99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Mozza

photo by Anne Fishbein

Culinarily speaking, the southwest corner of Melrose and Highland is one of the most important street corners in the country. Nancy Silverton, along with business partners Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, has built her empire in one collection of adjacent, interlocking buildings — a place you might think of as Los Angeles’ culinary heart. Technically, we’re talking about three separate operations (or four, if you count Mozza2Go), but as a group, Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza and Chi Spacca all exemplify Silverton’s fierce dedication to quality Italian cooking. The pizza at the convivial, packed pizzeria ushered in a new school of California pizza making — a revolution, really — that prizes dough and farmers market–fresh toppings above all else. The osteria remains one of L.A.’s grandest restaurant experiences, chef Matt Molina’s antipasti, pastas and rustic meat dishes showcasing the best of what happens when tradition and talent collide. And the baby of the bunch, Chi Spacca, has provided a platform for young chef Chad Colby to delve deeply into the philosophy of meat, giving Angelenos some of the most stunning charcuterie in the country, as well as mammoth cuts of meat you won’t find elsewhere.

-- Besha Rodell