For the sake of full disclosure, I have to confess I’m a pizza purist. For me, the more you mess with it, the more you mess it up. It’s like Mac and Cheese. You can keep your Truffle Oil Mac and Cheese, and your Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese. Give me elbows and melted cheddar, plain and simple.
I’m the same with pizza. In my book, the best pizza is basic, cheap and easy to eat on the run. The more chefs get fancy and try to turn pizza into an “experience”, the more they’re going to miss the boat, IMHO. Give me a basic pizza joint, with pizza by the slice, and I’m a happy camper.
However, I realize there are lots of people who wouldn’t agree with me. Especially in fusion crazy L.A., where mixing up flavors and cuisines is practically a requirement for chefs these days. Where else could someone start a revolution with a Korean BBQ Taco Truck?
Happily for pizza lovers of all stripes, purists like me and the more adventurous, I found the perfect marriage of basic old style NY slices meets creatively topped pizza bliss.
Los Angeles Pizza is tucked away on a forgotten block of Figueroa Street, on the north end of downtown and adjacent to Chinatown. It’s in such an obscure location it’s kind of amazing that they’ve been in business for six years. But this friendly little spot is worth seeking out for its crispy, thin crusts, fresh ingredients and multicultural specialty pies.
This is a true pizza joint, with just a couple of tables inside and a few more on the sidewalk out front. Pizzas are available whole and by the slice, and they also sell salads, sandwiches and specialty items including empanadas and L.A. Sagna. Oscar, the well-traveled owner grew up in Los Angeles amid an ethnic and cultural hodgepodge and he likes to get creative by using a variety of the different foods and flavors he’s known since childhood.
Los Angeles Pizza makes its own sauce and sources its ingredients locally. The pizza has a thin, ultra crispy crust with nice puffy bubbles of dough air balls. This is a nice, light pizza, not heavy handed on either the sauce or the cheese. The homemade sauce tastes of the fresh basil that Oscar carefully selects. Two slices make a satisfying lunch, without making you feel like you just swallowed a soccer ball. And the lunch special price of just $4.40 for cheese, or $5.50 for two slices of pepperoni with a soda is easy to digest too.
Adventurous pizza lovers can try some of the whole pizza varieties, available in two sizes, 14” and 17”. The Buenos Aires is made with chimichurri sauce and Argentinean sausage. The Bruce Lee is a mash-up that includes red sauce and mozzarella as well as red onions, Langonisa (a sweet Filipino sausage) and Hoisin sauce. If you prefer to build your own pie, the list of available ingredients includes all the standards, as well as artichokes, watercress, radish, goat cheese, turkey and pesto sauce.
Los Angeles Pizza is one of my favorite go-to spots for a quick, cheap and tasty lunch. But with its tiny floor plan, it’s really more of a take-out and delivery place. Fortunately they offer free delivery with a $16.00 minimum order, and the delivery zone includes downtown and Echo Park. With its proximity to Dodger Stadium and close to all the major freeways, it’s handy for a tasty snack or meal before or after a game. For anyone who loves pizza, a nice, piping hot Pepperoni or a Bruce Lee would be a great alternative to an overpriced Dodger dog.
Los Angeles Pizza, 712 N. Figueroa Street (@ Sunset/Cesar Chavez) 213-626-5272 or 213-626-1134. Open 11 am – 10 pm Monday to Thursday and until 11 pm Friday and Saturday. Free delivery with a $16.00 minimum order. Online orders and specials available. www.losangelespizzacompany.com