This new-ish eatery on Melrose is called L.O.V.E. Pizza, and let me tell you, we loved everything about our first visit to it. The food being fabulous was actually beside the point; Eadie and I experienced the kind-of evening anyone in hustle-and-bustle L.A. would love!
We had lovely service from Jasmin Puerto, and, in addition to several other neighborhood folks who were in and out all night, the highlight was musicians Ryan and Smitty, from the studio above, who sat near us and played wonderful music all night. (With our blessing; I’m sure others can nix the impromptu entertainment, if they so choose, but Eadie even said, “This is such a laid-back place, you can get up and dance! In fact, I think I will!”) Ryan was on guitar while Smitty did soft raps. They were just great, and nice, too.
I hate getting ahead of myself here, but all these thoughts are just pouring out of my head after this lovely evening at LOVE Pizza. (I forgot what LOVE stands for, but just ask Bobby, who is the very entertaining owner, along with Toktam, his adorable mate. She’s the photographer whose New York pictures, including a fabulous one of my beloved Brooklyn Bridge, adorn the menus. Their stories about all things are wonderful.)
The place itself is super easy and casual, but the food is much more than that of a pizza place. As we sampled each dish, it became my new favorite. There wasn’t a weakness in the bunch. We began with plain cheese pizza, the only way to judge pizza, as far as I’m concerned. Not only did the large look gigantic, but, as Eadie said, “It’s perfect–tasty, thin, and best of all, not greasy. And the large was huge–I’ve seen 18” before, but I was impressed!” (Remember–Eadie’s bon mots, not mine.)
I would have never thought to order a calzone, because they’re usually just a bunch of dough with few ingredients, but Bobby told us that the ones here “come with a warning–they’re addictive.” He just may be correct. The calzone de felipo, stuffed with sausage, bell peppers, mushrooms, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, and onions on request (which we did,) was basically a stand-alone meal. Eadie said that, because it was softer and had more sauce than usual calzones, it reminded her of a chili relleno, (which is something I’ve never eaten, so she’s the only one making the comparison.)
As many of you may know, spaghetti and meatballs is my favorite meal of all time, and this one did not disappoint. I tried it with sausages, too, and I liked them even better than the meatballs!
Speaking of meatballs, Eadie had the deluxe meatball sandwich, which comes with special sauce, and has been raving about it for a week now. [I started this review the second I got home from our LOVE Pizza meal, and have been refining it over the week, for those of you who caught the time shift.] She ate one half hot and the other half cold the next day, and said they were equally delicious.
I went absolutely nuts for the spinach ravioli with an Alfredo-like creamy yet light sauce. Bobby said there’s a choice of ravioli ingredients, of which shrimp is one, but they’re not on the printed menu, which changes every few months, so please ask for anything you’ve read here that you may not see on the actual menu. I have a feeling that the fabulous chef, Felipe Molina, can make anything at anytime!
We were too stuffed to eat the baked ziti when it arrived at the table, so I brought it home to Mr. X, who loved it, along with the left-over pizza and house salad he got to devour, too.
There’s an interesting neighborhood dynamic here, as well; they don’t serve alcohol, but they can recommend tons of bars in the area, if you really need to imbibe a bit. Conversely, those bars don’t serve food, but they order for you from LOVE Pizza! So, you can eat and drink, or drink and eat. It’s a beautiful symbiotic relationship.
You can also do take-out or have delivery, if you live in that ’hood, but if you have time to chill for a bit, I would really recommend spending some time there. LOVE Pizza is a little community unto itself; it’s like a mellow Cheers or something. We left only because we totally exhausted, or else we would have stayed till the 4AM that they stay open until.
7261 Melrose Ave. 323-936-3696 www.pizzawithlove.com