Cuisine Scene: Pizza
Maybe you’re looking for thin New York style pizza, best eaten folded, or a light wood-fired authentic Italian masterpiece. Perhaps you prefer a two-inch thick Chicago-style deep-dish, or some out-of-the-pizza-box slices unique to California.
Whatever your preference, the plethora of pizza places in Long Beach serve up exactly what you’re craving in the 562.
The International City offers some of the most authentic Italian food you can find outside of Italy. Zagat-rated Michael’s Pizzeria (5616 E. 2nd St.) is in Long Beach’s own version of Naples, where you can watch gondoliers navigate through the canals. Michael’s dazzles diners with Napoli-style pizza baked in a wood-fired oven at 850-degrees for 90 seconds to achieve the perfect crispiness with a slight char. There’s also a downtown location on the Promenade!
California-style pizza is generally an innovative combination of New York and Italian thin crust with fresh seasonal toppings and customizable healthy options. The chain California Pizza Kitchen, or simply CPK, has made this take on pizza known worldwide. Think hand-tossed culinary boundary pushers like a barbeque chicken pizza, customizable with alternatives like a gluten-free cauliflower crust. Visit them in Long Beach at 61 S. Pine Ave. at The Pike Outlets and 6417 Pacific Coast Highway at The Marketplace.
One of the most established family-owned restaurants in Long Beach is Buono’s Authentic Pizzeria, where the gas-fired brick oven is always glowing at its two locations, 250 W. Ocean Blvd. downtown and 401 W. Willow St. in the Wrigley neighborhood. Since 1973, the pizza parlor has served Italian-American feel-good food to share, piled high with fresh tomatoes, pan-roasted garlic, basil, homemade sauces and other classic ingredients. The crust is the best part since the hand-kneaded dough is still made the old-fashioned way in house.
Gluttons are welcome at The 4th Horseman (121 W. 4th St.), a wicked-fun beer and wine bar just off of Pine Avenue with “apocalyptic pizza.” The slightly macabre pies have names to die for, such as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Buffalo Bill,” with an almost sourdough crust and diabolically spicy add-ons. And while you could order delivery, it’s more fun in person, especially with a visit beyond the dining room to The Dark Art Emporium, which features art and oddities from surrealist paintings to taxidermy.