A study in relaxed bonhomie with great meatballs thrown in, Santa Monica’s well-established nabe fave pizzeria Stella Rossa has recently spawned a new sibling in Hollywood, and both have been rebranded as Stella Barra.
Featuring a handsome, if rustic cantina mash-up of mismatched chairs, brickwork, bare filament light bulbs and pressed tin ceiling tiles (used to great effect as a wall mural), the newbie Hollywood branch also finds space for a 25-seat, cement-topped central bar with seating, plus an area for high stools and tables.
With its accent on market fresh produce, chef-partner Jeff Mahin's menu reads like a delicious romp through the gourmet section at Dean & Deluca, with roasted spring onion agra dolce with sweet gorgonzola, walnut pesto and fig vincotto, while the creamy local burrata comes with a rich roasted tomato jam.
Deft as the starters may be, a pizza house stands or falls on its pies, and the handcrafted dough incorporating locally milled flour at Stella Barra gets the chewy-crispy ratio just right. Choose either red or white as your base, and then watch the toppings come thick and fast, from a rich and smoky Porchetta & Fennel with caciocavallo, parmesan, Calabrian chillies and paprika oil, to our favourite, Bloomsdale Spinach, with crispy purple kale, young pecorino and roast garlic. Stellar Barra!