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When I first read the book "Eat, Pray, Love" in 2010, going to Naples to eat pizza went to the top of my bucket list. I finally made it to Naples in September 2019 and spent two days eating as much pizza as I could, including at the famous L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. The pizza was as good as I imagined and I loved the spongy crust and the perfect balance of tomato and cheese. Luckily, I don't have to go to Naples in order to enjoy the pizza because L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is open in Hollywood and is the Please The Palate pick of the week. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Hollywood is the first U.S. location of the historic pizzeria which opened in Naples in 1870. In Naples, the pizzeria is just that. They serve two pizzas, Margherita and Marinara, and a selection of drinks. The restaurant has two rooms and old photographs are hung on the walls. In the main room, you can see the men making the pizza and the large oven the pizzas cook in. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele in Hollywood is the complete opposite. Located in the old Café Des Artistes, the space is modern, large and bright. After walking through a simple wooden door, you will be blown away by the beauty of the space. A patio is at the front of the restaurant. Inside, just past the hostess stand, is a welcoming lounge area, followed by a long bar and dining area and then the gorgeous garden.
Having lived in Italy many years ago, I know what good pizza tastes like. There is nothing better than a thin crust Italian pizza with the perfect balance of tomato sauce and cheese and a glass of Italian wine. And, I have found that place in Los Angeles at Pizza Romana. Pizza Romana Located on La Brea Boulevard, just south of Melrose in the space formerly known as Cube, Pizza Romana is owned by Alex Palermo. For those who loved the menu at Cube, rest assured that while Palermo changed the concept, those dishes are still on the menu. In addition, they put a large wood fired pizza oven in the center of the restaurant. Pizza Romana Alex Palermo grew up in Wisconsin, the son of a Roman father and American mother, and spent his vacations in Italy. He then attended college in Southern California. Having spent some time working at the La Jolla Pasta Company during summers and having visited Italy, he understood that homemade pasta is something that comes from "home". During his senior year in college, he took an entrepreneurial course. As Contadini was the only "fresh pasta" on the market at the time, he used his summer experience as an idea. He got a pasta machine from another company in San Diego and set it up at a friend's dad's restaurant in Santa Monica. He would work from 11pm to 4am making restaurant quality pasta for retail. Divine Pasta Company was born. His first client was Gelson's Market in 1992 and it grew from there where it can be found at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Costco today.