#72 Michael's, Los Angeles (Margherita D.O.P.)
There was a stir not long ago, when a few months after Zagat released its unranked survey of its 16 highest nationally rated pizzerias (a tallied score that combines food, décor, service, and price), that Michael’s Pizzeria in Long Beach was being bandied about in conversations about America’s best pizza. You can’t fault Michael Dene, the Brooklyn-born businessman whose parents hailed from Naples, for trying to capitalize on the publicity. And you’ll want to give a nod of approval to Dene for his aspirations to serve a "paper-thin crust whose edges bubbled up into soft, crisp pockets of salty air," and a "sauce so flavorful it could stand as a topping all on its own and cheese so fresh it simply had to be made by hand each morning." But claims that Michael’s (founded in 2010) is top in the U.S. may have been a bit premature (though it seems he's ready to take on all comers). If you want to see for yourself, try the Margherita D.O.P (tomato, house-made mozzarella, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil).