8 Crazy-Weird L.A. Pizzas
Vinny Dotolo making crazy pizza at Jon & Vinny's
East Coasters love to talk smack about L.A. pizza. And while we may not have the most authentic New York–style slice or deep-dish as perfect as Chicago's, the absence of any particular aspirational model means that Los Angeles is home to some truly experimental pie.
Sometimes this yields stunning creations that elevate the humble pizza to new levels of gastronomic bliss. Sometimes it's just plain fun (mac-and-cheese pizza, anyone?).
If you're fed up with pepperoni and margherita, get weird with the most creative pizzas in L.A., from vegan options to bacon-and-hamburger-topped pies to pizzas that make you wonder if they're even a pizza. Some of them might not be, by New York standards, but this is L.A. — and when it comes to pizza, anything goes.
The Thai Curry Chicken pizza at Dean's in Long Beach
8. Thai Curry Chicken at Dean's Pizza
Why is the Thai Curry Pizza at Dean's so good? Maybe because Dean's also serves actual Thai food — papaya salad, pad thai and, of course, a variety of curries — from an extensive menu that lists pad see-ew after spaghetti. Typically this breadth of dishes would suggest mastery of none, but Dean's turns out an amazing fusion pie: creamy, coconut-y curry sauce tops a standard chewy crust and gets a flavor bang from basil, onions, bell peppers, chicken and plenty of melted cheese. 929 Redondo Ave., Long Beach; (562) 987-3297.
Certainly not the first to put flowers on their pizza, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo manage to revamp that and other classics at their new Italian-American spot. The Flower Child pie features a simple base of crescenza (a young, rindless, cow's milk cheese), olive oil and sea salt, topped with whatever flowers happen to be in season: nasturtium, mustard flowers and squash blossoms all have made an appearance. The result is a lovely, quirky pie. 412 N. Fairfax Ave., Fairfax; (323) 334-3369, jonandvinnys.com.
Pizza of Venice's pizza with lamb leg braised in red wine, tomato sauce, mozzarella, red onion, tabbouleh and tzatziki
Braised Lamb might not be the weirdest pizza topping at Pizza of Venice — the joint we named Best Stoner Pizza in 2014 occasionally serves a Sashimi Pizza — but it's one that works well. And lamb, tabbouleh and tzatziki on a pizza is still pretty damn crazy. The thin-crusted, misshapen pizzas are handmade by proprietors Jamie Woolner and Sean St. John, who braise lamb legs in red wine at their Altadena location (the "Venice" refers to the beach neighborhood that inspires their laid-back vibe). "Every pizza is like a snowflake," St. John told our restaurant critic, encapsulating the unique qualities of POV's creations. 2545 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena; (626) 765-9636, pizzaofvenice.com.
The mac and cheese pizza at Pizzanista!
Pizzanista!, the pizza house run by pro skater Salman Agah, announces its craziness with an exclamation point. But the craziest thing about Pizzanista! isn't its celebrity owner; it's the macaroni and cheese pizza served every Sunday night (there's also a vegan version). This pizza might sound gross, but somehow it works. Elbow macaroni is tossed in a sauce made of asiago, fontina, cheddar and grana padano. Actually, when you think about it, it's not that crazy: Pizza and pasta are just two starchy Italian vehicles for sauce and cheese, right? Nah, it's still weird. Grab a garlic knot on the way out. 2019 E. Seventh St., downtown; (213) 627-1430, pizzanista.com.
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