• Pitfire Vegan Artisan Pizza: Will somebody pinch me?

    January 17th, 2011mr meanerLA restaurants, pitfire pizza

    I mean… seriously! One of the best pizzerias in LA now stocks vegan cheese and makes it available on all pizzas.

    We vegans are getting so many good options these days! My omni friends have often raved about Pitfire Pizza, A local chain of artisan pizzerias serving top notch ingredients, prepared in that most coveted of pizzeria paraphernalia: A pitfire kiln, able to cook a pizza in searing temperatures over 900 degrees.

    Once you’ve had a pitfire cooked pizza, you’ll not want to go back to the spongy crust of lesser pies!

    With just four locations (North Hollywood, West LA, Downtown and Culver City), Pitfire Pizza seems to have focused on creating a quality product with individuality rather than rushing for scale, and I’m pleased to report that their vegan offerings maintain – and even enhance, an incredibly well thought out menu. Pitfire Pizza ain’t your typical pizzeria, in oh so many good ways. Here you’re dealing with familiar ingredients combined in a novel ways and cooked to perfection. The addition of vegan cheese (in the form of Daiya) elevates the experience for vegans (and health conscious vegetarians/omnivores alike) to something that’s every bit as good as the regular menu, yet 100% cruelty-free.

    The vibe at Pitfire Pizza is decidedly urban chic: The location we visited (West LA) has high ceilings, is decorated with light wood and has a nice combination of intimate booths and family-style dining at huge tables.

    After being briskly seated, we ordered the Pitfire Chicken Salad (made vegan by substituting avocado for chicken):

    Pitfire Chicken Salad (with avocado instead of chicken): Avocado / Wild Argula / Butter Lettuce Torn Croutons / Pickled Currants / Shaved Scallions Toasted Pine Nuts $10.95

    We were blown away with how tasty this dish was. A combination of sweet pickled currants (a first for me) and crunchy pine nuts were a perfect compliment to the crunchy lettuce and crispy croutons. Subbing the avocado for chicken was a great idea (mad props to Donavan for that suggestion – see later).

    We ordered a pizza each for dinner, but could easily have got by on just one to share. The key to great artisan pizza is crispy crust, super sauce and tremendous toppings in perfect harmony – to deliver pizza perfection each has to be just right, and this place knows how to deliver (which, incidentally, they do within a five mile radius).

    Magherita (with vegan cheese): Daiya / Tomato Sauce / California EVOO / Torn Basil $11.50

    First up, we ordered the Margherita Pizza, vegan. This was the most simple of pizzas: Dough, sauce, basil and vegan cheese. After the first bite, we realized immediately that this was different: Artisan pizza, hand-made, is so much better than “normal” pizza: until you’ve had it you have no idea!! The crust was perfectly crispy and chewy, the sauce was tangy yet sweet topped with the perfect amount of Daiya and basil, cooked to perfection.

    Be An Artist with Daiya cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and roasted garlic. $11.95

    Next up, we ordered a build your own pizza (or “Be An Artist” as Pitfire calls it) with Daiya cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, and roasted garlic. Again, this was off the charts – crispy, crispy crust (did I mention that the crust is awesomely crispy?!) with everything on top of it just right. When the pizzas arrived at the table, the first thing we noticed was the smell of crispy crust fresh from the kiln, followed by the fresh Italian aroma of sweet tomatoes, basil and garlic. Oh boy. There’s also a vegan gluten-free crust option (for our gluten-free readers: you know who you are!)

    Due to the fact we were full as barrels after all this food, we didn’t get a chance to try any of the pasta dishes, or the bread sticks (same dough, cooked in the same oven) which arrive with a side of the marinara pizza sauce. We caught a glimpse of both while we were there, and both looked amazing. Just remember to order the bread sticks without cheese, and you’ll be sound as a pound.

    On the drinks front, Pitfire Pizza stocks vintage cane sugar sodas, iced green & black teas, as well as house made lemonade (we had a cucumber and a watermelon lemonade, both of which were excellent). Pitfire Pizza is also apparently quite famous for their sangria, which we didn’t try, but were clearly in the minority as everybody else seemed to be drinking it.

    Also, there are vegan draught and bottled beers as well as wines by the glass (the merlot is vegan, as are all of the beers except Racer 5).

    There’s also a happy hour from 4pm to 7pm every day where beers are only $2.50… so, for $12.50 you can enjoy some wonderful pizza with a glass of cold, vegan beer.

    I can’t think of anywhere else in Los Angeles that has such great pizza with tap beer and at such a good price.

    Frankly, Pitfire Pizza could be the best pizza in LA. You can taste the freshness with every bite, and that crust is to die for. The addition of Daiya as a cheese offering cements this pizza at the top of the tasty vegan food chain.

