As every stumble-y college student and divorced dad knows, pizza is the ideal takeout food. Which means that during a pandemic, it’s going to be a lot of people’s go-to meal. And while we know that you’ve been with your favorite pizza place longer than your current romantic partner (or recent ex-), you don’t have to break up with your current spot in order to try a new one... but it couldn’t hurt.
So why not try a little pizza polygamy and check out one of these 17 excellent new options? From thin crust to thick, Detroit-style pop-ups to NY-style pizzerias in Long Beach, these are the best new pizza spots in Los Angeles.
U Street is a tiny, order-at-the-counter pizza shop in Pasadena that’s run by the same crew as Union, one of our favorite Italian restaurants in LA. While Union focuses more on pastas, the name of the game at U Street is crackly-crusted, New York-ish-style pizza with tons of California influences. Think red sauce made from locally-produced tomatoes and toppings that range from Fresno peppers to Petaluma mozzarella. Our favorite pies at the moment are the briney, buttery clam pizza and the vodka pepperoni that comes with cream, peppers, mozzarella and provolone, and a housemade vodka sauce we audibly professed our love to when we first tried it. Also, make sure you order some of their silky-smooth soft serve - flavors change daily, but if the chocolate and vanilla swirl is on the menu, get it.
If anyone told us a few years ago that much of LA’s best pizza could be found inside somebody’s apartment, we’d assume that person was trying to kidnap us. In 2021, it’s simply a way of life now. The next great spot to check out is Secret Pizza. Run by a native New Yorker at his Hollywood apartment, the pies coming out of this pickup-only operation remind us of the kind we’ve eaten at 3am outside of slice shops on the Lower East Side. The thin, massive slices are topped with pepperoni or sausage, and are properly greased to soak up whatever alcohol is left in our stomachs from last call. It’s the kind of simple, but well-executed pizza that’s not easily found in LA - and that’s exactly why it has us so excited. It’s also why time slots sell out within minutes each week via their Instagram page. Which is why you need to follow them ASAP and stalk their stories for a chance to get some of this tremendous pizza.
While other spots around town are busy perfecting their wood-fired craftsmanship, Thanks Pizza reminds us of the kind of pies we devoured as a kid growing up at skate rink birthday parties - affordable, well-built ones with outside-the-box toppings that taste incredible. The garlic chicken pizza is a little spicy with a sweet, pungent kick from the blue cheese, and the mascarpone pizza is easily one of our favorite pizzas we’ve eaten all year. Topped with basil pesto, mozzarella, cream cheese, and mascarpone, this pie sent shockwaves of childhood bliss through our body. It’s sweet, tangy, and herbaceous, and somehow both nostalgic and novel at the same time. Each pizza is available in two sizes, 9- or 12-inch, and everything on the menu costs less than $16.
Side Pie is a pop-up operating out of a house in Altadena that’s cranking out perfectly blistery, charred-crusted pizza. Unlike similar wood-fired shops around town though, Side Pie’s pizzas are massive with big, greasy pieces that you can fold in half and eat while sitting on the curb pretending it’s 3am in lower Manhattan. The pepperoni, ricotta, and basil-topped “Altadena” is our favorite option, because the ingredients complement each other perfectly. If you’re looking for something unique to this spot, try the “Crabby Neighbor.” It comes with a garlic/butter base, fresh-caught crab meat, and lemon right from their front yard that makes both a sweet and savory pie, with a big punch of citrus.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from the many wood-fired and Detroit-style shops popping up around town, head to Oste. This new Italian spot in Beverly Grove specializes in pinsa, a Roman-style flatbread that’s unlike anything you can really find in LA right now. The crust is thin, crunchy, and light, making it entirely doable to have several pieces without sweating it out on the couch later. We love the “Calabrese” with mozzarella and spicy n’duja, as well as the sweet and herb-y “Viva L’Italia,” which comes with pesto, goat cheese, and cherry tomatoes. That said, even if you aren’t a potatoes-on-pizza person, the “Patate” will convert you. Topped with thin, round potato slices and rosemary, it’s a perfectly-balanced pie that’s hearty, aromatic, and delicious.
LaSorted’s Pizza is one of several vendors taking part in the Summer Social Club, an outdoor pop-up series hosted by Employees Only in West Hollywood. You can find everything from Filipino rice bowls to Metztli tacos here throughout the week, but the absolute star is LaSorted’s. This tiny pop-up started out on a porch in East Hollywood in 2020 and now cranks out tremendous wood-fired pizza with chewy, bubbly crust and toppings that range from burrata to artichoke pesto. There isn’t a bad pizza on the menu, but the hot pepperoni and honey-topped “Spicy, But Oh, So Sweet Boy” should be a priority. It’s well-balanced and also extremely fun to say out loud.
The wood-fired pies coming out of Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. in Boyle Heights are similar to Neapolitan-style, with blistered, perfectly chewy crusts. While you’ll certainly be happy with their margherita, we recommend concentrating on the pies that chef Mario Christerna, a Boyle Heights native himself, added to reflect and honor the neighborhood. Take the “Meat Lovers,” which comes topped with pepperoni, sausage, and a beef and pork discada that the chef makes in-house. There’s also the sweet and smoky mole pizza that we’ve eaten twice this week, as well as other items like fries topped with beef chorizo and queso fresco. If you’re thirsty, be sure to grab a few elote Old Fashioneds to go. Brooklyn Ave. also does extensive charity work, working closely with the Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory and C-Cap a nonprofit that empowers underserved youth through the culinary arts.
