Pizzeria Mozza…yes, another review.

Mozza Logo

I know I’m a little late in joining the Pizzeria Mozza party, but better late than never I guess.

The somewhat new Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich pizza restaurant is literally about 3 blocks away from my apartment, and yet it took me about 7 months to make it there for dinner. Man, was I glad I chose this place.

I had been wanting to visit Pizzeria Mozza since it opened back in November, but I figured I’d wait for a special occasion, since reservations are needed a month prior to your visit. Since I couldn’t tell you what my plans are a week from now, let alone a month, I decided my 26th birthday would be ideal. On April 5th, about mid afternoon, I placed a call to Mozza and most of the tables were already filled. You gotta be early if you want a specific time. But I was fortunate to grab the 6:15 seating and took it.

Oh, and I wasn’t thinking and left my camera at home, so I’ll link to as many Flickr photos as I can. Next time I’ll be sure to take some pictures.

My party, a table of 4, arrived a bit early in hopes of getting seated due to the De La Hoya/Mayweather fight. We wanted to make sure we were home in time. We arrived about 5:45 and were seating within 3 minutes.

When entering Mozza, the first thing I noticed was how small the place is. There are 2 bars; a wine bar and a pizza bar. Both are first come, first serve, and apparently quite accessable. Both were filled. Mozza was filled with people, not an empty table. Probably about 60 or so people fill it up, so it’s really quite tiny. But that allows for a more personal eating experience and very good service.

The first thing I noticed once seated were the placemats and silverware in matching pouches. The placemats were each unique and featured fun Italian-themed prints, such as hand gestures and Italian food facts. Breadsticks were soon brought out, water was poured and an Italian red wine was order. Then came the food.

NOTE: Everything was good. Really good. Great in fact. Nothing was bad, so I can’t really knock any of the menu items below. Keep that in mind. Order any (or all) of the below items. You can’t go wrong.

First up, the Caprese ($12). Slightly roasted tomatoes, soft wet burrata, and shredded and basil topped with drizzles of extra virgin olive oil.

Next came the Fried squash blossoms ($6) which are filled with ricotta cheese. The blossoms literally look like flowers, and are lightly fried. We each had a piece, but I could’ve gone for a second order.

Then came the Bufala mozzarella & prosciutto di Parma ($15). More of that super soft mozzarella smothered in thin slices of prosciutto. Served with a small bowl of what I’m sure was some top quality olive oil.

Next came the pizzas. It really should’ve only been one pizza. I thought I had ordered a goat cheese appetizer or some sort of salad, but either it was my mistake or the waitresses, but we didn’t complain. It looked too good to send back. First we had the Bianco with fontina, mozzarella, sottocenere & sage ($13). The sage really makes this pizza as it’s plentiful and crisp. The second unintentional pizza was the Coach farm goat cheese, leeks, roasted garlic & bacon ($14). More fresh, crunchy herbs and crispy bacon. The goat cheese was nice and soft. Both pizza breads are obviously hand tossed and uneven, a little burnt, a little bubbly and a little doughy in the middle. On purpose.

Last but not least, we ordered the Saturday special, Lamb stracotto. A fall-off-the-bone shank of lamb, cooked perfectly, sitting on soft, melted goat cheese (I think). I can’t remember the exact price, but I want to say $20.

It seems at this point, a lot of food was consumed, but everything comes in small but filling proportions. And when I say small, I mean small in comparison to any Italian-style chain restaurant.

So finally it was time for dessert. For dessert we sampled a number of items, including the trio of gelatos; espresso, rum raisin and olive oil ($7), the assorted biscotti ($8 I think), and the Mulberry yogurt parfait (can’t remember official name or the price). The most interesting of the desserts was the olive oil gelato. It had a drizzle of olive oil on top and it tasted, well, like olive oil. It was strangely good. Even better in my opinion was the Mulberry yogurt parfait.

We also had a round of cappuccinos served sans artificial sweetener. I didn’t ask if they had any, but we were presented with our choice of brown or granulated. I’m assuming most Italians don’t use the yellow, pink or blue packets.

A few tips and secrets…

  1. You don’t have to order wine from the menu. Most bottles cost over $30, but you can bring your own bottle and pay a corkage fee of $20 (I believe).
  2. Ask your waiter about the wines. They know what they’re talking about. Our waitress suggested a nice fruity Italian wine for my table. Very nice.
  3. When you walk in, directly to the right is what looks to be a wine cellar room. It’s a private room able to accomodate 14 people sitting, and 20 standing. You’ll need to indulge yourself in a tab of at least $1500, but after tax and tip it’s more like $1900. But you have that much as a tab, so you can go wild ordering as much food and wine as you’d like.
  4. I said it before and I’ll say it again. Book in advance. At the moment, tables don’t become available until a month prior, so make sure you call a month ahead of the day you want to go.
  5. That said, if you are in the area and want to attempt to walk in and grab a bar stool, go for it. From what I’m told, you can usually get one within a few minutes either late afternoon or after 10pm. No guarantees, but worth a shot.
  6. Park at my place. Save the money for valet and order an extra dish. You could use the exercise anyways.

Pizzeria Mozza
641 N. Highland Ave (at Melrose)
Los Angeles, CA 90036

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