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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Prizzi's Piazza

This is a small Italian food place tucked in between Birds, and a Sushi place, in the Beachwood area.  Piazza is a little confusing,  I guess it means a plaza in Italy, but it looks a lot like Pizza. But thats the way it is.  

This is basic pizza at its best.  The sauce is more traditional and not too sweet, the cheese is a thick Wisconsin mozzarella that is lightly browned on top. The crust is crisp on the bottom and doughy in the center. They are very generous with the sauce and cheese but not too much.  The crust has a good taste to it, and makes me actually want to finish the edges.  The pizza had everything it should yet it just didn’t seem great to me.  It just lacked good flavor I guess, that charred gritty New York style taste maybe.  The crust isn’t quite thin enough, it’s not quite crisp enough and it doesn’t have any remnants of flour or corn meal on the bottom, its just plain crust, no wood-oven charred taste. 

I was reading up on some styles of pizza recently and learned that Ohio has more pizzerias than any other state. They also have developed their own style of pizza, where their crust is a little thicker and they sometimes use provolone.  While this pizza used mozzarella, I feel it is close to an Ohio style pizza.  

It was enjoyable except for one thing, the price.  Like so many places I’ve found who have world-renowned chefs and like to create their own style and then pass it off as gourmet and charge twice as much for it.  The problem was, this was not that type of place.  Yet they were charging that price range.  $13 for a personal 10-inch cheese pizza that tastes like something from an unknown pizzeria in Ohio.  Which is fine but should be cheaper.

Prizzi’s Piazza 5923 Franklin 90028
Price: $$
Prizzi's Piazza on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pizza Per Tutti

Thats right, Pizza Per Tutti.  I don't know about that name, but it makes you a laugh a little.  It didn't exactly have much of a personality, certainly not one that went with its name.  The pizza cooked quick, I picked it up, it was a large (which is only 14'') cheese pizza, half with  mushrooms because I was splitting it with a coworker.  It was 10 dollars which wasn't too bad.  

The pizza was not impressive.  It was generic pretty much all around.  The cheese wasn't 100% pure mozzarella, the sauce didn't have much flavor probably straight from the tomato paste can.  THe crust was pretty generic as well with very little taste.  It also was probably a little under cooked, not quite crispy enough, and too chewy.  The mushrooms were a disappointment to my friend and a disappointment to me since they stunk up the whole pizza with fungus flavor.  There was hardly any on his half of the pizza.  All that being said it was still pizza and satisfying, barely but edible for sure.  Would I get it again, no probably not unless it was across the street.  The best thing about this place was the name.  

Pizza Per Tutti - 4143 Lankershim Blvd  91602 

Monday, June 23, 2008

Guido's Pizza and Pasta

On my lunch break today I took a long drive to a place I found online called Guido's.  I didn't know anything about it, except that it was called Guido's.  With a name like that I had to at least try it.  As you can see their slogan is also "The Crust you can Trust" 

There was another place that had that slogan, I  of course can't remember which one, and don't want to go back and read my old posts.  
Anyway, I drove a good 7 miles to get there, in over 100 degree heat.  The place was small and in a strip mall, with just enough room for a pizza oven.  I was hot when I walked in, the guys inside looked like they might melt if it got 1 degree hotter.  They looked like real Guido's too, no offense, it actually was more promising that the pizza might be good.  It was Friday and I needed a change from my everyday cheese.  I got a sausage and pepper pizza that was 15 inches for like for pretty cheap.  I don't remember the price, but it was reasonable.  They told me they would have delivered, which I was surprised to hear seeing how far away they were, but it seemed like that was 95 percent of their business so they have to.
So the pizza was good, very enjoyable.  The crust was crispy and well done.  Didn't have as much of a doughy center as I prefer, but tasted good.  The box said it was made with 100 percent whole milk mozzarella, and it indeed did seem like it was.   The sausage and peppers were typical, there was a perfect amount.  The sauce was a little light but good.  
After eating and reviewing 50 plus pizza joints all the pizza runs together.  It is hard to describe all these pizzas differently.  At this point the best way to describe it is to compare it to a similar style pizza I have already reviewed.  From here on out I will try and list a pizza at the bottom that it is most closely related to.  
In this case, I found the pizza to be very similar in style to Big Mamas and Papas, but better. Better cheese and crispier crust.  
Overall the pizza hit all the elements it should have really well, it is above average.  It was not perfect nor close to perfection, but above average and enjoyable.  

