CLOSED: L.A.'s Iconic Dish: Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles Vs. Mozza Margherita Pizza

Los Angeles is full of people who care passionately about food, and there are plenty of restaurants happy to serve us. We don't all agree on what constitutes "good," but we do know we like our burgers, our froyo, our Korean BBQ, our pizza. (That's right, our pizza. We like it.)

The thing is, we don't have one iconic dish. Nothing that we can point to and say, "This. This is Los Angeles on a plate." So now we're going to find out. KCET Food came up with 16 contenders. You vote on your favorites. Here's the third match-up of round two:

VOTING CLOSED.

Photo by Amparo RiosChicken and Waffles at Roscoe's: The chicken and waffles combo may not have been invented in our fair city (endlessly debateable), but it was perfected here.

The History: The small chain's first location in Hollywood opened in 1975. To this day newcomers are baffled by the combination of waffles and chicken (even though it makes perfect sense), but they're quickly converted.

The Scene: It's always busy, but the people-watching post-closing time is especially fantastic. There are security guards milling about, but at this point I think it's somewhat for show.

The Food: With chicken and waffles, you either like it or you don't. If you don't, you're wrong, but it's a free country. The combination becomes the Platonic ideal of comfort food, all carb-y with just the right hint of sweetness.


Photo by Jakob LaymanMargherita pizza at Pizzeria Mozza: Doughy perfection.

The History: In 2006, living restaurant legends Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joe Bastianich combined forces and opened two Mozzas: the Osteria and the Pizzeria. The former is quite elegant and expensive, whereas the latter is casual. But right off the bat, Pizzeria Mozza was practically permanently booked: reservations were not easy to come by. And though many will never admit that L.A. has good pizza, the menu here is a contender in any corner of the globe.

The Scene: Still celebrity-filled after seven years, which makes for great people watching. Foodists will opt to sit at the pizza bar, where they can fix their gaze upon the kitchen.

The Food: Tedious people may get into arguments about how "authentic" the food here is, but that's not really the point. With the spirit of Silverton and Batali behind all the dishes, the grub is great. And that basic margherita pizza is the soul of the restaurant and the plate that puts L.A. on the pizza scene.

Chicken and waffles at Roscoe's
Margherita at Mozza

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About the Author

Katherine's role as the Living editor at KCET.org keeps her running from farms to markets to restaurants to pop-up swaps all over SoCal. She's been living in and writing about this area for over a decade.
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