There are three Settebello Pizzeria Napoletanas in the world: one in Salt Lake City, one in Las Vegas, and a brand-new one on Colorado Boulevard, just down the block from Vroman’s and the Laemmle, sandwiched between Tender Greens and Roy’s. It doesn’t exactly sound like a recipe for success—“authentic Napoli-style pizza by way of Utah!”—but Settebello makes a mean pie.
Neapolitans are a bit fussy about the style of pizza that bears their name: thin crust, mozzarella cheese, and San Marzano tomatoes, cooked under high heat in a wood-burning oven, and—are you sitting down?—eaten with a knife and fork. You probably have at least one relative who already eats pizza (and hamburgers, and big deli sandwiches, and…) this way; if you took them to Settebello, they’d probably want to eat with their hands. Which would be totally fine with Settebello’s servers. This is America, after all.
We’ve tried two of their pizzas: the eponymous Settebello, which consists of crushed tomatoes, pancetta, fennel sausage, mushrooms, toasted pine nuts, mozzarella, basil, and extra-virgin olive oil; and the Capricciosa, which has crushed tomatoes, prosciutto cotto, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, olives, and the requisite mozzarella, basil, and olive oil. Both delivered that satisfying clash of textures that more or less makes pizza: mush and crunch. The Settebello did a slightly better job in this regard than the Capricciosa, but any variations in the basic mush/crunch ratio are purely a function of cooking time—a few seconds make a big difference when you’re cooking at 800 degrees. Topping-wise, the Settebello also edged out the Capricciosa, but this is personal preference—I’ve never met a toasted pine nut I didn’t like. On both pizzas, though, all the ingredients played nice together. Even the artichoke hearts, which are usually unaccountably sour when found on pizzas. All the flavors were clean and fresh, never overloaded by grease.
We also had a salad, but can’t recall what was in it. Green stuff and cheese shavings, mostly. It was good. There are various other antipasti on the menu, but they’re pretty standard fare: focaccia, caprese, etcetera. Dessert is similarly, ah, straightforward: tiramisu, cannoli, gelato. The Playhouse District could really use a dessert place.
On opening night, service was attentive but not overbearing. The dining room is slick and open, full of shiny wood, with a marble bar in the center of the room and the bell-shaped pizza oven in the corner. The walls are periodically adorned with murals of Punchinello and other Neapolitan figures. It’s a nice enough room, evocative of Vegas in its glossy, empty openness.
If you’re on a budget, $12 to $14 for what is essentially a personal pizza (you are likely to finish or nearly finish one yourself) might seem steep. Or, it might not. Either way, Settebello is worth the money. You know that perfect bite of pizza you’ve been dreaming of, fresh from the oven, bold on the tongue? You just might find it at Settebello, on the end of your fork.
Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, 625 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 626.765.9550, settebello.net. Pizza. L & D Daily. Full bar. $$