    Pitfire Pizza
    Check their website for all 4 locations

    We’d also like to give a huge shout out to Donavan who works at Pitfire Pizza in Westwood, and helped get vegan options on the menu. He’s a vegan himself and pushed for the restaurant to carry Daiya cheese, as well as helped educate the staff about veganism.

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31 responses to “Pitfire Vegan Artisan Pizza: Will somebody pinch me?” RSS icon

  • oh, man! i just ordered from them the other night and had i known i would’ve gotten it veganized!

  • Wow, another pizza restaurant offering a vegan/gluten-free crust! That’s great! Wish they had a location in Hollywood; my partner and I would have TWO pizza places to call for delivery if they did! That salad with the avocado substitution looks and sounds delicious, too! Hooray for Pitfire Pizza! Hooray for Donavan! And, MOST OF ALL, hooray for Mr. Meaner and Quarry Girl! : )

  • Awwww yeaaah!!!!! Another vegan pizza place within delivery distance!!!!

  • holy moly that looks incredible. i live close to the noho branch so I’ll check it out one evening this week.

  • BEST NEWS EVER! They were my favorite pizza place before I was vegan and are super close to where I live. The great thing about this too, is that the pizzas are individual size, so I can eat here with my omni bf!

  • YES!!!!! I drive by this place all the time and always look sadly through the windows, wishing there was something I could eat there. I am SO excited!

  • Wow, I used to go to Pit Fire all the time, way back, I think it would have been the late ’90’s in North Hollywood. I think that was the first one.

    I think one of those pizzas is in my future.

  • Gauri Radha गौरी राधा

    That vegan pizza looks delicious!! And so does that avocado salad.

  • OH GOD I know where I’m going tonight…

  • I put in a good word with one of the owners whose an old friend of mine to carry the Daiya vegan cheese, they were so responsive and quick to add it to the menu. Please support these restaurants, they have integrity and want to accommodate us vegans!!

  • Wow! THANKS!!!

    I cannot express how much I appreciate this post… with a shout out and everything.

    BTW I just got confirmation from the winery that we use for the sangria and it is vegan.

    Thanks so much.

  • Donavan, so happy to have you on the inside!! Thank you.

  • Dan @ the Sensitive Baker in Culver City told me today that the gluten-free crust Pitfire is now stocking comes from their bakery and is vegan!

  • Excellent!

  • Wood fire or brick oven is seriously THE best way to cook a pizza.

  • Quarry Girl:
    Last night I ate at the recently opened Hostaria del Piccolo at 6th and Broadway in Santa Monica. They offer a vegan pizza as well, the “BELLASOIA” which is… gluten free dough Tomato sauce, soy cheese, mix mushrooms, caramelized onions.

  • Sounds good!

  • Craziness–I just went to the one in Noho for the first time last week for a work lunch but they definitely didn’t advertise having vegan cheese. I did get a bomb salad tho!

  • probably because they only started serving the vegan cheese on friday 🙂

  • jennifer girsky

    Does anyone know if the Downtown spot is also serving vegan cheese now? This is SO cool, I used to love PitFire before I was vegan!!

  • @jennifer: yep, they have daiya at all 4 locations!

  • Are all their crusts vegan or do you need to specify?

  • Yes our crusts and breads are all vegan.

  • What is the dressing that comes with the chicken-with-avocado-instead-of-chicken salad? Is that also vegan? (Thanks so much for posting this — I’m stoked!)

  • I ate at the NoHo location yesterday for lunch and the pizza was sensational. You’re right about the crust. Spectacular.

    Seriously, this is something special.

  • that pizza looks amazing!!! Cant wait to try it:)

  • Dear Cruzer Pizza, I’ve got nothing but love for you but I met someone new and won’t be seeing you as much! Pitfire has the best vegan pizza in LA by far! This is awesome, thx Qgirl for the hookup! Fresh basil, roasted garlic and kalamata olives! This place is the effin sheeet!!!

  • The dressing is a champagne vinaigrette (with lemon) and it is vegan.

  • So I went to Pitfire yesterday and ordered a vegan cheese pizza with basil and a beer. Total came to over $17!! I guess I wasn’t expecting to spend so much on so little food. Sure, the pizza was good but not worth it in my opinion. I could have gone to Cruzers and got a much bigger pizza for the same amount and had more options to put on my pizza. I’m not trying to be a downer or anything. I think it’s great that more pizza places are offering vegan cheese but if you’re not rich (like me), I recommend going somewhere else like Cruzers so you can get more bang for your buck.

  • I was a fan of Pitfire back when I was eating cheese pizza, so I was excited when they started offering vegan options. I was sorely disappointed however, in the gluten free crust. I ordered the Margherita pizza and it pretty much tasted like cardboard, with glue on top. Daiya is not my favorite vegan cheese to begin with, but it seemed stale or overcooked, in addition to the yucky crust (not to mention the PRICE!). I would give it a second chance with the regular crust, but so far I’m sorry to say that I give it two thumbs down. 🙁

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