Stella Rossa Pizza Bar is another entry into the crowded “gourmet” pizza pool of Los Angeles, one that doesn’t look like it’ll stop growing anytime soon. I had heard and read some great things about the place, and had wanted to try it for quite some time. So Ben and I decided to head over at around 8pm on a Friday night last month. I made a huge mistake…
The mistake wasn’t going to the place; it was me being ignorant about how busy a popular restaurant in Santa Monica would be during prime hours on a Friday night. I count at least three fails right there. When we arrived, we were told that the waiting time for a two-top would be around an hour and fifteen minutes. The huge bar was available for the taking, but still looked daunting as far as securing a stool was concerned. So I told the lovely hostesses (FYI: they were really hot) that I’ll just order to-go, to which they referred me to the M Street Kitchen to-go counter, located between the two restaurants (to the left when you enter Stella Rossa).
I ordered two pizzas, a red one and a white one, as well as an appetizer. The order took some time (20+ minutes), but ended up being worth it. The appetizer, the burrata with grilled grapes, was great. It looked like a pile of bird crap in the box after the travel time, but the burrata was creamy and delicious. The grilled grapes really worked with it too, to my slight surprise (grilled grapes? didn’t think of that). The red pizza, with the housemade Italian sausage, was good. Quite standard really, but tasted like what a sausage pizza with tomato sauce should taste like. And damn, that crust was thin!
Meanwhile, the white pizza with the mushrooms was just freakin’ amazing. When I opened the box, the aroma of this pizza almost made me drool. And the taste of the pizza was able to eclipse the amazing smell. Everything on that pizza just got along so well, and it made me sad that I wasn’t able to try this while it was piping hot. In the end, that was what holds me back from showering the pizzas with even more praise. I can only judge by what I had in front of me, and what I had was some delicious pizzas at slightly above room temperature. That’s my fault, really, but it just means I have to go back soon.
Fresh Local Burrata ($10.95) – fresh burrata, toasted pistachio, aged balsamic, wild arugula
Shaved Mushroom ($13.95) – gruyere, melted onions, black truffles, torn parsley, rosemary, thyme
Housemade Organic Italian Sausage ($14.95) – tomato, fresh mozzarella, hand-picked oregano, fennel pollen
Chris Hei grade: B+
Stella Rossa Pizza Bar
2000 Main St
Santa Monica, CA 90405