The thing that stands out most about Panza Pizzeria, a new pop-up operating out of a West Hollywood apartment, is the sourdough crust. It’s thick and buttery with outrageously crispy edges that everyone at dinner will be fighting over all night until it’s gone. Chef Brian Radlinski expertly roasts each vegetable, making the “Vegetariano” a must-order in our books. It comes topped with onions, cherry tomatoes, marinated mushrooms, black olives, pickled pepperoncini, roasted broccolini, and rosemary. That’s a ton of toppings, but because each vegetable is so fresh, nothing gets soggy and the crust holds up. If you’re looking for something with a bit of a kick, try the excellent “Diavolo,” with pepperoni, spicy tomato sauce, candied jalapeño, and homemade hot honey.
LA’s obsession with Detroit-style pizza is officially in hyperdrive, and that’s certainly not a bad thing in our books. Just be sure to put Dtown Pizzeria at the top of your list. Operating inside Phorage in West Hollywood, this pop-up is run by Detroit native Ryan Ososky, who is cranking out the kind of real-deal, Detroit-style pizza that reminds us of Buddy’s or Jet’s (for any Detroit natives reading this). The crust is perfectly golden and crispy with a light, airy center that makes taking down a whole pie by yourself a very doable option. The 1946, which comes topped with a red stripe - not the beer, in Detroit that means a thick ribbon of marinara - and oregano, and The Goomba (pepperoni and fennel pollen) are standouts.
Antico isn’t a new restaurant, but when the pandemic hit, they made a big pivot to pizza. And we’re glad they did, because, while we liked them as an Italian restaurant, we love them as a pizza shop. There’s nothing subtle about these big, rectangular pies - their thick, buttery crusts are loaded up with high-quality toppings, like on the Pineapple Express, with fresh pineapple, speck, and house-pickled jalapeños. And, you already know this, but don’t leave without a pint of their house-made ice cream - it’s near the top of our guide to the Best Ice Cream In LA.
Brandon Gray is the chef and titular “Brandoni” at this Mid-City pizza shop. He used to cook at tasting menu spots like Providence and Trois Mec, and you can see the fine-dining influences on these excellent pies - ingredients include wild-caught Pacific shrimp, triple crème Brie, and Spanish octopus. All of the pies (there are more than 18 of them) involve ingredients straight from the farmers’ market, like the Born And Raised, which is covered in Munak Ranch heirloom tomatoes and multiple varieties of fresh basil. Our favorite pie of all is the Straight Up Menace (house-made lamb sausage, wild arugula, and spicy pickled peppers), but whichever one you order, you can count on perfect, blistered crusts, and fresh, inventive toppings.
Bootleg is a pizza-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar specializing in a type of square pie that, frankly, is a bit hard to define. One could make an argument that it’s Sicilian, Detroit-style, or even traditional pan pizza, but it’s kind of a mix of all three - heavy on the tomato sauce, topped with everything from veggies to pastrami, and featuring a thick, crispy crust with a soft interior that makes every bite feel like you’re biting into a custom-made pizza pillow. Pies rotate frequently, but the pepperoni-covered “Pep’d Up” is a mainstay and should always be on your order.
De La Nonna is a roaming pop-up that’s serving excellent pies that walk the (OK, probably arbitrary) line between focaccia and pizza. The crust is light and airy, and sprinkled with flaky sea salt, and while they don’t overload it with toppings, you still get plenty of flavor from them. We like their white pie, with roasted fennel, mozzarella, and dabs of pesto, and the Market pie, with a super-herbaceous cream sauce and crispy parmesan. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
One of the few Detroit-style spots in Los Angeles, Dough Daddy is an excellent pop-up in DTLA. Their square pies are defined by crispy edges, thick, bread-y crust, about a pound of creamy, salty Wisconsin brick cheese, and messy rows of sweet, fresh tomato sauce (added on top, rather than directly to the dough). Make sure you also add the pepperoni, which is cooked perfectly so the edges curl up to make tiny little swimming pools of grease. It’s going to take some effort to order - you’ll should follow them on Instagram and go from there - but in the end, all the work will be worth it for these excellent pies.
This popular Venice spot recently added wood-fired pizzas to the menu, and in keeping with the “something for everyone” ethos of said menu (which is also probably the secret to Great White’s success), there’s the perfect pizza for just about every occasion. Want a pie at brunch? The 55° is a pretty solid approximation of Nova lox, with cold-smoked salmon, red onions, capers, and dill atop a schmear of chive crema and a charred crust. Looking for something super-savory at dinner? Like the name implies, their Truffle Fungi pairs deep, rich truffles with plenty of earthy mushrooms (and a white-wine lemon cream). Or, if you’re just in the mood for, like, a regular pizza, their pepperoni pie has about seven pounds of perfectly crisp, slightly salty pep on it, and it might be our favorite of the bunch.
Opened by the co-owner of Hatchet Hall and the former executive chef at L&E Oyster, Little Coyote in Long Beach feels like a true throwback, the kind of casual pizza place that, as a kid, you begged your mom to stop at after picking up a video from Blockbuster. The pizza itself comes closest to New York-style, with massive slices you can fold in half, crispy thin crust that’s been buttered within an inch of its life, and classic toppings that range from pepperoni to sausage and mushrooms. That said, the white pizza - with spinach, ricotta, and mozzarella - is our favorite pie on the menu.
Often, the best pizzas are the ones that conjure up memories from your childhood - Little League post-game parties, afternoons spent at arcades, terrifying delivery drivers with a VHS copy of Angels With Filthy Souls, etc. - and the Hapa Pizza at Ospi is no different. Co-owner Melissa Saka’s tribute to the ground-pepperoni pies she grew up eating at Long Beach’s iconic Domenico’s, it’s topped with slow-roasted pineapple, pickled and raw jalapeños, and (of course) piles of spicy ground pepperoni, creating something that’s both nostalgic and pretty novel: An actually good Hawaiian pizza.