Sunday, May 27, 2012

800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizza: Hot Spot for Good Reason

Adam Fleischman, mastermind behind the fast-growing Umami empire, has a perfect recipe for success in portfolio diversifying 800 Degrees: a restaurant that combines a quick service concept (assembly line style), with fresh and tasty ingredients, mass customization in a rugged individualist increasingly personalization-crazed culture, and given its offerings - the perfect location right by UCLA (what budget conscious college student doesn't love pizza + alcohol in an affordably hip space?)

The assembly-line customization concept has been compared by many to Chipotle - but while that comparison is apt with respect to unexpectedly high quality and some amount of customization - Subway would be a better comparison in terms of format (quality is obviously much higher at 800 Degrees).  You go through a line, starting with a bread/pizza dough, then pick your fill/toppings from an 'open bar' of sorts. At 800 Degrees you can start with a basic plain pizza starting from $5.15 (marinara), then build on that by taking your pick of more than two dozen toppings at $1 each.

800 Degrees uses fresh produce, mozzarella and even slices their own meats - a machine is on display at the far end of the queue.
While you are in line to pay, the pizza has gone into the namesake wood-fired oven (high heat at 800 Degrees so your pizza cooks in about a minute!).  By the time you've selected your drink (beer, wine, and soft drinks at the sleek soda fountain or originally sounding bottled drinks from pineapple soda to Ramune, that Japanese soda with a marble in it), and finished paying for your meal, your pizza is ready to go and you can take it to the nearest open table in the self-service seating area!
Aside from the create-your-own pizzas, 800 Degrees also has a few classic pre-packaged combos on the menu - as I was starving, and I guess quite predictably, I went for the Tartufo ($11.65) with truffle cheese, roasted mushrooms, caramelized garlic, arugula. The interesting thing about this pizza is that there is no tomato, and they use huge chunks of caramelized garlic that are incredibly soft - melt in your mouth like the ones they make for the "Bagna Calda" at The Stinking Rose, but much sweeter.  And you'd expect that pungent garlic to overwhelm everything else - but the truffle cheese shines through, very fragrant and the arugula is added after the pie is pulled out of the oven, so that it's still nice and fresh, great texture to counterbalance the melted toppings underneath.  And the crust?  Beautifully crisped outside, soft, warm and yieldy on the inside - with a lovely smoky char.  Is it the best pizza I've ever had? No but it's possibly the best for that price and speed of service. And it fed two averaged sized asian girls - dorkyfoodie and I that night.

Aside from pizza, 800 Degrees also offers some very affordable (burrata) salads and tasty side dishes. Dorkyfoodie got a side of Broccolini ($5) roasted with garlic, Calabrian chiles and olive oil. Roasted in that beautiful wood-fired oven for a deliciously intoxicating smokiness. It was actually a huge serving for the price - and again very fresh tasting and flavorful.

All in all, 800 Degrees is turning the heat up on good eats in Westwood - the lucky students at UCLA (and those who work/ live / attend events in the area) are no longer relegated to the 'utilitarian', quantity over quality, eat-to-live restaurant chains - in that mid-tier price point anyway - of yesteryear. 

Next time I have occasion to be back in Westwood, and am armed with patience to find parking, will be back to 800 Degrees for the affordable, quality quick pizza!!

800 Degrees Pizza
10889 Lindbrook Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90024
Ph: 424.239.5010
Parking: Limited street meters on Lindbrook


800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


  1. YUM that pizza was so good, and you'll never find a truffle pizza anywhere for that price! YOU DIDN'T BLOG ABOUT SAFFRON AND ROSE THOUGH.

  2. Haha I decided to give Saffron & Rose its own post! Coming soon ;)

  3. I've surfed the net more than three hours today, and your blog was the coolest of all. Thanks a lot, it is really useful to me



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