Bella Pita (Westwood Village)

A midnight carb craving inspired Yahya Sanadidi to create the Wowshi, a calzone-meets-pita concoction baked to order at the two Westside locations of Bella Pita. The sandwiches start with thin disks of dough formed around seasoned meat, cheese, or vegetable fillings. Once they are out of the oven, stuff the pockets—which are gooey inside and crispy outside—with your choice of veggie garnishes and house-made sauces from the generously stocked fixin’s bar. Our favorite Wowshi combo? Cool greens, sweet tomatoes, and salty olives with the still sizzling meat. Smart move: Sanadidi, a computer science and research specialist turned UCLA professor, teamed with his son, Ezedin, to open Bella Pita as a non-fast-food option for hungry Bruins. For the Wowshi, Sanadidi fused the flavors of his Egyptian homeland with those of the eastern Mediterranean, Morocco, and the United States.

By Linda Burum