Highly Opinionated: An Editor’s Favorite New York-Style Pizza in Los Angeles (2024)

In Eater LA’s new series, Highly Opinionated, Eater editors delve into one specific, oft-debated food obsession in Los Angeles. This month brings the hot takes to New York City-style pizza slices, a format that has long been popular in Los Angeles, but has only recently risen to heights that would begin to approach the city from which it originated. Here now, the top three places to get New York City pizza in the City of Angels.

Los Angeles isn’t known for its pizza, though, surprisingly, there’s a wide array of places to get well-crafted pizzas here. From the growing Neapolitan influence of Pizzana to the iconic smoked salmon pizza topped with caviar and creme fraiche at Spago, Angelenos have loved thin-crust pizza for generations. While longtime pizzerias have imported New York City’s classic pizza to Los Angeles, from Mulberry Street to Lamonica’s, a recent crop of restaurants has helped bring a special touch to the simple round pie topped with canned tomato sauce, cheese, and sliced meats. We’re breaking this down Wirecutter-style, like we did with Korean barbecue, with the top recommendation, one alternate selection, and one old-school pick to honor the work of a classic pizzeria.

Why you should trust me: Simply put, I love pizza. I once nearly ate two whole pizzas by myself on a one-day trek to eat the coal-fired pies in New Haven, Connecticut. I’ve made pilgrimages to some of the top pizzerias in New York City, from Di Fara to Best Pizza to John’s of Bleecker Street, though I still have many slices I need to try there. And I’ve been to well over 20 thin-crust pizzerias in Los Angeles over the years, eating upwards of six slices a day just to find the best. I also make pizza regularly at home, from square grandma-style and Sicilian to classic round New York style. I’m also famously willing to debate the topic — I’ve almost even gotten thrown into a bar fight while debating pizza.

The overall favorite: Pizzeria Bianco

Highly Opinionated: An Editor’s Favorite New York-Style Pizza in Los Angeles (1) Matthew Kang

One could say it’s difficult to crown this place as the best overall New York City-style slice in Los Angeles when chef Chris Bianco’s restaurant is a mere three weeks old. But if Bianco’s reputation and consistency is of any concern, look to his decades-old tenure in Phoenix. Pizzeria Bianco in LA only serves three New York-style slices right now: a red slice with tomato sauce and house blend cheese; thinly-sliced salami, and “green” with caciocavallo, spinach-cream sauce, and parmigiano reggiano. The wide slices here are masterfully assembled, with splotches of creamy mozzarella blended with parmigiano for a nutty, salty touch. Bianco uses his Bianco DiNapoli canned tomatoes, easily among the best on the market, featuring a rounded savory flavor finished with gentle sweetness. And the blistered crust is almost mochi-levels of tender near the cornicione, just barely singed by the oven on the bottom.

The higher hydration makes this crust, made with organic flour, the best possible base for the balance of cheese and toppings. The green slice feels like the perfect complement to the tomato sauce versions, with an oily vegetal sauce that counters the nuttier, richer caciocavallo cheese. These slices beg to be talked about, to be swooned over, to be remembered long after chewing on the last piece of crust. Pizzeria Bianco will soon open for dinner and the chef will serve his classic wood-fired Neo-Neapolitan pizzas. Right now, the slices are lunch only, and come dinner service, large 18-inch New York-style whole pies will only be available for takeout. 1320 E 7th St #100, Los Angeles, CA

The solid alternate for classic NYC slices: Apollonia’s

Highly Opinionated: An Editor’s Favorite New York-Style Pizza in Los Angeles (2) Matthew Kang

With a split lunch and dinner service operating for just five-and-a-half hours each day they’re open (Wednesday to Sunday), Mid-Wilshire’s Apollonia’s Pizza feels inaccessible, with a cash-only approach and just two slices available at the shop: cheese and pepperoni. But these slices are absolutely glorious, prime examples of the best kind of New York City pizza where the cheese and sauce become amalgamated into a magical interplay of stretchy, savory goodness. The cheese pizza is stunning, and the pepperoni, with its slightly curved cups of spicy mini-salami, might be even better.

