When I lived in Mar Vista for 10 years, I hated the fact that there weren’t any cool eateries or bars within walking distance of my hovel near Venice and Centinela. Cut to four years later and now there’s a fancified Alibi Room, Rockenwagner Bakery, the Curious Palate and, most recently, Pitfire Artisan Pizza, which opened last month. Hmm, maybe it’s time for me to move back.
I first became familiar with the gourmet pizza restaurant on my many trips to the Edison downtown as it’s located just around the corner from the bar. And what was impressive about it is that everything is of such high-quality and so fresh, what with its farmer’s market ingredients, artisanal beers and even homemade cookies.
So, yeah, I was so de-lighted to find out that this good pizza joint took over the space of bad pizza joint, Shakey’s, on Washington Boulevard. The new space — designed by Barbara Bestor, the same architect who designed Intelligentsia and wine bar Lou — is spacious and modern. No cushy couches here. Several booths take up the wall of windows looking out at Washington Boulevard and there are a couple of communal tables, a marble counter and plenty of banquettes. Outside, off the parking lot, there’s an outdoor patio that seats 30 diners and features an olive grove and edible garden, featuring tomatoes and herbs.
Seems like all my old neighbors love the restaurant as it’s filled with families in the early evening hours, giving it a real community feel. Kids running around, standing on chairs…staring at me while I eat. That’s why I think I’ll go in the later hours after 8pm when the restaurant is filled with couples on dates and booths of friends drinking wine and beer. And on Thursday and Friday nights there’s a DJ from Venice’s Walnut Avenue Radio spinning some “atmospheric music.”
As for the drinking situation, currently the restaurant sells wine as well as bottled beer, but is looking to install a wall of 6 to 8 kegs where that cute picture of the welcoming alien is currently located.*
I’ve only been a couple of times since this location opened but so far my favorite eats are the farmer’s market plate which always features, you guessed it, fresh produce from the farmer’s market. And I love the spicy Big Sur pizza with wild Gulf shrimp, marinated tomato, lemon zest, roasted garlic and red chile flakes. For dessert, I recommend the off-the-menu pizookie but you should request that they heat up that delicious chocolate chip cookie in their bright red Mugnaini wood-burning oven first. YUMMY!
And the good news is that Pitfire Pizza (all locations) is debuting its new spring specials today!
Seasonal Spring Specials
- Grilled Pineapple & Appalachian Country Ham Pizza ($10.25) grilled pineapple, charred poblano chile, Benton’s country ham, red onion, mozzarella
- Roasted Artichoke Pizza ($9.95) roasted artichoke slices, blistered cherry tomatoes, wilted spinach, black olives
- Sausage and Spring Greens Pizza ($9.95) rennel sausage, arugula, charred scallion, roasted fennel, fresh mozzarella, fresh garlic
- Spring Salad ($9.00) grilled asparagus, roasted pee-wee potatoes, radish, goat cheese, pine nuts, lemon champagne vinaigrette
- Broccoli Rapini Pasta ($8.95) gemelli pasta, pepperonata, rapini ?pesto,” parmesan
- Farmer’s Market Plate ($9.95) chili roasted fennel, roasted rainbow carrots with rosemary and garlic, grilled treviso raddichio with balsamic, grilled asparagus with parmesan
- BBQ Chicken Panini ($8.95) avocado, gouda, colesla with housemade bbq sauce
_* There is now a huge refrigerator covering the alien. That’s where the kegs will be stored.