Slideshow: Ten Favorite Los Angeles Pizzas

Sotto
Sotto
I always order the Margherita at Sotto to get the most out of their supple, naturally leavened crust, but I do it while giving my dining companion a stern look that says, “order the Guanciale pie or you will pay dearly, and yes, you’re sharing.” Picture house-cured pork cheek under a thick bed of ricotta, add scallions, dust with fennel powder, and you have a savory indulgence that ranks as my favorite pie in the city. Not a fan of bacon? I guess that’s okay considering the Margherita I mentioned might be my number two. —Lance

9575 West Pico Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90035 (map) 310-277-0210; sottorestaurant.com

Mozza
Mozza
Mozza's popularity is viral. You’ll hear ‘how great’ it is long before snagging a 5:45pm or 10:30pm reservation (the only times that ever seem available). I've heard all the argument: It’s not really pizza, it’s overrated, I’m from NYC/Chicago/Italy/The Moon and this is not how we make pizza. To everyone who says these things: Get over yourself!

You's have to hate bread—and puppies and happiness—to hate Mozza. The crust swells into crisp oiled glazed bubbles of malty complexity. Thick strokes of bold toppings complement the crust: mountains of brussels sprouts cave beneath farm eggs and ribbons of bacon; crisp buds of long cooked broccoli mingled with caciocavallo spicy chiles; fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere blend with fried sage on my favorite, the Bianco. The toppings could be a meal in itself… but instead they're piled on what is arguably the best bread in the city. So go ahead and try to tell me this isn't pizza, but do not try to tell me Mozza isn’t delicious. —Kelly

641 North Highland Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90036 (map) 310-297-0101; pizzeriamozza.com

Vito's
Vito's
I have already declared Vito’s the best slice in the city and their white pesto slice the best of that previous best. But I’ll happily repeat myself. Vito’s is as close as you’re going to get to an authentic New York slice joint in this neck of the woods, in pizza and in personality. And that amazing white slice, with dollops of sweet ricotta floating over a mix of aged cheeses along shimmering puddles of pesto...I think I just teared up. Just make sure you investigate the slice case before ordering to insure you catch a fresh pie. What looks good at Vito’s tastes good.—Lance

846 North La Cienega Boulevard West Hollywood, CA 90069 (map) 310-652-6859; vitopizza.com

Stella Rossa
Stella Rossa
If you can get me to “contaminate” my pizza with vegetables, you’ve done something remarkable, and Stella Rossa manages to do it every time with their Bloomsfield Spinach (with help from purple kale, Pecorino and more than a healthy helping of olive oil). The only thing crispier than the kale on the pie is the thin layer of crunch on the outer crust, but it quickly gives way to a moist, flavorful crumb. And fear not, carnivores, the Hobbs Pepperoni is pretty damn good, too.—Lance

2000 Main Street Santa Monica, CA 90405 (map) 310-396-9250; stellarossapizzabar.com

Milo and Olive
Milo and Olive
Zoe Nathan is the beginning of what I hope is the coming tread: Artisanal Bakery Pizza. Great bakers, like Nancy Silverston, are pounding the path toward mixed flour, bready robust crusts carrying rich, chef-driven, toppings. Milo and Olive’s immense popularity proves this style not just a trend perpetuated by the mystique of Mozza. Though my ultimate recommendation at Milo and Olive is the Earth-stoppingly delicious Garlic Knot, the Mixed Mushroom pizza will forever hold a high place in my heart for making this mushroom-distrusting-girl fall in love with fungus once again.—Kelly

2723 Wilshire Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90403 (map) 310-453-6776; miloandolive.com

Mother Dough
Mother Dough
I’ve given Baz Compani crap about wait times, but there’s no denying he’s a one man pizzaiolo army who pours his passion into every pie. Unsurprisingly given its name, dough is the star here and the limited menu has been composed to show off Compani’s pliable yet delicate sourdough crust. Strict adherence to tradition means bufala mozzarella, imported San Marzano tomatoes, and elevated prices, but I doubt you’ll find a more authentic expression of Neapolitan pizza in the city. —Lance

4648 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027(map) 323-644-2885; motherdoughpizza.com

[Photograph: Lance Roberts]

Mozza2Go
Mozza2Go
Kelly Bone already picked Pizzeria Mozza, and there are obviously other good pizzas in LA (Bollini’s, Gjelina, Urbano) so does this choice make me a cheater? Technically, no, since Mozza2Go is an independent storefront specializing in takeout. Plus, Mozza has 20-something pizzas on the menu so I don’t really think it’s fair to constrain them to a single pick. And you can’t deny the Sausage Pie (featuring panna, red onion, and scallions) or the exquisite (and expensive) Bianco DiNapoli Margherita. Okay, fine, I cheated.—Lance

6610 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90038 (map) 323-297-1130; mozza2go.com

800 Degrees
800 Degrees
For our last choice, Lance and I picked our “wildcard.” I was sure my pick would be Tomato Pie or Pizzanista! (despite Lance’s less then stellar experiences)… But when I consider pizza a context greater then my belly, I must tip my hat to 800 Degrees. Chef Anthony Carron is crafting more than fast affordable pies—he’s creating a localized generation who will grow up thinking of Neapolitan pizza as “their pizza.” No longer relegated to Mount Vesuvius ash rubbed imported ovens, preposterously slow singular proprietors or double digit price tags, Neapolitan has become an accessible meal—for the people—that it is meant to be.—Kelly

10889 Lindbrook Drive Los Angeles, CA 90024 (map) 424-239-5010; 800degreespizza.com