The Arb Pizza Cafe: A Little Bit of Brooklyn in Studio City

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The Arb Pizza Cafe is located in the heart of Studio City.

The Arb Pizza Cafe is located in the heart of Studio City.

Erinn EichingerTEXT AND PHOTOS BY ERINN EICHINGER

Pizza aficionados abound – in life and on the web.  You’ve got your thin crust lovers, your Chicago deep dish fans, your New York style aficionados, stuffed crust, Neapolitan, round pizza, square pizza – I could go on.    I’m not here to throw my hat into the ring of pizza experts by any means.  I just know when something tastes good, and the pizza, paninis and salads at the Arb Pizza Café in Studio City do just that – they taste good.

On a lazy Saturday afternoon we wandered into The Arb and were greeted warmly.  We grabbed a table – there are about four inside and three outside on the side walk – and checked out the menu, it’s small, offering 10 pizzas, five salads and about four panini and cold sandwiches to choose from.  I am a fan of smaller menus, I always feel like if you don’t try to do too much, you’re more likely to do the few things you do make, well.

The namesake pizza, "The Arb," is Brooklyn style with a thin crust.

The namesake pizza, "The Arb," is Brooklyn style with a thin crust.

We went for their namesake pizza “The Arb” ($16.99 for an 18 incher) which says it’s Brooklyn Style.  Like I said, no claim to superior pizza knowledge here, so I wasn’t even sure what we were gonna get. What arrived was a fresh out of the oven, thin crust pizza, with a conservative amount of tomato sauce, bubbling with gooey cheese.  It was simple yet damn tasty.  I learned from the guy behind the counter, who I found out later is Andrew Compton, the owner’s dad, that this is their basic pizza which several of their others pizzas are built upon.   Next time I’m gonna try the Parma which is prepared with mozzarella, arugula, parmagiano and prosciutto, sans tomato sauce.

The Primavera Salad  is a heaping portion of Arugula, topped with grilled eggplant, roasted peppers and goat cheese.

The Primavera Salad is a heaping portion of Arugula, topped with grilled eggplant, roasted peppers and goat cheese.

The Primavera Salad ($7.99) was a heaping portion of Arugula, topped with grilled eggplant, roasted peppers and goat cheese.  It was tossed with a mild vinaigrette that didn’t detract from the peppery arugula or the deep flavors of the roasted vegetables.

We were in a serious quandary over whether to try a panini or one of their cold sandwiches.  That’s when the chef working in the open kitchen just behind the counter,  offered to make us one of his favorite cold sandwiches – the Roast Beef and Swiss ($8.99)  – panini style.  That chef turned out to be Matthew Compton the owner.  He was working the kitchen, the phone and the counter with his dad and it was easy to tell by his focused yet friendly attitude that this place means a lot to him.  He served us the sandwich himself and we all thought the roast beef was tender and the addition of caramelized onions, delicious.

The Roast Beef and Swiss Panini is prepared with carmelized onions.

The Roast Beef and Swiss Panini is prepared with carmelized onions.

There are no plans in the near future to get a liquor license so your only beverage options at this point are of the non-alcoholic variety.  Parking in front is limited but there are spots in the back (just enter the driveway at Teru Sushi, tell the valet you are going to The Arb and drive on back) and they do deliver.

One of the best parts about this place is that it’s a truly family run joint.  In this age of impersonal service and huge chains cranking out mediocre food, there is something refreshing, charming and cool about walking into a place and being greeted by, cooked for, and served by the owners.  Add to that equation some simple, fresh and delicious food and you’ve got a winning combination on your hands.

Arb Pizza Café 11946 Ventura Blvd.  Studio City 91604 (818) 358.2233  Mon-Wed 11 am – 10 pm Thurs – Sat 11 am – 2 am (closed Sundays)

Erinn Eichinger is a lifestyle writer for print and television who’s worked and lived in the Valley for close to 20 years. She was a contributing writer for Sun Community Newspapers, as well as Fox News, KCBS News, Food Network, Discovery Health, A&E, Fine Living and The History Channel. You can check out more of her writing at www.Sundaydish.typepad.com

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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