Burratina Barese – Frisee, Tomatoes, Pesto
Signature Volcano Vesuvio – Salame di Napoli, Fresh Ricotta, Ground Pepper, San Marzano Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Olive Oil
La Vito Signature – Mortadella, Pistachios, Oregano, Stracciatella Cheese
Pizzetta alla Nutella
Taking the award for third best Neapolitan Pizza in the world at Las Vegas’ International Pizza Expo in 2016 and improving on that mark to win second just a few weeks before travel plans led two Las Vegans west, it proved all too fortunate that Prova Pizzeria was located not only in the same neighborhood as plans later that evening, but also near the workplace of a friend with whom they’d just had breakfast, a group of four sitting down just past three-thirty to see if the pies from Chef Vito Iacopelli were as good as rumors suggest.
Located at 8729 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood, a trendy area with somewhat limited parking and several local bars catering to the LGBT community, Prova Pizzeria has now been serving pies since early 2016, opening hours of 12pm Daily ‘Until the Dough Runs Out’ originally seeing the sizable space close earlier than some would have liked but since cooling off, as most restaurants in Los Angeles tend to, the pre-dinner meal seeing only two other patrons present over the course of nearly an hour in the room.
Focusing on wood-ovens, imported Flour and the sort of fresh, natural Produce expected in sunny Southern California, a pile of wood bearing the Italian Flag, old family photos and an odd video montage of the Chef tending to tasks such as baking, eating and working with the cash register all serving as decorations to a space that is far longer than wide, it is from printed menus plus a few chalkboard specials that diners are encouraged to make selections, the choice of Rosse or Bianche comprising the bulk of the options with additional offerings including Gluten-free and Low Glycemic Index Pies.
Not particularly high priced considering the marketplace, the majority of the items ranging $10-15 with only a few exceptions at either end, it was after some debate as to how best to get a good sense of Prova’s product without filling up that the decision was made to invest in four dishes, the Caprese Salad listed as “Burratina Barese” a fresh way to start as a few sliced organic Tomatoes sat atop a bed of Frisee topped with a soft glob of creamy local Burrata tinged in vibrant green Pesto.
Reportedly based on a Century-old recipe brought over from Italy, the hand-crushed San Marzano Tomatoes tinged in herbs and acid with a smoky, leavened crust that bubbles and chars without losing its stretch, it was with two pies served in succession that Chef Iacopelli’s talents were made readily apparent, the double-crusted and sealed Volcano Vesuvio served by a young woman who came running, a huge bubble of dough slowly sinking around a center filled with slices of Italian Salami, Fresh Ricotta and the aromatics of Basil carried aloft by Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Enjoying the fresh breeze coming in from outside, a location at the far-end of a community table in the rustic-chic space offering a sense of dining al fresco without being bombarded by the noise from nearby bars, La Vito Signature arrived next with Prova’s thin and puffy base now paired to Mortadella, Pistachios, and fresh Stracciatella Cheese, the lack of sauce allowing each slice to stand straight in the hand without becoming wet or droopy while the star-shaped Dessert Pizzetta saw the dough perform equally well when folded and piped full of Nutella with additional Hazelnut Spread painting the outsides – the option to add gelato offered for those truly feeling especially indulgent.