“[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.
Crispy Crust, located in the back of a little mini-mall in Atwater Village, is a takeout pizza restaurant that also delivers. The pizzeria takes pride in their fresh ingredients and the amount of toppings they put onto their pies. The salads are never pre-made, and are constructed with the highest quality meats and freshest vegetables available. Customers can choose from eighteen different types of pizza, from buffalo chicken to chili con carne. They also sell Hawaiian, cheese and a Megatopper, with pepperoni, ham, beef, sausage, mushrooms, red onions, green peppers, black olives, tomato sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheese. Custom created pizzas are also available, along with other items like wings, cheesecake and tiramisu. As a little extra nod to the hard working civil servants, police and firefighters receive 50% off regular price items on all pickup orders.
Big Mama's & Papa's Pizzeria sates appetites with a slew of handmade pizzas, fresh toppings, and casual Italian fare at 17 Los Angeles–area locations. Menus vary by location, and include specialty pies such as the garlic-chicken pizza or a build-your-own-calzone option that supplies more than 40 toppings to stuff inside freshly made calzone dough. Gluten-free and whole-wheat crusts address dietary preferences, and catering service transports piping-hot morsels directly to birthday parties or traffic-court dates. Customers can also pick up a free birthday pizza on the day of their birth.
Casa De Pizza’s Sinatra Room takes its name from a visit from the legendary crooner, who reputedly left a $900 tip after sampling one of their pies. The room is filled with autographed Sinatra photos, records, and portraits—and on Thursday nights, his music is recreated by tribute band The Sounds of Sinatra. As for the specialty pizzas that sparked this fervor, they still slide atop black-and-white checkered tablecloths sporting a specially seasoned sauce and 100% whole milk mozzarella cheese. LA Weekly had this to say about the pizza rustica’s blend of capers, Mediterranean olives, and Romano cheese: “Even if you loathe Sinatra, you’ll walk out the door singing this pizza’s praises.” The pizzeria also sates appetites with classic Italian dishes such as baked cannelloni and angel hair pomidora.
Pino Piroso dedicated himself to founding a distinctive, Roman-style pizzeria, saying that "after years of hard work, we knew we had built something very special." His lauded chain eventually grew to include franchises in six states and two countries outside of the United States. Despite their geographic separation, each location has the same stringent standards for their ingredients and their Exit-sign locations. No kitchen stores pizza fixings in a freezer—instead, the cooks begin every morning by stirring sauces, kneading dough, and dicing fresh seasonal toppings from local farms. The circular or rectangular pies can support as many as 33 of these familiar and nontraditional toppings, such as goat cheese, sweet corn, and roasted chicken.