It begins with dough, spun at its center into a flat round disk. Next comes the marinara––sweet red sauce ladled evenly across the pie’s surface and topped with handfuls of shredded mozzarella. Finally, the best part: Bella's more than 20 toppings, which range from artichokes and peppers to pine nuts and crispy bacon. Outside of artisan pizzas, the kitchen prepares hand-tossed salads, sandwiches, and hot wings in barbecue and buffalo flavors, which can be complemented with wine, beer, and gelato. Diners may also request Bella's catering services to feed a party or spice up a dull doctor's appointment.
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.
Whether they are seated inside The Slice’s newly remodeled dining room or by the warm fire pit on the outdoor patio, customers can satisfy pizza cravings with bites of freshly baked pie. These mouth-watering discs are made to suit any taste, and options include traditional pizzas with pepperoni, stuffed pizzas with double crust, double cheese, and peppers, and gluten-free pizzas. Rounding out the menu are crisp mixed green salads, ziti with marinara sauce, buffalo wings, eggplant parmigiana subs, and homemade cookies.