When we first wrote this guide, LA was not a pizza town. Now we’re surrounded by new places that could (almost) convince a cynical New Yorker to move to Los Angeles. Which is why it was time for us to give you an updated ranking of LA’s best pizza.
Before you get into this top 21, however, you should know that we’re only talking about the pizzas themselves - not the restaurants overall (if you want to know how we feel about those, you can refer to their ratings). Now that we’ve provided this disclaimer, go read about and eat some incredible pizza.
As we flip through the pizza rulebook, nowhere does it say that a pizza place that opened in February 2018 can’t be the best pizza in LA. Which is good news because Triple Beam in Highland Park is the best pizza in LA. This order-at-the-counter spot was opened by the same people who run Mozza, but unlike the razor-thin slices you’ll find at their Melrose location, Triple Beam is served Roman-style. That means you indicate how big you want your slice to be with your hands, and then they’ll cut you a thick, square piece. The menu changes frequently, but if the asparagus is there, get it. It sounds like the most boring pizza on the planet, but in fact, is the opposite.
Say hello to our favorite margherita pizza in Los Angeles. Located essentially in a basement along Pico in southern Beverly Hills, Sotto has been around since 2011 and is bordering on the status of being a true LA classic. The tiny space is quiet and subdued, but never dull - the ideal combination for a date night. Their pastas, chickpea fritters, and pork meatballs are all fantastic, but it’s their pizza (the guanciale is also a must-order) that remains the star of the show.
There’s an argument to be made that Pizzeria Mozza kick-started LA’s current pizza obsession, and we are making it. This small-ish spot on Highland has been open since 2006, and has barely taken a breath since. Despite being full every night of the week, the thin-crust pizzas here are as good as ever. That’s mostly down to the toppings, including the legendary goat cheese, leek, garlic, and bacon pizza. If you’re anything like us, you head to Mozza fully intending to try something different, but end up ordering this anyway. If there was such a thing as LA-style pizza, this would probably be it.
If you want to pretend you’re actually in Italy while you eat your pizza, go to South End. This spot has a whole bunch of Italian waiters, a whole bunch of Italian wines, and that’s pretty much it. The only real difference from your Italian vacation is that you’re in a strip mall in Venice, not a pizzeria in Rome. The pizza itself is kind of similar to Pizzeria Mozza - wide, thin airy crusts under the simple toppings. Get the mushroom, speck, arugula, and egg-topped Boardwalk or the meat-loaded District 11.
There’s a little known secret in Los Angeles and it’s that we have excellent Chicago deep dish here. Masa is our favorite in town. The neighborhood spot in the heart of Echo Park feels like your favorite aunt’s house in the suburbs, there’s no corkage on wine, and the deep dish pizza is the best we’ve had outside of the Windy City. These pies take a while, so if you’re hungry, do yourself a favor and call it in ahead of time.
You might not have noticed, but people from NYC are pretty passionate about their pizza. For instance, if you say you don’t really like pizza-by-the-slice while you happen to be in New York, someone might throw all of your belongings into the Hudson. So when a serious NYC pizza place opens in LA, we’re going to shut up and listen. Roberta’s might be new to Los Angeles, but their pizzas taste just as good in a modern space in a fancy mall as they do in a warehouse in Brooklyn. These are Neapolitan-ish pizzas, with a chewy, fluffy crust that come with untraditional toppings - like the pepperoni and hot honey Bee Sting or the “can’t talk to anyone for the rest of the day” garlic-heavy Lil’ Stinker.
You can’t exactly wake up in the morning and decide, “I’d like to eat some pizza from La Morra today,” which is partly what makes this pizza so special. This is not a restaurant - it’s a portable wood-fired pizza oven that shows up at farmers markets and bars around town a couple of days a week. You’ll most reliably find them at Tabula Rasa on Thursdays, where they serve five or so chewy, blistered Neapolitan pizzas with simple toppings. Even though you might have to track them down via Instagram, you should plan your week around eating this pizza.
People talk a lot about the pastas at Jon & Vinny’s, and rightly so, but you shouldn’t forget about the pizzas here either. Chewy and crispy and extremely charred (in the best way), these are the kind of pizzas you can’t stuff in your face fast enough. The LA Woman covered with burrata is a good place to start, but the El Chaparrito with chorizo and red onion is one of our favorites.
DeSano wins the award for the best LA pizza you probably don’t know exists. It also might win the award for the most authentically Italian as well. Everything from the ovens down to the dough at this East Hollywood pizzeria are shipped in from the motherland, and if that’s not enough, the large warehouse-ish space will most likely be dominated by middle-aged Italian men screaming at soccer (translation: calcio) on the television. Get the DeSano or bianca pizza, but don’t skip over that vesuvio calzone either.
