So, what is Brazilian pizza? If Bella Vista Brazilian Pizza is a good representation, then it is a thin crispy crust with delicate, but a piecemeal collection of toppings. Bella Vista is an homage to the Bexiga neighborhood —AKA the “Little Italy” of São Paulo, Brazil— one of the biggest hubs of Italian culture outside of Italy. I invited the Serious Eats LA MeetUp group to this little spot. Though it doesn’t sound like a particularly excellent example of pizza, the abundance positive reviews intrigue.
We asked the waitress to bring us the “most Brazilian” of their pizza offerings which turned out to the the Frango Com Catupiry Pizza: a pale mix of shredded chicken, catupiry (a creamy Brazilian cheese) and sweet corn. I did my best to pick around the chicken to get a taste of Brazilian pie… eh… it’s like cream cheese and corn. Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it?
After the Frango Com Catupiry we began ordering half pies sliced into 8 equal slivers.
The pizza I was most interested in watching other people eat was the Stroganoff. Having nothing to do with vegetarianism, Beef Stroganoff is completely outside my food experience. Growing up, my parents would NEVER cook anything that could possibly be made with condensed Campbell soup, so I’ve never tired it and plan to keep it that way. Nonetheless, I ordered the pie to see what others think, plus it’s covered in cute little fried potatoes sticks, akin to those French’s Fried Onions (another thing I’ve never tried before). Everyone* ate** it!
The other half of the pie held the Lombinho Defumado: Canadian bacon, mozzarella, onions and green olives. An extremely onion heavy salty experience in thin crust pizza.
Everyone*** knows by now I always order the Margherita, the baseline pizza to judge a kitchen by. This Margherita is a classic example of meritocracy. An untraditional concoction of bland —but crisp—crust, with aged mozzarella directly applied on top. Just below the outer crust belt, a ring of fresh tomatoes and basil acts more like decoration then topping.
On the other half of the pie we order the Light Pizza, mostly because I wanted to see how heart of palm and green peas worked on pizza. Answer: bland. The toppings may have well come out of a can. The mozzarella base also held olives and corn, which added a little something to the pie, but not much.
The Carne Seca Pizza was the most artisan of all the pies. A mix of dry beef, leeks and black olives on a bed of aged mozzarella which went over pretty well with the group, but still failed to impress anyone. It’s at this point I realize none of these pizza have sauce; this place really is all about the toppings.
There was one pizza that stood out —maybe I’m making a bigger deal of it since I order this “vegetarian option”— but it garnered the most votes as favorite pie at the end of the meal. The Berinjela is topped with the smoky air of still moist grilled eggplant and mozzarella dusted with dried herbs. But the best pie of the meal was the Abobrinha Ao Pesto. Thick slices of fresh zucchini are arranged under lacy parmesan on a bed of herby pesto sauce—completely making up for the subpar crust.
***Everyone being my one friend Tina
Bella Vista Brazilian Gourmet Pizza
10826 Venice Blvd Ste 110
Culver City, CA 90232