The millionaire who started Sprinkles, the actor who played Robin in the second worst Batman film of all time, and an Italian pizza maker walk into a bar. This sounds like a terrible joke that would only be mildly funny for Hollywood people. But it’s actually the setup for Pizzana, a pizza place in Brentwood. And the punch line of the whole thing is: this is a place where you’ll actually want to eat.
Pizzana brings something different to this neighborhood of dog walkers, enormous houses, and UCLA grads who didn’t know where else to live in LA. For starters, it looks like a modern, fun place to eat, not the smoking lounge of a men’s club or an offensively clichéd version of an Italian restaurant. It’s also frankly shocking to arrive at a restaurant in Brentwood and be told that a table will be an hour wait (they take reservations, but most of the small space is given to walk-ins). And because everyone within a two-mile radius has heard about this actually cool restaurant that they don’t have to cross the 405 for, it’s also consistently busy.
It probably doesn’t really matter to a lot of those people whether the food at Pizzana is good. But turns out, it is. Not brave the freeways on a Thursday night-level good, but solid-neighborhood-spot good. The pizzas are doughy and thin-crusted, and though occasionally they get a little soggy, the nice mix of traditional (margherita, funghi) and not-traditional (amatriciana, cacio e pepe) toppings mostly makes up for that. The combination of the huge pizzas, typical but well-executed antipasti (meatballs, burrata, chicken liver pate), Westside-friendly salads, and very good desserts make Pizzana a great choice for a crowd-pleasing meal.
Which in the end is also the problem with Pizzana. It’s the kind of place you want to have in your back pocket for a casual dinner with friends - where the food is good, but also not the main attraction. That said, standing around on San Vicente Blvd. for an hour because there’s nowhere besides a mediocre steakhouse to grab a drink while you wait takes a lot of fun out of a no-fuss dinner. Once the crowds die down (or they start accepting more reservations), we’ll probably have Pizzana in our lives more often. The same can’t be said for Batman & Robin.
You can’t go wrong with meatballs done in a wood-fired oven, and these are no exception.
More wood-fired goodness, this time in romanesco form, with a spicy breadcrumb topping.
Excellent housemade chicken liver pate that comes with a tomato jam and bread out of that giant wood oven. If the word “liver” doesn’t scare the table, then make sure you get this.
When someone at your table makes you order a salad, get this. It’s garlicky and tart and there are fried capers all over it.
Like a margherita, but with a basil breadcrumb topping thrown in. If you’re looking for a classic, this is a good bet.
Although we liked the idea of turning one of our favorite types of pasta into a pizza, in the end this felt too salty and one-note. Skip.
Another attempt to take a pasta everyone likes and turn it into a pizza. It’s a fancy version of a white pizza, but doesn’t really achieve the salty, cheesy, peppery goodness of a great cacio e pepe.
One of our favorite pizzas here. Partly because we can’t go past an egg on pizza, but also because there’s bacon jam and proscuitto involved too.
Another standout. Great quality pork sausage, lots of fennel, and red onion on a white base.
It’s right there in the name - this is the one with all the meats. And a very solid choice if that’s what you’re in the mood for.
While all the desserts here are excellent, this is our favorite. And not just because it bears a strong resemblance to the Greatest Dessert That’s Ever Been Created: the Pizzeria Mozza butterscotch budino.