New York and Chicago might get all the respect when it comes to pizza. But there are some very good pies to be had in this town.
This modest pizzeria is known for its bagel crusts. But don't be misled. The crust itself is classic New York -- puffy and slightly charred, with a satisfying chew. Abbot's simply adds sesame seeds, poppy seeds and more to the crust upon request. Among the most popular offerings is the salad pizza: pizza topped with mixed greens, avocado and tomato dressed with olive oil and lemon.
* Slice of salad pizza, $4. 1407 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 396-7334.
Before there was California Pizza Kitchen and all the other nouveau pie purveyors, there was Ed LaDou, who is often credited with creating the barbecue chicken pizza. At his modest east Valley Italian spot, the super-thin-crust "Old World" pizza, topped with porcini sauce in lieu of the usual tomato as well as fresh mozzarella and roasted garlic, has a particularly loyal following.
* Porcini sauce pizza, $11.32. 4346 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, (818) 761-3588.
The "four way" at this Cal-Med is a 12-inch pie in sections: maybe homemade sausage with mushrooms on one quarter, shaved asparagus with red onion on another, oregano, goat cheese and Kalamata olives on the third and baby heirloom tomatoes with basil oil on the fourth.
* Four-way pizza, $18. 8826 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (310) 278-3684.
The fans of this Valley institution, which moved to the old Matterhorn Chef space this summer, are evangelistic. Certainly the pizza is unusual. First, the shape: Everything, except the small pies, is rectangular. The crust is lighter than most. And you could even call this pizza historic. Opened in 1945, Barone's claims it's the first restaurant to serve pizza in SoCal.
* Medium cheese pizza, $10.50. 13726 Oxnard St., Van Nuys, (818) 782-6004.
Pitfire Pizza Co.
In honor of fall, this mini-chain with its original location in North Hollywood and a third to come in spring on the Westside is doing a couple of specialty pies. Award for most intriguing? The roasted pumpkin pizza with Nueske bacon and Gruyere.
* Pumpkin pizza, $10.25. 108 W. 2nd St., downtown L.A., (213) 808-1200.