Vienna Pizzaria, previously known as The Pizza Guys, extinguishes hunger with customizable pies that headline a full menu of fresh, casual Italian and American fare. Dough molders draw from an arsenal of 38 classic and exotic toppings⎯including everything from clams and boiled eggs to corn and hearts of palm⎯to festoon 16-inch large pizzas. Guests may also take the old-fashioned route with tried-and-true embellishments such as pepperoni and mushrooms, creating a meal as traditional as an edible Norman Rockwell painting. Additionally, house salads squash vegetable cravings with a flurry of ingredients, including kidney beans, cucumbers, and black olives.
The resident chefs at Mama Maria's Ristorante have rolled out their own pizza dough for 20 years, crafting pies alongside platters of authentic Italian cuisine. Chefs use softly risen, house-made pizza dough to hold aloft ingredients including tandoori chicken, barbecue chicken, bacon, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. The skilled kitchen staff sautés calamari with onion, green peppers, tomatoes, and olives for calamari siciliana, and sends spaghetti pomodoro out the kitchen doors to anoint fork tines with its complex marinara. Pizza-delivery service ferries pies sheathed in heat-insulated delivery bags to keep pizzas fresh. Mama Maria's also takes its culinary show on the road with catering services designed to feed hungry party guests or whole pasta-aficionado clubs.
Papa Murphy's Take 'n' Bake Pizza was born out of the owner's frustration with bad pizza from chains, which often tasted as if every ingredient was canned or frozen. Deciding to change the industry, Papa Murphy's tosses every ingredient, all of which are never frozen, onto the crust in front of the customer's eyes and sends them home to bake in a home oven. This dedication to fresh flavor earned Papa Murphy's the top spot on Zagat's National Chain survey.
Visitors can create their own take on the pizza pie or chomp into one of his signature pizzas, which range from meat-filled stuffed crust to calorie-conscious lite varieties covered in vegetables. His appetizers and desserts follow the same pattern. Customers order raw cookie dough or cheesy bread ripe for the baking, resulting in every course being fresh from the oven.
Broccoli, zucchini, clams, and linguica sausage. They’re not the kinds of pizza toppings you find at every Italian restaurant, but at Luigi’s, chefs give each bite of hand-tossed pizza the potential to truly evoke the flavors of Italy. While seated on padded maroon chairs, guests can dig into the eatery’s other specialties such as seafood risotto and eggplant parmigiana, or pasta dishes that include linguini with clams and house-made gnocchi. Guests sipping on glasses of Californian or Italian wine can admire framed artwork of old-country landscapes or glance outside one of the restaurant's many windows in hopes that a vineyard has suddenly sprouted up across the street.
Diners at Barolo are surrounded by Italian influences in the wooden floors and tables as well as the menu, which features seasonal ingredients and local specialties. Start with an antipasti of fritto misto, made with Monterey calamari, local artichokes, lemon, and caper aioli ($10). Then move on to secondi such as the cornish game hen marinated in lemon and rosemary and served with polenta cake ($17), or the linguini and clams, with Italian sausage, garlic, basil, parsley, and white wine ($10 small plate, $18 large). Have a side such as the truffle fries ($5) and a signature Pax Basilicus cocktail (rum, lime, agave nectar, basil, $10); then, finish with a classic tiramisu for dessert ($7). Reservations are required, so call ahead.
Pasta Primavera's kitchen has forged traditional Italian dishes for 15 years, using fresh ingredients and culinary know-how to craft hearty meals. Lit by twinkling bulbs overhead, plates piled with steaming pasta and glasses of wine drawn from a well-curated list travel through the dining room, ushered in by Primavera's attentive staff. Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant also serves up a kid-friendly menu for insatiable whippersnappers and adults still wearing 90s-era L.A. Lights.