This weekend I made my second venture to Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, and Joseph Bastianich's Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.
At first this restaurant struck me as pretentious with its up-to-one-month-in-advance reservation policy, the snobby looking wait-staff, its hip Hollywood crowd, and the fact that all the names of the food items on the menu are basically a list of that dish's ingredients...by their Italian names. Worst of all they italicized the ingredients words they knew the average person would not know. I've never taken Italian nor did I remember to bring an Italian dictionary which meant having to go down the entire menu and ask the waiter exactly what each and every item was. That was not fun. However, the food changed most of my preconceptions of Pizzeria Mozza.
The first time I was here, I ordered the fried squash blossoms as an appetizer plate which were just delicious. The second time around, I ordered a plate of prosciutto with asparagas and a plate of the roasted bone marrow which came with bruschetta, roasted garlic in olive oil, and salt flakes. Initially I felt that the bone marrow was lacking in flavor until I put it together with the other ingredients on the plate. That is when I realized that dish was very tasty and the garlic was so soft that it spread across the bruschetta with the greatest of ease.
Anyway, appetizers are not the reason to come to Pizzeria Mozza. It is, of course, the pizzas which are some of the best that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. The greatness of the pizza lies in its crust which is very thin and easy to chew in the center but very crispy and bubbly at the edges. The ingredients are unique and full of flavor. They are light on the sauces and made with organic ingredients so they don't leave you feeling like your arteries just clogged right after you finished eating.
The "Fennel Sausage, Panna, Red Spring Onion and Scallions" is really really good and is one that you will never go wrong with ordering.
Below are the pizzas I tried this weekend: "Prosciutto di Parma, Tomato, Arugula & Mozzarella," which is decent but not great. The "Ipswich Clam, Garlic, Oregano, Pecorino, and Parmigiano" however, is interesting and delicious.
The "Squash Blossoms, Burrata, and Tomato" was good because of the tomato sauce but was easily a disappointment compared to everything else tried so far.
The "Funghi Misti, Fontina, Taleggio & Thyme" pizza is the very first pizza I tried at Mozza. It is topped with mushrooms and two different cheeses. If you like those ingredients then it is just wonderful. Definitely my favorite.
For dessert, we ordered the "Espresso Granita with Espresso Gelato and Chocolate Dipped Honeycomb" and the "Butterscotch Budino, Maldon Sea Salt, and Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies" accompanied with a glass of Moscato D'Asti. The Espresso tasted like French iced coffee but the addition of granita made it taste bitter, which I did not like. The chocolate dipped honeycomb that came with it was dark chocolate and tasted ashy as I bit into it. In fact, my first reaction was that I was eating a pack of lit cigarettes. I do not recommend getting this dessert.
The "Butterscotch Budino" (above) was touted as the absolute must-try dessert with its mixture of caramel, cream, and a hint of sea salt. I found the cookies more enjoyable but perhaps it was overhyped and did not quite meet my expectations, although it was still very good.
Overall, I would say that the prices at Pizzeria Mozza are fairly reasonable. Pizzas range from $15-$22; Appetizers: approx $8-$12; Desserts: $9
If you plan to visit, I highly recommend trying to book reservations at least a week and a half in advance if you want to have a table at a good time. I never recommend coming here without a reservation because you'll either be out of luck or waiting for hours just for a bar seat.
641 N. Highland Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
I would definitely come back again in the future and recommend this place to anyone who enjoys pizzas or anyone looking for new flavors to arouse the senses.