Once again, I’m on a health kick: low carb, high protein, reduced fat. So naturally I wound up at a pizza place. To be fair, I was invited for a media-comped lunch at Settebello, the regional pizza chain that boasts pies that are VPN certified. What’s VPN, you ask? Well, it has nothing to do with Virtual Private Networks. VPN, when it comes to pizza, stands for Vera Pizza Napoletana — which basically means that the ingredients, the ovens, and the processes are up to Naples’ approval. It’s like being kosher for pizza.

Well, who am I to deny pizza, let alone CERTIFIED pizza? So off I trekked to Settebello on Cinco De Mayo (I enjoy playing against type on international holidays). Pictures of the pizza party after the jump…

In honor of cinco de mayo, I ordered this cocktail whose name I forget. It was the closest thing on the menu to a margarita in that it had tequila. I believe grapefruit juice was involved too. It was good, if not a tad sweet. No biggie.

As a starter, we gorged on a lovely caprese salad. What’s there to say? It’s one of the simplest salads out there. Can’t really mess it up! Read about it in Simple Salad Quarterly.

The first pizza, also known as The Settebello: crushed tomatoes, pancetta, sausage, mushrooms, etc etc. Very tasty.

And now our second pizza, the Vico. This one came with sausage, fennel, red onions, marscapone, and mozzarella, among other things. I liked both pizzas, but this was my fave, even despite that giant ring of crust.

A word about these pizzas though.

Upon ordering, the waitressed warned us that the pizzas at Settebello are intentionally soft in the center. In fact, she brought it up a few times. And for good reason. To say these pizzas were soft would be an understatement. I’ve eaten pita bread that’s been firmer than this pizza.

Not a complaint though!

Sure, I enjoy my crispy pizza crust as much as anyone, but if soft is the restaurant’s intention, I have problems with that. You see, the reason for this soft dough has much to do with how the pizza is supposed to be consumed. It’s not meant to be sliced (it was in this case so we could share). Apparently in the classic Naples style, the pizza is supposed to be served whole, and the eater is intended to fold the pie in half, then in half again. And then in half AGAIN. If anything, the final result should appear like a calzone.

Needless to say, I didn’t eat the pizza in this fashion; although, now I’m very curious to give it a whirl. And so while the super soft pizza was a bit cumbersome to eat with fork and knife (or, if not cumbersome, perhaps less fun), the truth is that the flavors were all there, and it was a perfectly lovely pizza experience, if not traditionally American.

Oh, and there was dessert:

Some sort of ice cream ball with a caramel center and chocolate shell yada yada yada. Just get it.

Worth shlepping to Pasadena or Marina Del Rey? Probably not. But if you’re in the neighborhood, Settebello makes for a perfectly fine pizza experience.

13455 Maxella Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90292
(310) 306-8204

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