Stella Rossa Pizza Bar


The owners may be a mega corporation, but the chef manning this particular oven has a résumé that includes a stint at London’s three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck. The yellow-lit industrial space feels too cold for such rustic comfort food; the dough rising in plastic containers on the counter is more on point. We’re up to our eyeballs in burrata, but this simple version, served with grilled grapes and a drizzle of balsamic, reminded us why. The pies may well be Santa Monica’s best: The crust is crisp but gives way to a soft puffiness with a nutty flavor. It’s far more than a vehicle for toppings that include smoked mozzarella and smokier copa, Bloomsdale spinach with crispy purple kale and young pecorino, and house-made Italian sausage with fresh oregano and fennel pollen. A small wine and beer list suits the casual operation.  » 2000 Main St. (310-396-9250 or D nightly. Full bar. Pizzeria  $$

Photograph courtesy