These are traditional slices that feel less artisanal but still offer a highly developed, flavorful crust. The sauce is more robust here than Bianco’s, more reduced and tinted with herbs and black pepper, giving it the aggressive seasoning of the likes of Di Fara in Brooklyn. However, with no basil-topped margherita on the menu at Apollonia’s, the slices cannot reach heights of the late Dom DeMarco’s pizza. For West Coast pizza fans, Apollonia’s is a fantastic consolation, and the whole pie menu ranges over two dozen topping combinations. Note: They do accept online orders, and one could pay with a credit card when ordered this way. Oh, and they make gluten-free pizza in whole pie form. 5176 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

The old-school sentimental pick: Vito’s

Highly Opinionated: An Editor’s Favorite New York-Style Pizza in Los Angeles (3) Matthew Kang

Originally located in East Hollywood, and now in a plain strip mall along La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood, Vito di Donato’s enduring New York City/New Jersey-style pizza has been one of the most consistent slice shops in town. With wide, thin crusts topped modestly with often whimsical combinations, like the Garibaldi, covered with jalapeno, tomato, meatball, and red sauce, di Donato’s tiny establishment is best experienced when the jovial pizzaiolo is roaming around the shop. Classic cheese slices meld the sauce and mozzarella into a two-millimeter plane while the paper-thin crust requires a fold to be eaten properly. Served on ribbed paper plates and fired within minutes, the formula has been successful enough for an expansion to Santa Monica. While that’s nice for di Donato’s brand, the West Hollywood original is still the one to visit. 846 N. La Cienega Blvd.West Hollywood, CA

Other solid slices to try:

Danny Boy’s: Daniel Holzman’s popular Downtown slice shop is certainly one of the best new contenders for great New York City pizza in LA. Try the meatball pizza, sporting thick sliced meatball over pliant, foldable slices.

Full Proof Pizza: Sourdough pizza formed into New York City-style pies is certainly strange, and the slightly tangy crust is a tad thicker than it should be, but the generous toppings are terrific.

Little Coyote: A very well-executed classic New York City pizza with almost no flaws. Excellent, tender crust; perfectly distributed sauce, cheese, and toppings; and breezy service down in Long Beach.

Prime: Prime Pizza is one of the most reliable slices in town with multiple locations, with a middle of the road approach to toppings, crust, and sauce. A ‘prime’ example of what NYC pizza should be.

Ghisallo: A more artisanal take on New York City slices sporting farmer’s market vegetables, a denser crust, and a higher price to match.

Superfine: Steve Samson’s New York City-esque pies have a highly developed flavor from a long three day fermentation and stellar ingredients. Sadly no longer available in slices, but if they return then they’re definitely in the conversation for top flight slice in LA.

Esco’s: Massive slices from a Harlem-raised chef with plush crusts and ample cheese. Sauce is a tad aggressive, almost too salty, but Esco’s is still solid entrant to the slice scene.

Bagel + Slice: With a small-ish cornicone and perhaps too tough of a crust, this Eagle Rock/Highland Park shop does have great balance between cheese and sauce. The lack of flexibility in the crust takes away from the overall flavor.

Vito's Pizza

2455 Santa Monica Boulevard, , CA 90404 (310) 884-5900 Visit Website

Apollonia's Pizzeria

5176 Wilshire Boulevard, , CA 90036 (323) 937-2823 Visit Website

Pizzeria Bianco Los Angeles

1320 E 7th St #100, Los Angeles, CA 90021 Visit Website

Highly Opinionated: An Editor’s Favorite New York-Style Pizza in Los Angeles (2024)


Highly Opinionated: An Editor’s Favorite New York-Style Pizza in Los Angeles? ›

The overall favorite: Pizzeria Bianco

What is the difference between New York style pizza and California style pizza? ›

California-style pizza has a crust that is similar to New York-style pizza, but they add ingredients that are synonymous with California cuisine and sauce is used sparingly.

