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Food & Drink

Best Pizza Los Angeles 2008 

Pizzeria Mozza

It is almost impossible to have a civil discussion about pizza in this city of immigrants, because there may be no foodstuff so intimately linked to one's sense of identity. People who grew up in New York usually plump for Vito's or Mulberry Street, where it is automatically assumed that the best pizza in the world is found only in the five boroughs, and people who have spent time in Naples argue for the strictly traditional Antica Pizzeria in Marina del Rey. Argentines are in favor of the onion-intensive fugazetta served at Damiano's on Fairfax; newly arrived Koreans enjoy the deeply weird pizza served at Mr. Pizza in Koreatown. For decades, I have maintained that the eggplant and homemade sausage pizza at Casa Bianca, a thin-crusted Chicago-bar-style pizza whose garlicky snap I actually missed the years I lived in Brooklyn, was the best pizza in town, although I admit that the wait on weekend nights tends toward the unreal. Among the newcomers, Terroni and the Monterey Park pizza dive Bollini are wood-burning demons of crust. But in the wood oven at Pizzeria Mozza, Nancy Silverton has more or less reinvented the very idea of pizza, airy and burnt and risen around the rim, thin and crisp in the center, neither bready in the traditional Neapolitan manner nor wispy the way you find them in the best places in Tuscany. The crust is so good, in fact, that it may be at its best dressed with nothing more than a drizzle of good olive oil and a few grains of sea salt — and it's not sad to eat topped with burrata and vivid squash blossoms, taleggio and housemade sausage, lardo and rosemary or puréed anchovies and fried egg. (The mandatory caveat applies here: Silverton is a family friend.) This isn't your mama's pizza, and it's not the pizza you used to eat back in Jersey, and that, perhaps, is the point.

—Jonathan Gold

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