The term “salad pizza” is enough to incite angry mobs wielding pitchforks in the streets. Ditto “bagel crust.” But Abbot’s Pizza has been nurturing the Westside with these supersized, California-inspired, pizza-esque delicacies for 15 years. A New York slice this isn’t, but whatever it is—the sesame-seed crust, the spicy chicken, the super-fresh vegetable toppings, even the blaring rock soundtrack—we’ll take two. » 1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, 310-396-7334; 1811 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, 310-314-2777.
Yep, you’re going to wait 40 minutes for a table, and we wouldn’t recommend straying far from the pizza. But when the waitress places that metal stand down on your red-checkered tablecloth—a sure sign your pie is incoming—try not to grin. This is pizza that’s worth the hype: distinctive, medium-framed crust with carbony specks, a robust tomato sauce, a generous coating of mozzarella, and toppings like fennel-tinged house-made sausage and pieces of eggplant breaded and fried. For that, we’ll wait all night. Cash only. » 1650 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, 323-256-9617.
Warm ciabatta arrives first, along with a garlic-garbanzo spread. Next, gorgeous slugs of burrata floating on fat wedges of heirloom tomato. A table away, Miss Lonelyhearts is nursing a lamb ragù as if each bite means salvation. Hope like that comes easily in this small, busy joint, where the calamari steaks are fork tender and pancetta peeks between strands of the spaghetti carbonara. » 429 W. 8th St., downtown, 213-622-5950.
Silver Lake might just have the most slices per capita of any L.A. neighborhood. In the last year at least four pizzerias have opened, but only Garage excels beyond—way beyond—“just fine.” The Hot N Sweet is the stuff of stoner fantasies: pepperoni, fresh jalapeños, and yes, pineapple, all on a light bubble crust. Don’t waste the ends: Dip them in the creamy mustard sauce. » 4339?½ W. Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake, 323-668-1190.
A broom-closet-size storefront baking megaslices for the New York purist, Joe’s migrated from Bleecker Street to the beachfront last year. It’s got others, but our favorite pie here is thin as can be, the flour-dusted crust a base for vine-fresh tomato sauce, superior-quality mozzarella rounds, radiant strips of basil, and nothing else. It’s big enough to fold over but so crisp you can’t. If the ethereal pizza feels too light, baked knots of garlic dough will satisfy your grease cravings. » 111 Broadway, Santa Monica, 310-395-9222.
The pizzas here come big. Maybe too big. But chefs Antonio and Vito Di Donato, who have won over a legion of chummy regulars, don’t rely on size. Their toppings include sautéed wild mushrooms with garlic, al dente broccoli, marinated spinach, Kalamata olives, Gorgonzola, prosciutto, and toasted pine nuts. The specialty is the white pie with ricotta and pesto that makes rich even richer. » 846 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, 310-652-6859.