Pizza most closely related to:  Big Mamas and Papas Pizzeria
Multiple locations: in and around the Valley
Delivers - to a wide range

Guido's Pizza and Pasta-  1513 San Fernando Rd. Burbank
Price: $
Guido's Pizza & Pasta on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bambino's Pizza

Today at work I took a drive to a place called Bambino's.  I guess named after the best baseball player of all time, or maybe it's literal, meaning little boy in Italian, maybe that's who cooks the pizza, little children.  Either way the pizza wasn't as good as The Great Bambino, maybe a good bambino, say a Ryne Sandberg.  Good quality, solid player but doesn't have legendary status.  Plus, Ryne Sandberg tastes really good.  

Anyway, the pizza wasn't too bad.  Definitely enjoyable.  Had a sweet and salty taste from the sauce and cheese.  There could have been more sauce on it however.  The crust was a little doughier in the center than a typical NY style would be.  This is similar in style to a New England type pizza.  Although it wasn't completely there, kind of between the two styles.  The crust was light and airy, so not as filling as a typical New England style, but still doughy and thick at the edges.  The outside had a light crispiness, which could have been even crispier but was still good, although it didn't have much flavor, kind of generic tasting.  It had a cornmeal bottom, instead of a flour-based one, which Im not a big fan of.  But for what it is I could definitely get it again, and for 8 dollars for a 16 inch pizza it's a deal.

Bambino's Pizza - 5650 Cahuenga Blvd. N. Hollywood
Price $

Bambinos Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 15, 2008


 is another little fancy Italian place, that has little fancy personal size pizzas.  Out of all the over priced designer pizzas, I liked this one best.  The sauce was a very tasty sweet sauce with a good amount of cheese.  The crust was done pretty well, lightly browned, thin and crunchy with a doughy center.  I got the margharita pizza with basil but as you can see the basil was more of a garnish than a ingredient. 

This personal pizza was the biggest yet at a whopping 12 inches and it cost about 13 dollars. When I picked it up, the first thing I noticed as I tried to eat it in my car, was that they didn’t slice it, but I was so hungry I just ripped off a section of the pie.  This was kind of annoying, I don’t have a pizza cutter at home and using a knife isn’t very easy, with pizza.  Plus the pizza was a little cool, maybe it took me longer to pick it up than I thought, but it seems like it cooled off quicker than usual.  Anyway I can’t really bring the pizza down based on those things, it tasted good and it really was more than I expected.

Terroni - Beverly and Curson 7605
Price $$

Terroni on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Robano's Italian Pizza Kitchen

Today I phoned up a relatively new place called Robano's.  They have wood fired ovens and claim to make the Brooklyn style thin crust.  Their slogan is "Simply the Best.."  Unfortunately it is not that simple.  

The don't deliver, yet.  So they say.  The place is pretty cool, big area to eat outside, nice big bar inside with the wood fire ovens near by.  

A large cheese pizza ends up being about 16 dollars, which for a 16 inch is pushing it.  Especially considering how thin the crust was.  It was too thin in my opinion.  The middle was fine, but it was the edge that didn't have any rise in the dough it was flat and chewy, no doughy center and the outside for being as thin as it was, wasn't even that crispy, just chewy.  It was heavily powdered with flour as well.  All this being said it wasn't bad.  The crust even though it didn't have the right form or texture still tasted alright and the sauce was pretty good as well.  This pizza is nothing to write home about, it is average pizza that will satisfy and it will leave you wanting more, not more of the pizza, just something else to eat.  

