Five pizza places in the greater Los Angeles area, ranked

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Emma Newman staff writer

Leia Gluckman staff writer

Pizza is a standard stable in the diet of many Americans. Often inexpensive and convenient, it is beloved by children and adults alike.

Because of its popularity, pizza places are available in almost any part of Los Angeles. This makes it difficult to distinguish which pizza places are high-quality and which ones are a waste of money.  

Below is a list of five pizza restaurants broken down based on creativity, ambiance and service, food quality – determined by each restaurant’s most popular pizza and cheese pizza – and price point.

  1. Upper Crust Pizzeria

Ambiance/ Service (out of 2): 1.5/2 

Of all of the restaurants, Upper Crust definitely felt the most modern and the least authentic. The space is small, with open windows, good lighting and a clean setting. Although the atmosphere was enjoyable and the staff was pleasant, the pizza took a little long to come out. 

Creativity (out of 2): 1.5/2

Upper Crust has more options than most pizza restaurants. For whole pizzas, it is possible to choose your own toppings, although the options were not as widespread as a typical “make-your-own” pizza place. The choices were  individual slices were even more limited. Even so, Upper Crust offered more variety than most of the other restaurants, which made it memorable. 

Food Quality (out of 6): 1.5/6

Even though neither slice of pizza ordered was vomit-worthy, both slices were unpleasant to eat. The cheese pizza, although decent in flavor, had one of the flimsiest crusts imaginable. It was impossible to pick it up by its crust, so in order to eat it, there are only two options: to fold it up or to eat it with a fork and knife. Needless to say, neither option is appealing. One of the most popular individual slices, the white spinach pizza, had a much less flimsy crust. Why? The slice was completely stale and hard. The cheese was solid and unmelted, and the crust was so hard that it was physically painful to eat. In addition, the spinach tasted more like really intense kale or seaweed than spinach, and the strong flavor did not mix well with the mild cheesy taste. Overall, for high quality pizza, this would not be the spot to choose. 

Total Number of points (out of 10): 4.5/10

Price Point: $

  1. Nagila Pizza

Ambiance/ Service (out of 2): 1/2 

A very family-oriented establishment with booths and tables, Nagila is a great place for a casual lunch or dinner. The restaurant’s outdoor courtyard has a small variety of carnival games similar to that of Mulberry Street. While Nagila doesn’t necessarily appear warm and welcoming, it is well-lit and convenient when grabbing a quick meal.

Creativity (out of 2): 1.5/2

Nagila not only offers a wide variety of pizza options, but also offers Mediterranean-style falafels and a range of Israeli salads. The stuffed crust pizza is one of Nagila’s most popular pizzas and entirely unique to the restaurant. While stuffed crust as a concept is not particularly inventive, Nagila’s incorporation of mediterannean flavors and spices was innovative. The toy machines in the courtyard were similar to those at Mulberry Street, making the concept come across as sublime.

Food Quality (out of 6): 3/6

Nagila’s simple cheese pizza was truly enjoyable with a thick and fluffy crust. The cheese didn’t appear to be excessively oily and the sauce wasn’t too heavy. There was nothing special about the slice, but it certainly wasn’t bad. On the other hand, the mushroom stuffed crust pizza was entirely overwhelming. The cheese and mushroom crust was fine on its own, yet, when coupled with the spiced veggie toppings was too much. The flavors were fighting to be heard and the spices were hard to stomach. 

Total Number of points (out of 10): 5.5/10

Price Point: $ 

  1. Mulberry Street Pizzeria 

Ambiance/ Service (out of 2): 1/2 

When walking into Mulberry, the restaurant comes across as intimidating, with its small, stuffy, dimly-lit space. It definitely is not a friendly-looking atmosphere, except for the small toy machines that were present at the front of the restaurant. Luckily, the staff was easy to talk to, and the food came out almost immediately. The restaurant was a bit fast-food like in its feel, but its mediocre atmosphere did not diminish the experience. 

Creativity (out of 2): ½

Mulberry is what it sounds like: a typical pizza restaurant. It has pizzas, pastas and salads, and there were quite a few options in each category. However, most of the menu choices were not out-of-the-ordinary or special. The only slice that particularly stood out was the rigatoni pizza, as the pasta-pizza combination is definitely unique. However, this was one of the only conventionally interesting options. 

Food Quality (out of 6): 4/6

When taking a bite of Mulberry’s cheese pizza, it tastes like average and similar to food that would be served at a children’s party. There was nothing particularly impressive about the slice, with a crust airing on the side of being a bit too thin and a decent amount of mozzarella cheese. However, one of the most popular slices at Mulberry, the rigatoni pizza, was surprisingly good. It was definitely unconventional, which made the ricotta and pasta a surprisingly pleasant combination. Still, this slice wasn’t amazing, as its quality was similar to its cheesy counterpart. 

Total Number of points (out of 10): 6/10

Price Point: $

  1. MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company

Ambiance/ Service (out of 2): 2 /2 

With its wooden tables, string lights and photos, MidiCi has a hint of a rustic charm. The large tables give off a family-and-friends vibe, and the restaurant comes across as very welcoming. The pizza came relatively quickly and without any hassle, making the MidiCi dining experience pleasant.

Creativity (out of 2): 2/2

Of all of the restaurants, MidiCi was by far the most creative. There are a wide variety of toppings to choose from, and because make-your-own pizza is their specialty, the options of pizza are virtually limitless. Except for Eataly, MidiCi also had the most unique restaurant layout and appearance. The only aspect the restaurant could have improved upon creatively was its lack of individual slices. However, its giant pizza specialties were certainly unique. 

Food Quality (out of 6): 4/6

A bite into a slice of MidiCi’s isn’t a magical experience. The four cheese pizza, despite the delicious flavors, fell apart when picked up and the cheese practically slid off the crust. While the specialty pizza wasn’t out of this world, the margherita was one of the best of the evening. The regular margarita pizza sat on a charred and crunchy crust that was truly wonderful.

Total Number of points (out of 10): 8/10

Price Point: $

  1. Eataly: Pizza alla Pala

Ambiance/ Service (out of 2): 2/2 

Pizza alla Pala is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a quick bite to take a break from shopping. The open bar counters scattered surrounding the center of the floor and around the pizza counter give the restaurant a very open feel. Overall, eating at Pizza alla Pala was a classy, efficient, and enjoyable experience.

Creativity (out of 2): 2/2

With a new and innovative spin on pizza in Los Angeles, wood burning ovens in the middle of a market place are certainly more creative than many of the other restaurants visited. In addition to the unique layout, Pizza alla Pala offers squash blossom pizza and a couple of other quirky flavor combinations. While the counter’s offerings are relatively limited, the fact that Pizza alla Pala is inside Eataly makes the options appear virtually endless.

Food Quality (out of 6): 5.5 /6 

Presented on a wooden paddle, the fungi and margarita pizzas were delicious. Both were comprised of fluffy crusts and an abundance of flavor. The margherita wasn’t drowned by tomato sauce, the basil wasn’t too prominent and the cheese had a very fresh taste. The fungi pizza was an explosion of flavor and spice with a decent amount of cheese. While the profile was slightly overpowering, the pizza as a whole still came across as relatively balanced. Pizza alla Pala is a great restaurant to try when looking to try new flavors and experience Roman pizza.

Total Number of points (out of 10): 9.5/10

Price Point: $$

 

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