Gallery: L.A. Pizza Maven Top 8 Pizzas

<em>Margherita and Rosa (tie)</em>, Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
Margherita and Rosa (tie), Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix

For me, I simply cannot distinguish the Margherita (at left in photo) from the Rosa (peeking in from right)—or the Wiseguy for that matter, in terms of satisfaction. Simply put, each was pizza paradise. I would strap explosives around my chest and perform a suicide bombing at a Papa John's if I were guaranteed 88 virgin Bianco pies in heaven...Hello, that's a joke! Only kidding! Just thinking about these pizzas and looking at the photos again has me contemplating my next trip.

<em>Margherita with Sausage</em>, PIzzeria Mozza, Los Angeles
Margherita with Sausage, PIzzeria Mozza, Los Angeles

The first time I ate at Mozza I ordered the Margherita with sausage and a white pie. The flavors exploded in my mouth. I don't think I've ever had so flavorful a pie. In addition to the use of the best ingredients, Nancy Silverton's well-known baking prowess bears responsibility for these awesome pies. The crusts, with massive corniciones, have an artisanal rustic bread quality. Maybe even more flavorful than Bianco's, primarily in the saltiness. And I must admit, I prefer Mozza's crumbled fennel flavored sausage to the somewhat unwieldy pieces of sausage on Bianco's pies.

<em>Margherita with Sausage Pie, </em>Grimaldi's, Las Vegas
Margherita with Sausage Pie, Grimaldi's, Las Vegas

The first bite lifted me to a state of pure bliss. Sausage, mozzarella, and sauce mingled exquisitely on a crisp yet chewy crust. The crust's perfect hole structure then revealed itself to me. Slice after airy delectable slice passed my lips. I tried to chew each bite as long as possible in order to maximize my gustatory pleasure but to no avail. I really couldn't control myself. I must have looked like a ravenous beast to the waitress, who seemed to sense that I should be left alone. More thisaway »

<em>The Cannondale,</em> Pizzeria Picco, Larkspur CA
The Cannondale, Pizzeria Picco, Larkspur CA

Named after a bicycle brand, as are most of the pies, (Hill is an avid cyclist) the Cannondale features house-made sausage, roasted red peppers, spring onions, mozzarella, grana Padano and basil leaves. This is one flavorful and beautiful pie. Bite after bite, the blend of salty and sweet flavors left me glowing with delight. Read more »

<em>Margherita with Sausage</em>, Antica Pizzeria, Marina del Rey CA
Margherita with Sausage, Antica Pizzeria, Marina del Rey CA

It was the perfect expression of the Neapolitan ideal as defined by the VPN. A crust made from "00" flour, topped with San Marzano tomatoes (canned). Buffalo mozzarella is available at Antica, but I went with the house-made fior di latte. All topped with basil. The red, green, and white of the classic Margherita pie, with a spicy crumbled sausage sprinkled throughout. Read all about it! »

<em>Margherita with Sausage,</em> Tony's Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco
Margherita with Sausage, Tony's Pizza Napoletana, San Francisco

OK, OK. I love Margheritas with sausage. Mozzarella, sausage, sauce, and crust in perfect balance. Each element individually scrumptious but also blending together to create a whole infinitely greater than the sum of its parts. This pie is made with San Felice flour proofed in Neapolitan wood boxes, San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte, fresh basil, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil. More, more more! »

<em>Salsiccia Pie</em>, A16, San Francisco
Salsiccia Pie, A16, San Francisco

The salsiccia pie here, in spite of the absence of red sauce, left me speechless. The crust was flawless and, lacking sauce, perfectly maintained its structural integrity, even under the weight of generously supplied spicy, fennel sausage, yellow peppers, and mozzarella. Every bite yielded a carnival of sweet and spicy flavors. I lingered as long as possible over each mouthful, not wanting to send the tasty morsels on their way to the digestive tract. More intel this way »

<em>Potato, Pancetta, Fontina Pie</em>, Pizzaiolo, Oakland CA
Potato, Pancetta, Fontina Pie, Pizzaiolo, Oakland CA

The crust, made with Caputo flour and baked in a wood-fired oven, reflected the characteristic VPN style: crisp yet chewy and somewhat softer than a New York–style crust. The sauce, sausage, potatoes, and cheeses were flawless. Very friendly wait staff and the fact that I found a parking space right out front made this a perfect pizza experience. Yum!