Dig Appetit: Pizza's Finest

BY: VIVIAN GATICA

Pizza franchises dominate in the United States. How would they not? For $5, you can get a large cheese or pepperoni pizza at Little Caesars. This makes really good and authentic pizza restaurants hard to find, but they do exist. Here are some of pizza’s finest in Southern California: Carlo's Pizza and Pasta Restaurant This restaurant is small, and may look like a little whole-in-the wall restaurant in the city of Downey, but it is truly hidden pizza treasure. It is a family-owned restaurant established in 1964 with the slogan “We make pizza you can’t refuse,” and once you try their pizza, you really cannot refuse.

The pizza dough is made fresh daily, and they use many different cheeses to add an authentic flavor to their pizza. The tomato and basil pizza is absolutely delicious, and is a great combination a fresh basil and tomato with Romano cheese and garlic. It is relatively inexpensive, and a perfect place to go if you are looking for a local genuine pizza place that uses fresh ingredients, and captures the essence of Italian cuisine perfectly through their pizza.

Stefano's Pizza If you are looking to enjoy your pizza alongside the ocean in Long Beach’s Shoreline Village, then Stefano’s is the place for you. It is a little more informal because food orders are taken inside, and then the waiters bring your food. The pizza is a little pricey, but the view you get of the marina makes it all worth it.

All of the pizzas are the signature thin-crust, and they are very tasty. The crispy texture of the pizza makes it unique, and makes you savor the cheese and toppings by not overwhelming you with a thick pizza crust. It is a good place to go if you need somewhere to eat before you go to the aquarium or just feel like walking around Shoreline Village to enjoy the sunset and breathe in the fresh ocean air.

Slice of New York Pizza This restaurant in Seal Beach is the perfect illustration of New York Pizza. The whole set up of the restaurant is exactly the same as the pizzerias in New York City. It is not formal, but it is a nice place to get great pizza, and look through the walls to see clips of sport history. The walls of the restaurant are decorated with sports memorabilia. It is a great place to go to after a great day at the beach. It is very affordable, tasty, and the pizza slices are huge.

The artichoke and spinach pizza is very good, and is complimented perfectly by cheese and a thin crust. The pizza is on display, the customer chooses which pizza slice they want, and then they heat the pizza up in the oven. It is just like a traditional pizza set up that exists in the hustle and bustle of New York City.

Frantone's Pizza and Spaghetti Villa What I like the most about the pizza at this restaurant in Cerritos is that the pizza is made right after you order it. It is set up with a cute patio with lights at the entrance, and inside is a very relaxed setting. The pizza is not expensive at all, and it is very flavorful. They put a lot of cheese on their pizza and the crust is crispy, which is what makes it so good. You choose the toppings you want on the pizza, and they always manage to cook it perfectly. It is a really nice place to go to if you are on a budget, and want really good pizza.

Filippi's Pizza Grotto If for any reason you end up going to San Diego for a visit, you must go to Filippi’s Pizza Grotto in Little Italy. The restaurant has a long history of excellence in traditional Italian cuisine. Filippi’s was first opened as a deli in 1950, and is now notorious for serving fantastic pizza. The restaurant has a unique look. You enter through the deli, and then make your way to the actual restaurant entrance where the host is ready to seat you. Empty wine bottles hang from the ceiling to decorate the restaurant.

The pizza has a delicious thick crust, and what makes it special is that the cheese is melted over the topping. It is a very pleasant surprise to bite into the pizza, and taste perfection. The waiters are very attentive and friendly, even when dealing with the constant busy atmosphere of the restaurant. It is a landmark of pizza history in itself, and a must-go-to place to visit in San Diego.