At the bottom tip of Monterey Park, in a neighborhood better known for its tacos than for anything Chinese, Bollini’s is an unlikely bastion of real Neapolitan pizza, a narrow storefront serving as a rudimentary support mechanism for the magnificent Italian oven that turns cords of cherrywood into intense, pizza-blistering heat. Chef Christiano Bollini, who grew up in the neighborhood and put in time at one of the best pizzerias in Naples, turns out brawny, load-bearing crusts, blackened and crisp at the rim; raised and a bit doughy at the center. There are classic Margherita pies, unconventional pizza with pesto and shrimp, pizza with three kinds of sausage, with spinach and ricotta, and (shudder) with pineapple and bacon. The enterprise is still on shaky legs, although it is already scheduled to expand into the space next door, and the few tables seem superfluous to the booming to-go operation. The pastas are not going to cause Gino Angelini any sleepless nights. There is as yet no alcohol license. But the heart of any pizzeria is the crust that its pizzaiolo manages to coax out of its fires, and in that, Bollini’s is pretty much there. How dedicated is Bollini to the cause? He has the Italian flag tattooed on his arm. 2315 S Garfield Ave., Monterey Park, (323) 722-7600,

—Jonathan Gold

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.