We know this is gonna get personal, as Angelinos’ taste for pizza is vast if not infinite. So for the sake of narrowing down our list of the best pizza in Los Angeles, we’re sticking to mainly thin-crust, craft pizzas that are tossed, topped, and baked to absolute perfection.
Back in the day, there was no argument- if it wasn’t Chicago or New York-style pizza, it was a frisbee that was barely palatable. Oh, how times have changed.
LA has some of the best chefs in the world and thanks to their love of the pie, Los Angeles has sliced its way to the top when it comes to making some of the best pizzas in the country.
In fact, pizza has risen to the status of becoming a fine dining experience with stunning interiors to match, like this pizzeria in Vietnam.
The pizza culture has even evolved into establishing its own lingo, so we’ll be using some of the fun slang that accompanies these top pizza joints in Los Angeles.
“Having a handful of code words and cherished symbols you use among your fellow comrades is something that’s not for the customers, or even the owners,” says Brian Dwyer, who heads marketing for the Pizza Brain pizza museum. “It’s for the people in the shit, doing it every damn night.”
Not especially articulate, as stated by Mr. Dwyer, but the takeaway here is that there’s even a pizza museum out there. And kudos to acknowledging those dedicated employees who fan out the Mutz (mozzarella) and answer day in and day out, those Reggie Alerts (an influx of tourist types who have lots of questions about “how the menu works.”)
Cosa Buona –
2100 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90026
The gems pulled out of the oven here are the creations of top chef Zach Pollack who also runs the Alimento Italian restaurant in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
These wood-fired pizzas are lightly charred in all the right places. The cheese doesn’t crowd the coastline (exposed sauce between the end of cheese and beginning of crust) and the leopard spotting lets you know you’ll get that nice, subtle crunch mixed in the gooey-ness of hot, yummy cheese.
This magic doesn’t happen by accident, it’s all about the best ingredients available, including using the top-rated olive oils.
You can guess what leopard spotting is. That’s the small bubbles along the rim of a pizza puff up that are burned black, commonly found when baked in wood-fired ovens.
Our fave at Cosa Buona is the Hawaiian that comes with tomato, Canadian bacon, pineapple, onion, jalapeno, and mozzarella.
If you’re not of fan of pineapple on pizza, just take it off. Pizza is a hands-on game, and trust us, you really don’t want to miss out on this one.
Pizzeria Mozza –
641 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
This top pizza place at the end of Melrose Ave. has become a fave for celebrities, and we’re not keen on the way they clog up the seating. But it is a testament to the amazing pizza served here.
It was started by famed chef Nancy Silverton. We won’t say she invented cheese, but she might as well have, as she’s one of the definitive experts in this arena.
Nancy was the winner of the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Chef Award in 2014, and it only gets better – she’s also well-known for her role in popularizing sourdough and artisan types of bread in the United States.
You see where we’re going with this. Take one of the country’s top bread makers who knows cheese like the back of her pan and we have the recipe for one amazing pizza pie.
There’s no shortage of rave reviews here. “Both tender and crackling crisp on the bottom, blistered and smoky from the wood-burning oven,” wrote the Los Angeles Times in its 2007 review.
These crispy, smokey pizzas come with a lighter leopard spotting and a crust that’s the talk of the town.
That’s an ambitious status to achieve in Hollywood, by the way. And as a top chef herself, Nancy has the perfect wine pairing should you choose to dine in.
GTA – Gjelina Take Away –
1427 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
For those on the west side of LA who want to mix some fresh ocean air with the best pizza in Los Angeles, then GTA is the go-to joint for pizza to go.
GTA is the counter service outpost of all-day neighborhood restaurant Gjelina. These wood-fired oven pizzas are works of art with contrasting, deep crispy thin-crust leopard spots that keep just enough distance from the cheesy, saucy coastline.
Because of the paper-thin crust, your taste buds get to run the gamut of amazing ingredients unobstructed, – savoring the tomato sauce that the Westsiders rave about.
And if you’re all about freshly crushed tomatoes, head over to this tomato fight. You’ll never look at pizza the same.
The Guanciale pizza is the house favorite. This has tomato sauce, olives, Fresno chiles, mozzarella but not a vegetarian pizza since it does have some pork mixed in.
Because of the flatter lip (edge of the pizza, also called corniccione) and ultra-thin crust, you’ll risk an avalanche taking a slice out of the box. That’s the result of somebody picking up a slice and all the toppings slide right off of the crust. So to fully enjoy this pie, you’ll need to stay focused.
Big Al’s Pizzeria –
6044 Atlantic Blvd, Maywood, CA 90270
Just off the beaten path, this top pizza place in the greater Los Angeles area has a huge following for its unique Halal pizzas.
Named Yelp’s top 100 places to eat, there’s no distance too far for those who seek a Lebanese artisanal-style pizza. Halal meat is “permissible” per Islamic law, kind of like Kosher is to Jewish law. At the end of the day, this really means you’re getting quality meat on your pie.
In fact, we know folks who live in Beverly Hills that’ll head over to (not-so-neighboring) Maywood to get some of Big Al’s delectable take-out.
Home of the award-winning Lebanese garlic chicken pizza, this is an all-time favorite and a reminder you’re here for the fresh ingredients. If you’re going to do a half and half, try the Jamaican, another winner on the menu.
There’s some fierce competition when it comes to pizza crust on our top 5 in LA. We’d say Big Al’s is would most likely be where you’ll find the most bones after the meal.
Those are the leftover pieces of crust that are discarded on a plate. Besides, who wants to dilute those quality ingredients with the crust?
2805 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
The west side of Los Angeles does it again with Southend. Pizzaiolo (pizza maker) Mario Vollera crafts these organic and locally sourced sourdough-style rustic pizzas.
The place has a beachy, intimate atmosphere that pairs well with their highly-rated pizzas. Their press page sums it up nicely. Speaking of pairings, Mario picks wine from all over the world, offering a vibrant wine list to choose from.
One of Mario’s secrets to his success is in the dough. They don’t use commercial yeast, instead make their own sourdough.
Letting the pizza dough rest for more than 24 hours, it’s broken down and easier to digest. This creates a deeper sourdough taste. Also, nothing comes out of a can. Ever.
Loaded with lots of Italian cheeses, local ingredients, and seasonal produce, the team at Southend creates a delicious, casual dining experience worth writing home about.
Conclusion – Don’t let the cardboard box fool you.
With these 5 top pizza places in Los Angeles, we’ve proven our point that LA has its game face on when it comes to serving up the best pizza pies in the country.
With famous chefs delving deep into their roots and capitalizing on their experience and knowledge of Italian cooking, you’ll find that these 5 places will bend over backward to ensure you’re ordering more than a pizza. You’re getting a fine dining experience packaged nicely in a box.