Hostaria del Piccolo, the second restaurant from the chef/owners/managers of Piccolo Venice, is a modern, noisy and informal place with some of the very best artisanal pizza in the LA area. It rivals Gjelina, in Venice, for the honor of making the best pizzas in LA.
Hostaria, which opened late in 2010 in a brand new mixed-use building on the edge of downtown Santa Monica, is very modern and informal, tending to the noisy. Even the little bar tucked in the corner seems to invite a younger party-ready crowd. But its menu attracts all ages interested in its limited menu of pizzas and some unusual Italian dishes made with top-notch ingredients.
Most of the antipasti and some of the entrees are designed to be cooked in the wood fire oven alongside the pizzas. And there are some interesting offerings not seen on every other Italian restaurant menu, like baked baby back ribs, roasted wild boar sausage, or grilled Montasio cheese.
Pizzas, all hand-made, are divided into three categories – those with or without tomato sauce and calzones. Some pizzas are made with a special flour mix specially created for the gluten-intolerant and composed of kamut, soy, and garbanzo. The traditional pizza dough is some of the crunchiest, chewiest, most irresistible ever created.
The restaurant gets packed so it would be smart to make a reservation for weekend dining. It’s also open for lunch.