My next West Coast pizza adventure was the choice of my California pal in his home town of Culver City: a moderately-upscale movie business-centric community in the shadow of Los Angeles. The place was La Rocco’s Pizzeria, a small storefront restaurant in the somewhat swanky renovated downtown dining district.
It was a busy Saturday night and the area was packed. We parked in the free community garage and strolled over to La Rocco’s. At the proper urging of my friend, I avoided my bad habits of jaywalking and crossing at red lights. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker, I guess. But here, they ticket you for stuff like that.
My first tip about La Rocco’s is that when you are walking down Main Street, don’t get confused like I did by Rocco’s Tavern which you pass first—the pizza joint is still a few doors down.
La Rocco’s works from a nice clean and cozy narrow room at the end of the block. There are red and white checkered clothed tables inside and a few spaces to sit out front. We ordered our slices (always on their menu) at the counter in the back where there were an assortment of slices on display including the requisite plain cheese. A slice, salad and soda were the special price of $7.50.
During my short wait, I noticed their sign “Don’t ask for pineapples or chicken ‘because that just ain’t pizza!” A message true to my heart!
My initial observations of the pizza was that it would be good, and it sure was. Everything about it looked right: size, shape and the mix and blend of the ingredients. Tasting it didn’t change my opinion. The Snob meter though didn’t sense pizza perfection, and after devouring my slice faster than you can say Sony Studios, all I could come up with was that the crust was prepared a little too dry.
Otherwise, the La Rocco’s slice was a real beauty and is one I’d eat any day or time of the week. It was a true tasty treat. Good and crisp, there was a nice solid char on the bottom crust. The cheese had a light touch of oil on top, was delish and did not slip off. Seasoning was delicate and not distracting—just the way I like it.
There are some other Italian menu items to discover here as well. I enjoyed both my starter salad and my closing chocolate gelato, both of which were help yourself items out of the fridge in front of the counter.
If you are around, go there by all means. You will enjoy both La Rocco’s and this neat little downtown Culver City district. La Rocco’s have a second location in Westchester. Not knowing where this was, I had a laugh when my phone app said it was only 4.4 miles away, but that it would take an hour and a half to get there! Now that’s LA for you!
PIZZA SNOB RATING **** 1/2 Nearer Perfection
La Rocco’s Pizzeria 3819 Main Street
Culver City, CA 90232