stuffed selections ($5.25/slice) arrive tableside, bursting with toppings and oven gossip.