Hole in the wall. This oft-used phrase has come to signify not only ambiance, but also great new food discoveries. Some restaurants have even tried to capitalize on the name. However, very few places exemplify both the physical and savory aspect of "hole in the wall" like Pavich's Brick Oven Pizza, located in a hilly neighborhood of San Pedro.
At the beginning of May, owner Zdenko "Denny" Pavich opened a second location in nearby Rancho Palos Verdes, which he dubbed, Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzafe. The original location, even with its small, narrow kitchen, already offered a menu beyond pizza and calzones. Pavich's Croatian background was reflected in dishes of pasta fagioli soup studded with salty beef prosciutto and cabbage rolls enveloped with a thin tangy tomato sauce. With its much larger kitchen, the new Pizzafe gives Pavich even more space to evolve his menu.
Already added are several salads and grilled panini with sides including sweet potato fries. For those seeking more Croatian dishes, cevapcici, grilled sausage, and pljeskavica, known on the menu as the Croatian burger, have been promoted from the occasional special to regular menu items. A variety of desserts are also now available, all made in-house.
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However, the best reason to come to this new location is that there is more than just one table. So now you can experience Pavich's pizza just minutes out of the brick oven without the need to live across the street or eat on the sidewalk with a pizza box balancing on your knee. In the last 5 years, thanks to rise of pizza restaurants such as Vito's, Joe's and Bollini's, we have seen the quantity and quality of thin crust pizza increase in L.A. However, Pavich's thin crust remains unique in both its texture, smooth with a good tug, and its flavor, crackery, but not dusty nor bland. It maintains a proper floppy/crispy ratio so it's foldable and still able to manage hefty toppings like meatballs and fresh tomatoes along with a good smear of their flavorful pizza sauce.
Due to the nearly identical brick oven and a proper taste test, we have confirmed that the pizza has made the transition from the hole in the wall to the Pizzafe pretty much intact. They even come in the same two sizes: The extra large 18 inch and a 12 inch, which they call their personal size, perhaps for longshoreman, but it can feed two quite nicely. So come and pull up a chair.
Pavich's Brick Oven Pizzafe: 29701 So. Western Avenue, Suite 103, Rancho Palos Verdes; (310) 832-1200.