Why do people say New York pizza is the best? ›

New York–style pizza gets its distinguishing crust from the high-gluten bread flour with which it is made. Minerals present in New York City's tap water supply are also credited with giving the dough in metro area pies its characteristic texture and flavor.

What is the #1 pizza place in the US? ›

Compiled based on Yelp Elites' shared favorites ("our most passionate and trusted reviewers and influencers," the company explains in a statement), the survey, which you can browse through in full right here, crowns Pequod's Pizzeria in Chicago as the very best of its kind in America.

Where did Frank Pinello grow up? ›

Frank Pinello grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and Long Island, NY. Frank's lessons in the kitchen started early while learning the secrets of his Sicilian grandmother's cooking in her basem*nt kitchen. These formative years influenced Frank to attend the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park.

Is New York style pizza thick or thin crust? ›

New-York style pies are often easily distinguishable because of their extra-large and thin crust. The crust isn't as chewy as that in the traditional pie. Because the base isn't as complex as that of traditional pizzas, it is the perfect backdrop for loading up on layers of toppings and cheese.

What is special about New York style pizza? ›

New York-style pizza has slices that are large and wide with a thin crust that is foldable yet crispy. It is traditionally topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, with any extra toppings placed on top of the cheese. Pizza without additional toppings is called “plain,” “regular,” or “cheese.”

What is the secret to New York pizza? ›

The Ovens That Turn Dough into Magic

To achieve that iconic texture, the pies must be baked in a blazing hot oven. New York Pizza Department's ovens reach the high temperatures required for crispiness while still allowing the crust to retain its signature chewiness.

What do New Yorkers call pizza? ›

To this day, many New Yorkers still refer to pizza as pie without a second thought. So, the etymology of “pizza pie” is really history lesson on how this iconic Italian food was first introduced to (and interpreted by) hungry Americans over a century ago.

What is the most sold pizza in the US? ›

The combination of melted cheese with garlic and Italian-style herbs baked on a crispy crust seems to hit all of the flavor and texture checkpoints on any pizza lover's checklist. However, according to a survey by YouGov America, pepperoni pizza is by far the most ordered pizza in the United States.

What is America's best city for pizza? ›

Denver has been named the best pizza city in America, surpassing New York City, Chicago, and Detroit, according to a study by Clever Real Estate. The study evaluated eight criteria, including price, the number of pizza places, ratings, and a 'pizza passion' score.

Who is the famous pizza guy in New York? ›

Frank Pinello, the host of The Pizza Show on MUNCHIES and owner of Best Pizza in Williamsburg, was destined to be a pizza guy. Growing up during pizza's golden age in Brooklyn in the late '80s, Pinello would often visit the city's most beloved pizzerias with his family.

Who was the first pizza place in America? ›

Lombardi's is a pizzeria located at 32 Spring Street on the corner of Mott Street in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. Opened in 1905, it has been recognized by the Pizza Hall of Fame as the first pizzeria in the United States.

Who brought pizza to NYC? ›

Italian Immigrants Bring Pizza to America

The first pizzeria was opened in 1905 by Gennaro Lombardi in a famous Manhattan neighborhood called Little Italy. He was a grocer from Naples who moved to New York to open a store in the late 1800s.

What makes a California style pizza? ›

California-style pizza, a thin-crust pizza noted for its fresh, nontraditional toppings, such as chicken, peanut sauce, artichoke hearts, and goat cheese rather than the standard pepperoni and mozzarella.

Why is it called California pizza? ›

California-style pizza (also known as California pizza) is a style of pizza that combines New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California cuisine cooking style. Its invention is generally attributed to chef Ed LaDou, and Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California.

What's the difference between Brooklyn Style and New York Style pizza? ›

While both New York pizza and Brooklyn style have relatively thin crusts, pizza you'll find in Brooklyn tends to have a crispy dough throughout that cracks when you fold the slice, whereas a classic New York slice still has a crispy edge but a softer dough underneath the cheese that bends when you fold it.

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