Robano's Italian Pizza Kitchen - 10057 Riverside Dr 91602
Price: $$

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Pitfire Pizza Company

This place had a lot of hype around it, or as much hype as you can have for a pizza place. It had a lot of good reviews from all kinds of people. There are 3 locations and today for lunch I went to the North Hollywood location. The whole process of ordering the pizza was kind of annoying - from their stupid website that is designed to look cool, but isn't practical to use, to their casual tone on the phone that makes it seem like their pizza is better than yours. (I don’t have any pizza so I wasn’t offended).  They won’t sell bigger than a personal sized pizza before 3pm, they wouldn’t deliver, and they gave me attitude constantly. Their pretentious pizza-making attitude didn’t stop there. When I went to pick up the pizza, I asked the girl at the counter if I could take a picture of the oven and she of course didn’t care, but then I got yelled out by some other guy that worked there, telling me I couldn’t take pictures, I had to speak with the owner first. It is just a pizza joint, there are hundreds around, Pit Fire Pizza is not so high profile I can’t take a picture of it. It’s like Britney Spears was hiding behind the counter or something. I guess I will have to assume that they spit on their pizza. If that’s the case, their spit is pretty tasty.

I got pictures anyway:

Their pizza was good, I wish I could say it wasn’t, but it was. This still doesn’t excuse the "I’m better than you" attitude. But I said at the beginning, no matter how bad the service, if the pizza was good enough I’d go back. The pizza was good enough. 

I don't like the fact I couldn't get a large pizza.  I don't understand the reasoning behind the 3:00 pm change but anyway,  
I have to say it was really, really good.  The cheese and sauce were fresh, not too heavy and had a great flavor.  There was a good ratio between the two. The cheese was put on in splotches rather than a whole layer so you got a bite of just sauce sometimes and then just cheese other times, which I like, as long as it evens out by the end.  This style, however, I don’t think works as well in the personal sized pizza; 2 slices of mine were perfect but the other 2 were split; one with mostly cheese and the other mostly sauce.

The crust was almost perfect, it had a great taste to it, cooked in a wood fire so it had that wood-burning flavor as well. You still had the flour taste from when they roll out the dough and they even had light pepper sprinkled on the bottom, which rounded it all out.  The main problem, and the easiest thing to do was cook it longer.  It wasn’t crispy enough, it was doughy in the center and just about as doughy on the outside.  All it takes is leaving it in another minute or 2 probably, that’s it and it would have been an easy 4.5.  It is the simplest mistake, but it cost them big time, just like it does on Top Chef.  Turn up that fire and you got a perfect pizza, and act a little humble about it too maybe.

Oh by the way, their slogan is "the crust you can trust" ha ha, I'll give them points for originality but I don't trust the crust quite yet.

5211 Lankershim Blvd, N. Hlyd 91601  (818)-980-2949 -REVIEWED
108 W. 2nd St Downtown 90012 (213)-808-1200
2018 Westwood Blvd. Los Angeles, 90025 (310)-481-9860
Price: $$
Pitfire Pizza Company on Urbanspoon
Pitfire Pizza Company on Urbanspoon
Pitfire Pizza Company on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pizzeria Mozza

Most people would rather settle for a pretty good pie down the street, than drive across town to get the best pie, at least thats what I think.  With a place called Mozza, it is a different story.  Mozza is a place you might come from halfway around the world to eat at, that is if you liked the pizza.  This is a fancy place, trendy and expensive.  It is not a pizzeria built for pick-ups and deliveries, it is a place you make reservations a month in advance so you can sit down and impress people, that you know fine dining.  If there is such a thing as gourmet pizza, this is it. 
Highly regarded chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich, cook up their take on food.  They try to make ordinary pizza, extraordinary.  Successfully they do.  The problem is I just wanted ordinary pizza made extremely well. 
I went to pick up a pizza the other day from Mozza.  Just ordering a pizza was difficult, I had to go through a bunch of automated responses, click a bunch of numbers, and still didn't get anywhere.

UPDATE:  Since I wrote this blog Mozza has built on an addition that is called Mozza To Go.  Specifically for what I am complaining about.  The price is still the same.  You want good ingredients, I guess you have to pay for it.  

