Will crawl out onto a limb and just say: “no”. Caveat emptor: Tomato Pie is still foreign to these pages, as is Luggage Room, Nicky D’s, etc. However, between Sotto, Mother Dough, Garage and Pizzanista, Settebello is kicking thin-crust ass in a serious way.
Is it better than Stella Rossa? It lacks the initial crunch and there are major complaints of soggy center. The toppings at Stella Rossa also show serious thought and care in the products procurement process. Is it better than Olio? Same oppositions apply again. To be even more detailed, think of Settebello as the pizza child of Mother Dough and Stella Rossa — being the third branch of a bourgeoning empire, it’s a bit corporate ala Stella Rossa. However, it’s VPN, and the search for “authenticity” is unrivaled in LA, except by Mother Dough.
So why not Mother Dough, then? Well… Settebello isn’t trying to preach via placemats. The servers know dick squat about actually making pizza, and most of ’em probably haven’t eaten any Neapolitan pies outside of Settebello (This is purported true with one of the servers to the neighboring tables). But hey, they’re nice enough to admit this, and they’re actually there to A) be servile and make your meal nice, B) make a living. Even the old Italian patrons looked pass the pizza naivete to tip generously.
Beyond the service, Settebello’s pizza stands on its own: Caputo 00 is stacked by the kitchen door, buffala Mozzarella is hyped on the menu, San Marzano is judiciously used on the pizza, the large wood burning brick oven juts into the main room and obliterates the space for a handful of seats. The end result is a properly bubbling crust sporting badass carbony char with a sparse freckling pie bottom. The center? Not a big ass soggy train wreck of moist dough and watery crushed tomatoes ala Mother Dough. Some may complain about the sweet tomatoes, but again, the red layer is on par with Olio, and doesn’t overwhelm the toppings. Due to the lower quality toppings (cotto prosciutto instead of parma, mozzarella that’s rather bland), all the attention is focused on the pie dough. The chewy crust carries abundant moisture, but the thin crust isn’t offensively flaccid (J.A.C – I await your comments on flaccidity via Twitter) as Eatalian / Mother Dough. If picked up immediately, a slice (yes, they do slice upon request) is actually foldable. It’s the closest to Italy Pasadena will get this year, even if the Margherita isn’t available with anchovies.
Pricing here is reasonable: 12-13″ hand formed pies (same size as MD), with a few toppings, $12-$13. A loaded pizza doesn’t break $14 unless bufalo mozzarella is demanded. Just don’t get anything else. Not the faux micro-brewed Italian beer, not the boring arugula salad, nothing. Order Orangina, Neapolitana pie, GTFO. In fact, they only give you an hour of parking validation, which coincides with my personal capacity for anything Pasadena.
625 E Colorado
Pasadena, CA 91101