Hey Gringos, Chef Ricky D. is back with another restaurant review. This time he takes on Folliero’s, a pizza joint and one of Highland Park’s oldest businesses still in bizness. Check it.
If you’ve lived in the Highland Park area for more than a month you have been to Folliero’s and if you haven’t you’re an idiot. As cliché as it may sound, Folliero’s is a Highland Park institution, serving up fantabulous pizzas for 45 years.
As you know, for fairness’s sake I only review places I’ve been to 3 times or more; I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Folliero’s but it’s way más than 3.
I remember moving to the east side years ago (I’m a born and bred west sider) and Folliero’s was the first restaurant I tried in my new east side home. My east sider buddies all spoke highly of their pizza and it is damn good, that’s why I keep coming back.
On my first visit there I got a large pepperoni pizza. It was huge, cheap and delicious. They make their own dough (I know that should go without saying but you’d be surprised at how many of those trendy pizza spots don’t even bother making their own dough — ah LA). The sauce is tangy with a bit of a kick to it. The cheese is plentiful and they cook it just right so it’s lightly browned, gooey and hot as hell.
The atmosphere is great too. Brick walls and the ovens are right in front in the window. From the sidewalk when you’re waiting on a table, you can see the pizza makers hard at work. The service is prompt and kinda funny actually, some interesting personalities for sure.
On my many visits I’ve tried various toppings and styles of pizza. My favorites are their Margherita, the Hawaiian (nearly flipped out when I first had this; I was pretty stoned and ravenous – really hit da spot), but my fave is still their Bianca, no sauce, with cheese, garlic and rosemary — so simple but so damn tasty.
A couple of tips: order pizzas well done just because their crust is so good when it’s nice and crisp. Also don’t be afraid to throw some mushrooms on your Bianco, they’re fresh and really add a nice flavor. Actually all their toppings are good depending on what you like and they don’t charge an arm and a leg for them. One other thing, their large is large so be ready to have some in the morning for breakfast. For 14 bucks it’s one of the best deals in LA.
They do have other offerings, like pasta and other standard Italian fare. Truth be told I wouldn’t go for the pasta here though it is damn cheap. I never tried it but I rarely eat pasta when I go out anyway, I’m Italian and I know it ain’t gonna be as good as I make it. I did have some of the Chicken Parm and it was surprisingly good, crispy coating, moist chicken and good sauce and cheese ratio. They also have sandwiches and are open for lunch. However, you come to Folliero’s for the pizza; order a pizza you’ll be glad you did.
Oh yeah, they have beer and wine. Bottles of Peroni for cheap and wine by the carafe; it’s like Moonstruck or something.
This place isn’t like some gourmet bullshit, it’s old school, Mom and Pop. It’s been in business since 1968, though not always at this Figueroa location. They originally opened in a space on Monte Vista. You can tell they have their share of regulars and the families love to rock out here. If you want trendy Bottega Louie style assembly line bull shit this ain’t the place for you. Many of these new trendy pizza spots (I’m thinking of you Maximilliano) could learn much from Folliero’s. What they do with a small kitchen and simple ingredients is commendable. Plus every dish they make is made with love and it shows.
If you want a good pizza and some Peroni to wash it down in a laid back atmosphere this is your spot. They’ve been in business for 45 years, so they must be doing something right.
Folliero’s is located at 5566 North Figueroa Street, 90042, call for take out: 323 354-0505, and remember they’re old school so CASH ONLY.
Ricky D. is a chef living in Mt. Washington. He’s worked in established, top restaurants in Venice, Culver City and Atwater Village for the past seven years. He eats non-stop, makes killer patés, and is an LA native.