 I realized you just can't order for pick-up, it's obviously not that kind of place.  Eventually I just showed up at the door and ordered a pizza from the hostess.  I had just got back from the gym, somewhat sweaty and wearing not my best outfit, so I didn't feel like standing in the middle of the room amongst the well-off, working crowd.  I took a walk around the block and when I got back my pizza was ready.
They only have personal sizes of course, which are 10 inches and a basic margherita pizza will cost you you 15 dollars.  Any time the price is more than the inches of pizza, it's too expensive.  They have about 20 different specialty pizzas from a prosciutto and rucola, to one with clams.  The pizza was good for what it was.  Splotches of tomato sauce and cheese all over, rather than a layer on top of a layer.  The sauce was very flavorful and light, so much spice it actually was a little hot.  The crust was very crunchy and light.  Thin and mostly hollow at the end. I like a little bit of doughiness on the inside of my crust.  There wasn’t too much cheese, but a lot of oil.
 Even for a fancy pizza I would say there is better.  It was good, don't get me wrong but it was overpriced and hard to get.  If the place was across the street, I could call ahead and if it was 10 dollars I'd probably go there a lot, but I'd still prefer a classic pizza like Vito's over this.

Pizzeria Mozza - 641 Highland Ave
Price: $$$
Pizzeria Mozza on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Joe Peeps

I started a new job this week and it has been changing my eating habits.  My time with pizza has become a little more precious.  This is a good thing, in the sense I have now more pizza options in a new location, but I also feel wrong eating pizza everyday in front of other people.  There is something about pizza that is associated with laziness, perhaps this is because of the way it makes you feel after you eat it.  Anyway, thats not the trait I want to have bestowed upon me by other people in the office.  Although, sometimes I can get others on board to collaborate, which is nice. 

So today I searched for a place to get some delivery, I didn't have time to pick up, busy work day.  I finally found a place called Joe Peeps NY Pizza  I thought it might be too far for them, but they said, "nah, don't worry about, we'll just charge you a dollar every mile we drive."  So it was 4 dollars for them to deliver, a few dollars for tip and reasonably priced 14'' cheese pizza for 13 dollars.  It ended up being over $20 which is ridiculous, but they seem to have some good deals, and if you pick up its not too bad.  

Now I don't know what the feel and look of this place was, since I didn't pick up, but judging by the guy that delivered the pizza and the guy who I ordered it from, which may have been the same guy, and also based on the name, I'm thinking its your typical whole in the wall pizzeria, with a loud italian looking guy working the counter.  The interesting thing is, the picture on the web site: 
Ooh, someone's got a secret.  Not exactly the high class pizza eaters I would think visit this fine establishment.  Then there is this one, it's like a shot from a Viagra commercial or something, haha.  
"Pizza will make you feel young again, and happy."
Happy diners - Come enjoy our Italian food or call in a delivery at our pizza restaurant in Whittier, California.

Anyway, to the pizza.  It said NY style, it's in its name.  The pizza was not NY style, however I hear they have a thin crust option you can go with, I was unaware of this, so maybe next time.  But when I ordered a regular cheese pizza, thin crust is not what I got.  I got a thick crust, a lot of cheese, and a heavy sauce.  When the delivery guy handed me the pizza I almost dropped it because it was so heavy, literally it weighed a ton.  I told him it was heavy, he just laughed and said it was made with real ingredients, oh o.k. that makes sense now.  So the pizza was fine, the cheese was really creamy and soft and tasted pretty fresh, the sauce had a strong tomato taste closer to a pasta sauce, and the crust was semi crispy but mainly a thick center of dough.  ( I have pictures, but I don't feel like uploading them, its 2 am)  There was just so much of everything, heavy and thick.  It was overkill, the taste was good but it turns into a gooey mess.  The thin crust may be a different story, but this was not NY style, maybe New England style or just Suburb style.  Isn't that what The Valley is anyway.  Till I eat the thin crust option, I have to say it was just average.

