There is a new player on the Westside making delicious Neapolitan pies. il Piccolo Ritrovo has taken over the former Jacopo's Pizzeria that closed, then became J's Trattoria for a very short while. Located on Sunset Boulevard in the Palisades Village, they did a complete remodel of the restaurant, including importing and building a thousand degree pizza oven from Naples.
Gone are the dark wood & dark green interiors, the room is bright, inviting and comfortable, though not much bigger than its predecessor. The patio remains, and they've added a screen of climbing plants to give some privacy & protection from the noise of the busy street. It still holds about 50 diners though.
Business has been very brisk, with no reservations available the past few weekends, due to being sold out. The gentleman who answered the call stated we could get a table if we arrived before 5:30, and the hostess politely stated as she seated us, that they needed the table, a six top, by 6:30, which was no problem for us. Service was friendly, attentive and competent.
They have an extensive Italian menu, and some of the pastas looked phenomenal, can't wait to try some. But we were there to try the pizza. They offer New York style pizza as well as 12" Neapolitan styles. We ordered a large NY cheese for the children, a Caesar salad for us, and a 12" pepperoni & sausage Neapolitan. Both pizzas were excellent; the crust was done perfectly on each - firm, crispy but foldable on the NY, and soft, charred & wet on the Neapolitan. Sauces were light and acidic enough to stand up to the cheese and meat, but not overpowering, one of the complaints I always had with Jacopo's pies. The salad was fine, serviceable, but nothing outstanding.
I give it an edge over both 800 Degrees, which I really liked, and Stella Rossa, which I did enjoy, but I like the crust better here & at 800 Degrees. There is a "wheaty sweetness" to SR's dough that is okay, but a little distracting to me.
The other factors where I think Il Piccolo Ritrovo shine are that their tables are comfortable to sit at, as compared to Stella Rossa. They are open all day (hooray!) and have one of my all time favorite wines, which I have difficulty finding, by the glass. Best part, other than the fact they are in my neighborhood (so I will not have to endure lines of college students & metered parking), and have table service, is that they offer free valet parking. I have yet to find a restaurant in LA that does that. Can't wait to try more things on the menu. Finally the Palisades is beginning to attract better places to eat, and I for one, am very excited.
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