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Field Report: Terroni, Los Angeles

Here's another community-submitted bit of intel from the field (again from L.A., what is this!?!) from Lara B. (aka "Leebo" in Slice/SeriousEats-land). Thanks, Lara! And remember, if YOU want to submit your review, here's how. —The Mgmt.

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[Photographs: Lara "Leebo" B.]

Terroni

7605 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles CA 90036 (at Curson; map); 323-954-0300; terroni.ca
Pizza style: Neapolitan
Oven type: Electric
Price: $12 to $17 for medium (the only size)

Being a recent transplant to Los Angeles, I discovered that great pizza is actually hard to find here. Well, it wasn't that big of a surprise, but I was on a mission nonetheless. I had sampled my fair share of the tourist traps around Hollywood and visited some neighborhood pizzerias recommended by friends, but I knew in just one bite of my first Neapolitan-style pizza at Terroni that I had found my local favorite. I discovered the place by chance when a friend who was visiting LA for her birthday chose Terroni for dinner since it was close to her hotel. Now, maybe I need to kiss a few more toads to find my prince, but so far, this is my favorite pizza in LA... to date. Terroni is a traditional Southern Italian restaurant with three other locations in Toronto, where they first opened in 1992.

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Although they are more of a restaurant than a pizzeria, they do pizza like they mean it and give serious attention to the quality and authenticity of their pies. What makes their pizza spectacular is the quality of ingredients and the close attention to details. First, all of their dough is kneaded and formed by hand. The pizza crust is very thin, firm with just the right give, chewy, and charred to perfection. Their simple tomato sauce is made with DOP San Marzano tomatoes. There is no hint of herbs or garlic in the sauce, just pure, unadulterated tomato. While they offer a selection of about 30 pizzas, I have not tried any other than their Bufalina. I have a bad habit of falling in love and becoming monogamous. The Bufalina is a simple Neapolitan-style pizza with picked-from-the-vine tomato sauce, fresh and creamy buffalo milk mozzarella, and basil. Along with expected pies, some of Terroni's toppings include speck, hot calabrese salame, hot cacciatore salame, prosciutto di Parma, and rapini. The cheeses include smoked scamorza, spicy auricchio provolone, ricotta, gorganzola, Italian mascarpone, and fontina. But as delicious as these ingredients sound, and as hard as I try, I just can't bring myself to cheat on my beloved Bufalina. But I promise to try harder next time.

As a side note, one of the first things I noticed about the Terroni pizza is that they do not slice the pie for you. Yes, you read that correctly. You are handed a knife and fork with a whole pie and are expected to cut the pizza yourself. At first I thought this was a bit strange, if not barbaric (I actually thought it was an actor's mistake), but after trying that first hand-cut slice, I was quickly over that quirk. Terroni's motto is, "No modifications, No substitutions, No reservations, No exceptions." In our current culture of "I want what I want when I want it," some part of me really admires that.

So who says there are no great pizzas in LA? Not this recent transplant. —Leebo

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