When the buzz first started several months back about Vito's Pizza being resurrected, there was an air of excitement amongst pizza aficionados of the likes I haven't seen in a very long time. I wondered what was so special about Vito's Pizza. Apparently, it's a pizza joint that serves what many consider the closest thing to New York pizza in the Los Angeles area. My curiosity aroused, I was happy that my friend planned an outing for a group of us to check this place out.
As soon as you step through the doors of this tiny place, you're confronted with a large photo of Vito himself, leaving room for no doubt that this was his domain. Walking past the glass cases, I was amazed at how large the pizzas were. Those suckers were 18" round pies. These were definitely not made for the solo diner, unless you ordered by the slice, which was something you could do if you so desired. They'd even cook your slice to order which is a much better option than getting a slice of pizza after it's been sitting under a heat lamp for an hour or two or more.
Soon we sat down and perused the menu and let me tell, everything looked so good that it took awhile to settle on the two we finally did order. Our choices were Vito's Terra Firma which had sausage, pepperoni, olives, peppers, onions and mushrooms and the Pizza Margherita whose ingredients were simply tomato, basil and mozzarella.
The Vito's Terra Firma came first and was placed on top of a large can and let me tell you, I think the manager was surprised to see half of our group of 6 swarming around the pizza taking photos. The Pizza Paparazzi definitely made its presence known. See what happens when food bloggers dine together. Hehehe!
After our pics were taken, we sat down to enjoy our first taste of the Terra Firma. So I took a slice, folded it, just like I've seen New Yorkers do it on TV and took a bite and then another bite and another bite. Unfortunately, I found the crust, though thin, was more doughy and chewy than I would have liked. I was disappointed. I was looking for pizza dough that was crispy and crusty and I just didn't get that with either of the two pizzas we had for our meal.
I did enjoy the sauce and the abundance of toppings. What I really appreciated was that all the veggies on the Terra Firma weren't cooked to oblivion. They were fresh and crunchy. One thing that was surprising was that I almost forgot that sausage was part of the ingredients. The fact that the sausage was so forgettable wasn't too surprising considering how bland it tasted and the pepperoni also needed more zing. In short, I think the veggies were more of a star on this pizza than either of the meats.
Soon, the Pizza Margherita arrived and after another round of the Pizza Paparazzi doing its thing, it was time to sample this next offering. I wanted to enjoy eating this pizza, but I was less than impressed. The mozzarella part of the pizza was great, but I thought the tomatoes should have been juicier and I found the basil leaves, which normally has a distinct flavor, to be blah. We might as well have just ordered a cheese pizza because neither the tomatoes nor basil added any pizzazz to this pie.
After that one experience there, Vito's is definitely not a destination pizza place for me. The crust, as I mentioned, was a disappointment, but what was also missing for me were the bold flavors my palate tends to steer towards. Both pies that we sampled just didn't have the oooomph I was looking for. Even the Good Friday Pizza I took home for the family, which had ingredients like garlic, clams, oregano and crushed red pepper, still didn't do it for me.
Overall, if I was in the neighborhood or with a group of friends who really wanted to dine at Vito's, I wouldn't mind stopping by, but would I make an hour drive from the Eastside? No. There are just too many other better pizza options for me out there.
To see pics, go to:
846 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90069
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