Baked in L.A., inspired by N.Y.
Here are some of our favorite New York-style pizza places in the Los Angeles area. Regular, whole-pie cheese pizzas were taste-tested -- no Sicilian, no deep-dish (if offered), no goat cheese. Pizzerias that serve only whole pies or accept only cash are noted, as are odd hours.
Here they are, in alphabetical order:
Coop Pizza: There's no seating here -- only a two-person counter at which to stand -- but locals frequent this family-run, tiny neighborhood spot for take-away pies and slices until they run out of dough. (It closes at 9 p.m., 9:30 on weekends.) Cash only. 10006 National Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 837-4462
Damiano Mr. Pizza: The ambience is more sketchy bar than pizzeria and the vegan offerings are alarming, but the pizza has a flavorful, crisp-chewy crust and fragrant sauce, topped with a thin layer of cheese. It all comes together as tasty pie. (It's also open until 6 a.m. -- yes, all night.) 412 N. Fairfax Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 658-7611
Folliero Pizza: At Avenue 56 and Figueroa Street in Highland Park, you can see the pizzaiolo at work through the front window of Folliero. The pizza has a big, bubbly, charmingly misshapen crust, is sauced on the generous side, with plenty of oozy melted cheese. Whole pies only. Cash only. 5566 N. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (323) 254-0505
Il Capriccio Wood Fire Pizzeria: Owner Ermanno Neiviller might categorize the pizza that issues forth from his wood-burning oven as Neapolitan, but the cheese and pepperoni pizzas -- also served by the slice -- sure look and taste New York (thin crust, tangy sauce, Grande cheese). 4518 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 644-9760, www.ilcapricciopizzeria.com
Joe's Pizza: Joe Vitale opened an L.A. outpost of his legendary Greenwich Village slice-ria at the end of '07, and when it first opened Vitale was there slinging dough himself. You can still get a good NYC pie -- a big, thin round of crisp-chewy crust with San Marzano tomato sauce and bubbly cheese. 111 Broadway, Santa Monica, (310) 395-9222, www.joespizza.com
Nicky D's Wood-Fired Pizza: Nick DeMarinis turns out some of the best crust in town, the edges smoky and dark from his wood-burning oven. Topped with fresh tomato sauce made from sweet California tomatoes and rich whole-milk mozzarella, it's a rustic and delicious pie. Whole pies only. 2764 Rowena Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 664-3333, www.nickydspizza.com
Village Pizzeria: With red Formica tables and walls covered in New York memorabilia, Village is insistently old school and often crowded. The slightly charred, chewy crust is the base for a house-made sauce, but not too much of it. If you're looking for a topping, try the house-made meatballs. 131 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 465-5566, www.village
Vito's Pizza: The Di Donato cousins, from outside Naples, make "East Coast pizza -- thin and round," says Antonio Di Donato. Vito Di Donato is behind the scenes making the dough every morning; Antonio is usually the front man at the oven. Very thin and crisp pizza. (It's hard to resist the white pie with fresh mozzarella, drizzled with house-made pesto.) 846 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 652-6859, www.vitopizza.com
-- Miles Clements, Jessica Gelt, Betty Hallock, Rene Lynch and Mary MacVean