photo credit: Holly Liss
I say pizza in Venice, you say Gjelina (or GTA or Gjusta), right? Wrong.
Well, not exactly wrong, but there’s actually another quality option just up the street. Down the other, not crowded with tourists/pre-schoolers wearing Toms, end of Abbot Kinney is South End, a Neapolitan-style pizza joint bringing a bit of Italy to an ordinary-looking strip mall.
In many ways, South End is the anti-Gjelina. You can get a table most nights of the week without an insane wait. Substitutions won’t be an issue. Servers are helpful. And while you won’t find the kind of life-changing vegetables you would eat at Gjelina alongside your pie, that’s not what you’re here for. You’re here for pizza, and a glass of Brunello to go with it.
photo credit: Holly Liss
Speaking of Brunello, it’s highly likely you’ll be handed a glass of wine (on the house) within minutes of arriving. Step outside to wait while they set up your table? A charming Italian man will pour you a glass. Picking up takeout that isn’t quite ready yet? He’ll also pour you a glass then. Hesitate ever so slightly over which bottle to order? Yep, a glass appears.
As for the pizza? The dough hits that perfect mix of chewy and crunchy, toppings are of the sparse Italian style, and ingredients are fresh. This is the thin, larger crust kind of pizza along the lines of Pizzeria Mozza, served in a low-lit, cramped-but-in-a-cozy-way space filled with people chatting at the counter or popping in to pick up takeout.
And to be honest, this is what we love so much about South End. It’s the kind of local, relatively low-key option that Venice has so few of. There’s certainly a time and a place for the Gjelinas of the world, but on a Friday night when you’re craving an easy option of pizza with a bottle of wine, South End can’t be beat.
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We can’t come to South End and not order the Boardwalk. A killer mix of speck, mushrooms and sottocenere cheese, topped off with arugula and an egg in the middle. Don’t ask, just order.
Are you the person who scans the menu searching for the most meat-loaded option? This is your pizza.
Pepperoni + red chillis + red onion = we’re in.
It’s a burrata pizza. Surprisingly easy to fck up, but not here. A no-brainer.
We loved the sound of this white-based pizza with sauteed spinach, fontina and garlic, but it didn’t quite impress as much as we hoped.