If you are familiar with the food blog network in the greater LA region (which, since you have a life, I can assume you are not), you would know that Mozza is all the rage in the category of new restaurants. Naturally, we had to find out for ourselves what the hype was all about. Mozza is founded by Nancy Silverton (who co-founded La Brea bakery) and Mario Batali (who wears hideous orange clogs and oozes smug every he goes, and maybe talent too). The famous restauranteurs behind the establishment could be one reason as to why Mozza was filled to capacity (albeit small as it was) at 3pm on a Monday afternoon. Nancy Silverton, herself, was actually on site and moving about in the area behind the counter where the pizza ovens were located. I could not see what she was up to but even if all she did was eat the leftover pizza toppings, I think we were all impressed by just the presence of a celebrity store owner.
The interior of the restaurant, as I mentioned before, was small in floor space but comparatively large in the vertical sense. The high ceilings only further added to the high-end-take-on-low-end-food ambience. To offset the snottiness a bit, each placemat was different and each had a different print of something causal, like comics or diagrams of common Italian gestures.
And now, food:
From first row, left to right: salumi salumi and chilies pizza, squash blossoms and burrata pizza (looking a bit charred), egg, anchovies and radicchio pizza, fennel sausage pizza and prisciutto di parma pizza.
So I guess the main point of interest is: how good can pizza get? I mean most people at least like pizza so the question is not a matter of if Mozza pizza is good to eat but rather if there is enough value in eating a $15 pizza, however unusual the toppings are. And to that end, I say the Mozza pizza is an excellent experience though it does not shame me into never eating cheaper Italian food again. In fact, the Domino's three pizzas for $5 each deal is pretty hard to top. Though Mozza's pizza crust was deliciously chewy and the tomato sauces were full of flavor. I'd never had squash blossoms before but they added a welcomed texture. The burrata (cheese made from mozzarella and cream) was soft and melty in a pleasant sort of way.
All in all, I really did like Mozza. Comfortable atmosphere plus good Italian food is a winning combination. But if I just wanted pizza, I would probably choose a more affordable place with no need to call ahead for reservations.
Price: ~$20 (just pizza + tax and tip)
Rating: 9.2/10 (delicious)
641 N. Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA