We can find pizza almost anywhere we go and there are lots of styles of pizza – thin crust, thick crust, NY style, Chicago deep dish. But, my favorite of all is Italian style pizza. From the crust that is just crispy enough to the appropriate balance of tomato sauce and cheese, Italian pizza is perfection. Top it off with the individual size of an Italian pizza, it’s a meal.
But finding a proper Italian pizza in the US is not as easy as it sounds. There are lots of good pizza places out there but so many times the crust droops when you pick up the slice or the cheese and tomato sauce are just too much or too little. But, at Desano Pizzeria and Bakery, they are doing it just right.
There are three locations in the US – Los Angeles, Charleston and Nashville. The Los Angeles location is in “East Hollywood” on Santa Monica Blvd just east of the 101 Fwy. If you live in LA, you might be thinking that there isn’t much just east of the 101. True. It’s a lot of warehouses but inside on of those warehouses is where Desano is located.
When you first walk in, it looks like a bakery or deli. The menu is on the back wall with the wine and beer selection on display below. On the front counter are the baked goods and gelato.
We ordered our food and a bottle of wine. There are about a dozen wines to chose from, including half bottles. There are the typical varietals like Chianti and Pinot Grigio but I was excited to see a Refosco, a red wine from the Veneto region. General Manager Marino Monferrato opened up the bottle and handed us two plastic cups. With no dishwasher or ice machine, plastic cups and paper plates are the way to go.
When we walked around the corner into the dining area, we did not expect the large open space with long communal tables and tv screens on the walls. On Wednesday nights, Hell’s Kitchen is playing on the tv because Desano’s GM Marino is the Maitre D’ on the show.
In the back of the room is where the pizza is made – in four huge wood-burning ovens. In front of the ovens, you will see wood for the ovens, large cans of tomatoes and bags of 00 flour stacked on the floor.
And best of all, you can watch the cooks make the pizza, which then go into the ovens and cook in only a few minutes!
The menu is succinct. There are 6 classic and 5 specialty pizzas, as well as 3 calzone and 2 salads. We started with the Margherita D.O.P., made with San Marzano tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil and garlic. This simple pizza is the pizza to judge all other by. If a restaurant can make a good Margherita pizza, then they know how to make pizza. And, Desano knows how to make a good one.
We also tried the Desano with sausage, pepperoni, garlic, buffalo mozzarella which is great for meat pizza lovers. And, if you like a little heat and spice on your pizza, try the Diavola with spicy salame, pepperoni, calabrian peppers and buffalo mozzarella.
Another option is the calzone and this might be the best I have ever had. Typically they are too cheesy and heavy but the Gigiotto with broccoli rabe, sausage and buffalo mozzarella is more like a full pizza that has been folded over.
After filling up on pizza, find a little room for dessert. The Cannoli and Biscotti are housemade and there is also gelato made by a local Italian.
Whether you eat in or take it to go, Desano Pizza will transport you to Italy.
4959 Santa Monica Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90029
115 16th Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
94 Stuart Street
Charleston SC, 29403