Joe Peeps - 14450 Whittier Blvd 90605
Price $$
Joe Peep's New York Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 2, 2008

Crispy Crust

The other day I didn't feel like looking online for the next best pizza, I didn't feel like driving around trying to find some hidden place, I just wanted pizza.  I wanted it brought to my door with the snap of my fingers.  Most people in a scenario like this, who don't know a good pizza place, might pick up the phone and call Papa John's or worse Domino's.  There is a place called Crispy Crust, there are 2 locations I know of, but it seems that they will deliver where ever you are, and its better than Domino's.  So thats what I did.
This is a place that makes it's business from deliveries pretty much exclusively, like Domino's.  I see the little car with the Crispy Crust top, drive by all the time.  The price is cheap, when you add a tip it is about 12 dollars for a medium.  When it came it looked pretty tasty.  The crust was a very prominent part of the pizza.  It had a thick and wide cornicone.  The rest of the crust was a little on the thick side and not too crispy on the bottom.  There was a thick layer of cheese that was lightly browned and a generous amount of sauce that had a good taste. Over all it was pretty decent pizza, but it wasn’t necessarily NY style.  My friend said it was kind of a New England style pizza.  
Let me divert for a second, in my little knowledge on pizza I believe a New England style pizza to be one where the crust is a little thicker and doughier, but still crispy on the bottom and outside.  The sauce and cheese are put on a little thicker.  This seems to be the more prominent style of pizza in the suburbs of the New England states and even into PA and NY believe it or not.  I feel this is what national chains like Domino's or Papa John's go for.  I’ve also found that places that usually don’t specify a specific style, like New York style pizza, usually have this kind of pizza.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  You can’t really go wrong with this more filling style of pizza.
Anyway, I think that’s what Crispy Crust was going for. While it was very filling and tasty it wasn’t my ideal kind of pizza, and certainly not thin crust NY style, but I did enjoy it.  So the search goes on. 

Crispy Crust - 1253 N Vine St 90038
Price: $
Crispy Crust on Urbanspoon

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Abbot's Pizza Company

Last night I took a drive to the West Side, Venice. My friend was having a party and the plan was to grab some food beforehand from Abbot's Pizza Company on Abbot Kinney Blvd. When we walked up, there was a line out the door and down the street, this place was poppin'. I thought it must be good pizza with all the traffic.

The line was taking forever just to order and we were in a rush so I walked up to the guy with the blue bandana and just ordered a large cheese from him instead, no waiting. He took care of us.
Actually we got half cheese, half mushroom; my good friend Kelly was with me and she had a craving for mushrooms. Even though I knew it was going to stink up my side of the pizza, I went with it. We got the large pizza, which I think was 16 inches for about 14$ pretty cheap. 45 minutes later after waiting to order and then waiting for the pizza, we finally got to eat. It looked great, darkened crispy crust, browned Mozzarella and a dark red sauce.
Now as you may or may not know, the big deal everyone makes with this place is the dough, it is bagel dough. Now I don't really know what the difference is and I can't say I could tell it was bagel dough. It did seem a little crunchier and heartier, like a bagel would be I guess. The main thing, I think, is that you can get sesame seeds or poppy seeds on the crust, which makes it a lot more bagel like. Getting past the idea of bagels, the crust was extremely crispy, blackened on the bottom, with a little charred taste. The outer edge was tough and thick and crispy. It was very thin and had a softer inside. The cheese was fine, while the sauce was a thicker pasty sauce. I really liked the flavor and the extreme crisp of the crust. However, to get it so crispy they just cooked it longer, which I think resulted in drying it out a little. The sauce being a little thicker also didn't help bring moisture to the bread.
The pizza over all was above average, certainly, but why there is a line around the block seems a little ridiculous. Maybe it's the only pizza in town. Maybe its just so hyped up with the whole bagel idea everyone wants to go there, I don't know. If you do eat there, definitely order in advance and try to avoid the over crowded place with delivery.

Abbot's Pizza Company
- 1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Venice, 90291
- 1811 Pico Blvd. Santa Monica 90405
Price: $
Abbot's Pizza Company on Urbanspoon
Abbot's Pizza Co in Los Angeles

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