The chefs at FalconesPizza can cater to any pizza palate. Depending on a customer's personal tastes, they toss crusts that are hearty and thick or as thin as the parchment from which Leonardo da Vinci placed his first take-out order. Toppings, too, range from traditional flavors, such as the pesto, garlic, tomatoes, and fresh basil that make up the Napoli, to the inventive combination atop the shrimp pizza, which pairs succulent seafood with chorizo, pepperoni, and onions. Italian meats such as mortadella and capacolla join fresh mozzarella on salads and sandwiches, and family-style trays of baked ziti or lasagna keep large groups from taking over a grocery store.
Hot wings, New York-style pizza, and Philly steak sandwiches may be the signature foods of the east coast, but it's hard to imagine any restaurant treating them with more reverence than west-coast franchise Alondra Hot Wings. The eponymous wings are the house specialty, hot and slathered in one of 18 sauces. Ranked on a scale from mild to atomic?which requires a waiver to order?the sauces also include flavors such as lemon pepper, spicy barbecue, maple syrup, and thai chili.
Alondra's other major influence is written all over the menu?and the walls. Mug shots of famous mafiosi hang throughout the dining room, and the owners are so fascinated by the subject that their website even offers tutorials in mob history. Also from that old Italian-American milieu: pizzas built on from-scratch dough, bearing names such as The Godfather?a hearty amalgam of four meats?and the Little Italy, which flecks chicken breast with basil. Draft beer and wine help mouths cool down after biting into a hot wing or almost insulting the ghost of Al Capone.
A Whittier Boulevard fixture for more than 40 years, De Luca's Italian Restaurant continues to showcase the Boot's classic dishes. Inside the kitchen, cooks toss linguini with clams, coat fettuccini and chicken with a creamy, sherry-spiked tomato sauce, and stuff eggplant and mushrooms into vegetarian-friendly calzones. Pizza-wise, they take their cues from New York by rolling housemade dough into a thin-crust pie covered with mozzarella cheese from Wisconsin. That joins medleys of up to 20 toppings?from cappicola to artichoke hearts?as well as eight specialty pies with additional ingredients such as herbed chicken. To complement feasts, bartenders pour plenty of wines from an extensive list of reds, whites, and America's rare blues.
John's Incredible Pizza Co. graces guests with acres of incandescent entertainment options and a fully stocked buffet ($9.49 value, $1.50 value for drinks). In addition to a slew of soups, salads, pasta, desserts, and traditional pizza choices, the buffet brandishes a bouquet of specialty pizza creations, including spicy peanut-butter, barbecue chicken ranch, and alfredo pizza.
“[It’s] the best pizza I’ve found in Los Angeles,” says comedian and recognized Italian Ray Romano about D’Amore’s Pizza. He’s not the only star to fall for the authentic slices: owner Joe D’Amore has shipped his cracker-thin crusts to destinations across Hollywood, including the set of Two and a Half Men and Jennifer Garner’s house. Whether he’s serving an A-lister or the average hungry citizen, Joe bakes all of his cheesy treats to-order inside a stationary brick oven or an innovative oven on wheels.
D’Amore’s traditional methods and tempting taste are a family legacy. Born and raised in an Italian family in Boston, Joe D’Amore grew up savoring his grandmother Mommanonna's handmade pizzas—a meal he would miss upon moving to California. Joe asked his grandmother to join him out west and show him the secrets to her trade, but when she pulled the pie out of the oven, something wasn't quiet right. Mommanonna immediately knew that the California water was sabotaging her famous cracker-thin crust, and urged Joe to bring water from Boston. Today, he takes the practice a step further, importing water from Italy along with olive oil, flour, and pizza wheels carved by Michelangelo.
From its generations-old recipes to its renowned singing waiters, Miceli's Italian Restaurant is steeped in tradition. The father of the current owners moved to California after World War II, bringing with him two brothers, two sisters, and a host of family recipes from Sicily. Beginning in 1949, they helped to introduce pizza to the old Hollywood crowd in a boisterous space with a detailed mural of a rural Italian scene. Celebrity sightings became a Miceli's tradition; the restaurant has been a rumored hotspot for stars past and present including Lucille Ball, the Beatles, and Marilyn Monroe, who loved pizza and helped to teach America that some people like it hot.
Joe Miceli now owns and operates two locations with his brother Frank, a trained chef. Stained-glass windows add to the eatery's welcoming family atmosphere as diners sit around tables in ornate wooden chairs. A collection of wine bottles hangs over tables loaded with specialties such as pizza with bay shrimp and fresh garlic or creamy pesto fettuccine with a signature romano-cheese sauce. As they deliver bottles of wine from as nearby as Napa and as far away as Tuscany, the wait staff sings classic Italian arias, show tunes, and all nine verses of the birthday song.