You already know about Gjelina’s pizza. It’s good. But for our money, GTA next door is the way to go. The pizza menus are virtually the same, but GTA is much more relaxed and the only wait you’ll have is how long it makes for them to make your pie. You can sit out front or stand at one of the benches inside to eat a slice or a full pie, or, as the name suggests, take it all home to eat on the couch and talk at normal volumes. We’re partial to the guanciale and mushroom pizzas.
Ronan is one of the newest spots on this list, but its placement is well-deserved. The crust on this Neapolitan pizza is perfectly-charred and slightly chewy, with fresh ingredients that are ideally ratioed across every slice. Start with the margherita for a showcase of Ronan’s expertise at its simplest. Then, end with the guanciale and ricotta-topped Sweet Cheeks because for the perfect combination of sweet and spicy. Also, there’s a burrata dish on the menu here that’s so good it deserves its own documentary.
Prime Pizza offers pizza by-the-slice if you go to the tiny shop on Fairfax, but it can honestly be hit or miss. So use Prime for what it does best - delivery. And if you live in Weho/Beverly Grove area, there isn’t a better option around. $28 might seem pretty steep for delivery pizza, but these babies are massive (and delicious) and could easily feed 3-4 people depending how sober everyone is. The sausage-kale pizza won’t sound great at first, but it just might be the best one on the menu.
The Westside is pretty underrepresented in the LA pizza olympics, but that doesn’t really matter, because Santa Monica has Milo & Olive. This neighborhood spot works equally well for eating in or taking out - but curbside pickup AKA the fact that you never have to leave your car is usually the best choice. Go for the mushroom or the pork sausage and do not ever forget to also order a garlic knot.
A neighborhood spot that every neighborhood wishes it had, Cosa Buona serves light, crunchy pizza we could eat twice a week. It’s a small, casual spot in Echo Park, with a bar that’s perfect for dining solo, or booths that will fit you and all your roommates. The toppings on the pizzas here are straightforward and super delicious - there’s no fennel pollen or pork belly, but there is fantastic pepperoni and mozzarella. The red sauce is garlicky and perfect.
The crust on Hail Mary’s pizza is crunchy and chewy but still soft, and the pies themselves are misshapen in a charming way that makes us feel connected to whoever tossed the dough. Our favorites here are the Pep Pep (with super spicy chorizo and pepperoncini) and the Peabody, (with just the right amount of salty anchovies, olives, and cherry tomatoes).
This list is dominated by newer places, but this Eagle Park spot has been doing its thing for over 60 years and is a flat-out classic. Stepping into this family-run operation is a time warp of the best variety: checkered tablecloths, Italian streetscapes on the wall, and adorable couples who have been going on dates there since the ’60s. This is thin-crust Sicilian-style pizza and while it’s certainly not as refined as other places on this list, who are we to turn down a fantastic slice of greasy pie? Whatever you end up ordering, just make sure their homemade sausage is on it.
When you find out that Pizzana is “a pizza place from the founder of Sprinkles Cupcakes and actor Chris O’Donnell” you might want to write this place off. But don’t be discouraged. The Neapolitan pizza at this spot in Brentwood is made in a big wood-fired oven with ingredients flown in from Italy. It’s the toppings here that make the difference. You can stay completely traditional and get a funghi or margherita, but we recommend trying something different like the bacon jam, prosciutto, and egg Uovo or basil breadcrumb-covered Neo-Margherita.
Located in a desolate industrial zone in far, far, far East LA, picking up a pizza at Dough Box is frankly half the experience. First, it’s marked only by a door with a sign that reads “Office” above it. When you get there, you’re instructed to call them, after which they’ll bring the pizza out to you and do payments at your car. It’s weird and thrilling and the only way you’ll ever want to receive Chicago deep dish pizza ever again. Good news: they also deliver anywhere, with only a $5 extra charge if you’re over 5 miles away.
This tiny pizza window in the Fashion District by the Sotto people serves thin crispy pizza you can eat multiple slices of without immediately needing to be put down for a nap. They have a tight menu with only 10 different pizzas, but most are available as slices or whole pies. The salami honey and es-ca-role pizzas should be your first order of business. They do deliver, but if you work downtown, it’s also a good spot for a quick, walk-up lunch.
The best pizza in the Valley is at Dino’s. The Burbank stand-by is probably best known as that delicious pizza you eat everyday on the studio lot and never realize it actually came from Dino’s. With over 38 specialty pizzas, their menu can feel a bit like the wild west at times, so let us help you - you want the sausage and meatball-topped lasagna pizza. Badly. Dining inside their old-school space off Burbank Blvd. is also very much recommended.
West Hollywood’s Boystown has no shortage of on-the-go pizza spots, but for our money, the best is Prova. This is one of those wood-fired, watch-your-personal-pizza-get-made-in-two-minutes type places that's way better than all the rest. We like their calzone/pizza lovechild called “Volcano Vesuvio,” but it’s tough to go wrong with anything on the menu. Warning: They close shop when they run out of dough, which on the weekends is generally around 11:30pm. Plan accordingly.