Ghisallo – Santa Monica

The residents of Ocean Park are lucky. When Bruce Horwitz and Mark Meyuhas decided to open a neighborhood pizza place in Santa Monica, they hired Chef David Rodriguez, who worked at Pizzana, to oversee the kichen of Ghisallo. No cheap greasy pizzas here. Instead, you’ll find wood-fired pizzas, pasta, salads and more at this Italian restaurant. While there’s a $35 New York steak frites on the menu, one can easily dine here on a hefty slice of margherita pizza for $4.50.

Rodriguez flexes his skills with his fermented-crust pizzas, right down to the blistered crusts. The Funghi & Truffle ($22) melded parmigiano crema, fontina d’aosta, ricotta, caramelized onions and mushrooms, on top of a thin, but sturdy, crust. It was so good, that I didn’t mind that it was meatless. The pizzas are individual-size, or could be split between two for a light meal.

For those who prefer a simpler pizza (like my daughter who only likes cheese on top), Ghisallo has a few New York-style pizzas, sold by the slice. Two generous slices of the Margherita were about the same size as the Funghi & Truffle, but at half the price ($9.00 for the two slices). The crust is super chewy; I ate two crusts, and my mouth got quite a workout. Between the two, I definitely prefer the Funghi & Truffle – well worth the extra expense.

Ghisallo shares the space with Jyan Isaac Bread, which supplies the bread for their sandwiches (which demand a return visit). If you can’t eat gluten, there are several salads and some small plates (prosciutto & persimmon, prawns and ribs), along with that aforementioned steak.

I ordered takeout online, but they do have dine-in – you order at the counter and can choose to either sit outdoors out front or in the back patio, perfect for the pandemic era. Should you find yourself in the quaint neighborhood of Ocean Park, Ghisallo definitely is worth a visit.

Location –  1622 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405
Website –
Kid’s Menu – Yes
Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan/Gluten-Free Options –Yes, though no gluten-free pizzas or pastas.

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