L.A. is experiencing yet another Italian food renaissance, and even in neighborhoods where the cuisine has already taken hold, diners are learning that it’s still possible to stand out. That’s certainly the case with Pizzana, a sleek new restaurant from Sprinkles founders Candace Nelson and husband Charles, along with actor Chris O’Donnell and wife Caroline.
Pizzana’s fashionable entrance resembles a sleek Italian sports car. A small patio gives way to airy dining room and bar facing a black-tiled, wood-burning oven, which feasts on white oak. This is the restaurant’s engine, and where you’ll find longtime personal chef Daniele Uditi, who prepares pizzas inspired by his Naples youth and his outsized imagination.
Uditi uses classic techniques to prepare his dough, which takes two days to ferment and proof and incorporates organic, stone-ground flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and creamy fior di latte (cow’s milk mozzarella), all flown from Italy. You can eat well by sticking with good versions of standard pizzas, but you should order more unique pizzas like the neo Margherita, Sunday gravy, or cacio e pepe. I was particularly impressed with Cacio e Pepe Pizza ($21), a daily special that riffs on the classic pasta dish that combines sharp cheese and pepper. In this case, a pliable pizza dough pocked with singe marks hosts a crema base with fior di latte, Provolone, sharp 30-month-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, and cracked black pepper.
Considering how many Italian spots line San Vicente Boulevard, Brentwood’s main drag could easily go by Pasta Row, or perhaps Neo Little Italy, but Pizzana serves by far the best pizza.