When we first wrote this guide, LA was not a pizza town. Now we’re surrounded by more new and incredible places than bitter New York transplants know what to do with. Which is why it was time for us to give you an updated ranking of LA’s best pizza.
Before you get into these top spots, 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 read their full reviews). Now that we’ve provided this disclaimer, go eat some incredible pizza.
The proliferation of Detroit-style pizza shops in LA over the past year and a half has been pretty extraordinary. But as more places open up, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to know which ones are doing it right and which ones are just cashing in on the trend. Quarter Sheets is doing it right. The Glendale pop-up (pick-up is at the chef’s home) started last fall on Instagram and has slowly built a rabid follower-base that sells out the pizza within minutes every week. The focaccia-like crust is thick and crispy with inch-high edges that crackle and snap under each bite. The interior, on the other hand, is soft, pillowy, and soaks up the sweet red sauce that’s striped across the top. Follow @quartersheets for all the latest details and menu drops.
The crust on Ronan’s 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 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.
Side Pie started out as a pandemic-born pop-up operating out of a literal backyard in Altadena. These days, it’s moved down the street to a local restaurant space, which means it’s even easier to get ahold of these fantastic pies. 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, but we also love the “Kevin Lyman.” It’s essentially their version of a white pie and comes with a light cream base and topped with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, and garlic. Order through their website or by texting (707) SIDE-PIE.
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 suburban kids begged their moms to stop at after picking up a video from Blockbuster. The pizza itself comes closest to New York-style, with massive slices, 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.
There’s an argument to be made that Pizzeria Mozza kick-started LA’s current pizza obsession, and we are making it. This spot on Highland and Melrose has been open since 2006, and has barely taken a breath since. Despite being full every night of the week, the pizzas here are as good as ever. That mostly comes 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.
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 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.
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. 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.
Ospi in Venice is one of the most popular restaurants in LA right now, and their pizza is a huge reason why. There aren’t many pizzas out there we endorse as a sensible appetizer, but Ospi’s razor thin crust makes it very doable. We love the “Hapa,” which is co-owner Melissa Saka’s tribute to the ground-pepperoni pies she grew up eating at Long Beach’s iconic Domenico’s, and the “Vodka” comes with pickled chiles, basil, and their sweet house vodka sauce we wished they sold in bulk. Two pizzas as an appetizer? Absolutely.
Masa of Echo Park Bakery & Cafe
There’s a little known secret in Los Angeles and it’s that we have excellent Chicago deep dish here. And while we also Hollywood Pies and Dough Box, 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.
While other spots around town are busy perfecting their wood-fired craftsmanship, Thanks Pizza in Koreatown 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.
Hail Mary’s crust 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).
GTA (Gjelina Take Away)
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 however long it takes 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.
If you’re looking for a change of pace from the many wood-fired and Detroit-style shops around town - and on this list - head to Oste. This Italian spot in Beverly Grove specializes in pinsa, Roman-style flatbread that’s unlike anything you can really find in LA. 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 hearty, aromatic, and delicious.
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 are the briny, 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.
We became obsessed with LaSorted’s wood-fired pizza in 2020, when they had an extended stint at Summer Social Club, an outdoor pop-up series hosted by Employees Only in West Hollywood during the pandemic. These days, you’ll find LaSorted mostly roaming around the Eastside, but just know that wherever you track it down, you can expect perfectly chewy, bubbly crust and pie 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.
Operating inside Phorage in West Hollywood - with a second location now in Long Beach - 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.
Even in the aftermath of a full-blown pandemic, Cosa Buona is still operating at its peak. Which, of course, is only to be expected when your pedigree includes the star of Silver Lake, Alimento, but damn – this neighborhood pizzeria hasn’t missed a single beat. Located in that busy, busy intersection of Sunset Blvd., between the 76 station and Mohawk Bend, Cosa Buona still feels like a casual, neighborhood hang, despite all of the honking horns and cars making illegal left-hand turns. The pizza’s thick, doughy crust is properly blistered and chewy, and the toppings aren’t here to do anything crazy, ranging from classic margherita to sausage pies topped with mustard greens and slightly spicy chilis. Order the mozzarella sticks if you know what’s good for you.
There’s a reason this Italian restaurant in Hollywood has been cooking pizza since the 19th century (the original is located in Naples, Italy) - their chewy, bubbly-crusted Neapolitan-style pies are delicious. If it’s your first visit, go for the margherita (skip the extra cheese, it throws the whole thing off) because it’s the basis for all other pizzas at L’Antica. That said, our favorite is the Bianca - double mozzarella, pecorino, and basil. It’s cheesy, oil-drenched greatness that almost makes you forget how incredibly mediocre the rest of the food is here.
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 near Beverly Grove, Santa Monica, or Burbank, there isn’t a better option around. At around $28 for a large pie, these babies are massive (and delicious) and could easily feed 3-4 people depending how sober everyone is. The sausage-kale pizza just might be the best one on the menu.
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 “Let’s Ride” (spicy pepperoni, garlic, and orange blossom honey), but whichever one you order, you can count on perfect, blistered crusts, and fresh, inventive toppings.
Milo And Olive
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.
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.
For years, Apollonia’s was one of our Mid-Wilshire pizza go-to’s, thanks to their crispy thin crust and fresh toppings. But it wasn’t until they quietly added an off-menu square pie in 2019 that things were really taken to a completely different level for us. With crunchy, inch-thick crust and a spongey, light interior, this is pizza you drive across town to try. At $40, there’s definitely going to be a little sticker shock, but just know that their 10x14in square pie can easily feed two people for a week.
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 the kind of greasy pies that showed up at childhood sleepovers and instantly made the night better. Whatever kind you end up ordering, just make sure their sweet, peppery homemade sausage is on it.