Great Pizza Does, In Fact, Exist in Los Angeles

Mediterranean at Tomato Pie | Photo: Tomato Pie

One of the most annoying parts of living in L.A. is the continual barrage of people who live here and yet, for whatever reason, can't allow themselves to enjoy living here. Instead of continually praising the perfect weather, rich history, and melding of every kind of culture and personality there is (my advice to the newly-transplanted: L.A. has everything you want, you just need to find it), it's just non-stop complaining of traffic and "Entourage" types, while strictly refusing to admit that L.A. is better than [fill-in-the-blank-wherever-they-came-from].

Easily the worst group of gripers are those who ship out here from the 1st and 3rd most-populous cities in the country: New York and Chicago.

Former New Yorkers can't stop complaining about the lack of public transportation or that bars don't stay open until the crack of dawn. Ex-Chicagoans throw in a beef about the lack of seasonal changes, almost immediately forgetting that the seasons they left behind include frozen windshields in the winter and muggy/gross summers. But both of these groups share another problem with the city: The lack of delicious pizza in L.A.

Or at least that's what they'd have you believe with their constant grumbles about the state of the pizza pie in Los Angeles. Fortunately for us all, that bellyache is false. L.A. has plenty of perfect pies. Here's five of them.

(Note: I'm leaving Echo Park favorite Two Boots off the list simply because they actually started in New York.)

Masa of Echo Park

No, their Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is not exactly like the Midwest delicacy. (Although, to be fair, Chicago deep dish pizzas are each their own uniquely beautiful snowflakes.) One big difference is that the ones from Masa are light on the grease, meaning you don't feel the weight of the meat and cheese for the next half-week. But that's a good thing.

Pizzeria Mozza

Classic pizza enthusiasts may whine about the pies found at Mozza, what with the fancily-named high-fallutin' toppings like fennel sausage, goat cheese, Ipswich clams and gorgonzola dolce. "These shouldn't be on a pizza!" they'll yell, through their slack-jaws. "Go back to Papa John's then!" I'll reply, before getting back to eating my delicious slice.

Tomato Pie

The actual "tomato pie" the joint's named after? Eh. It's fine. Perhaps a bit too doughy for my liking. But all of their other specialty pies are tremendous. Also, don't dismiss their wings, my favorite in L.A., keeping in mind that I'm not a fan of super-spicy wings, meaning these perfectly-mild ones may leave you insane fire-breathers wanting.

Garage Pizza

There's no such thing as moderation at Garage Pizza. If you're in the mood for a slice (perhaps after a night at the bars), sure, head on in and get one. But if you want a full pizza, there's either the 18-inch variety or nothing at all. While the combinations are a bit unorthodox and may take some getting used to (the "garage pizza" itself includes ground beef, roma tomatoes, red onions, pickles, and cheddar cheese), it's best to simply wipe any preconceived notions of what "pizza" means and let the artists do their work.

Casa Bianca

While Yelp reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations are helpful, there's no better praise a restaurant can receive quite like the cold, hard number of years it's been open. Every year it doesn't shutter its down is one big positive vote for the quality of the food. Which brings us to Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock, around since 1955. And once you taste it, you'll understand why.