East Coast-style pizza and Italian near Rancho Cucamonga

Hello All,

We’re transplants from NYC and NJ. I absolutely LOVE California. The people, the beauty, the weather, everything…almost. I’d never move back to NYC or the NJ area. But I sorely miss the food!

Has anyone found a real NYC style pie anywhere near Rancho? I’ve been searching for years and at present, I drive into LA or OC as I can’t find anything here even approaching a decent NY style pie. People unfamiliar with real NY style have told me about San Biaggio’s or Sal’s and all these weird, thick, half the refrigerator dumped on top focaccia-like flatbreads called ‘pizza’ but real NYC style I have yet to find.

Similarly, I haven’t found even one decent Italian place. Unless you love ketchup! Again, there are some awesome ones in LA and OC, Palm Springs too. But I have yet to find something within an hour of Rancho.

PS: Again, in the OC, I found an awesome Chicago style, on par with Giordano’s. What passes for deep dish near me is just fast food. Thanks all.



Welcome to FTC
Rancho = Rancho Santa Margherita?

Oops. My apologies! Rancho Cucamonga. This area tends to be dominated by large chains and fast food.

It’s very beautiful. My friends back home drool over pictures I’ve sent of the staggering, snowcapped peaks over the groves of palms. There’s not a day that passes where we’re not grateful to wake up here.

Also, I don’t think at my age (65) I could endure the pace and intensity of living in NYC again. But that congestion and intensity imposes such fierce competition, it’s difficult for mediocrity to survive. At least with restaurants.

We have found many spectacular Mexican and Asian places here. Some I think, the people back in NJ would be shocked how good these cuisines can be. But we’ve struck out insofar as pizza and Italian food are concerned.

IMO the only great NYC pies we’ve found were at Folliero’s in LA (best so far) and Mamma D’s in Newport (I think?) and a couple in Palm Springs as well. In Rancho Cucamonga and nearby, it’s either been flatbreads drowned in sauce and buried in toppings or what seems to literally be frozen pizza. Chicago style is almost non-existent. None exist here but one in Placentia, Tony’s Little Italy is top shelf easily rivaling Giordano’s and Gino’s themselves.

As you can see, that’s a 2-3 hour round trip for pizza! :rofl:

So, I was hoping I’m missing something! Thank you all for the warm welcome!

1 Like

Welcome to California. I’m a native NYer from Queens whose been living in California for the last 20+ years. The last 12 in Brea. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but it’s very difficult to find NY style quality pizza or great Italian food near where we live.

I think your best bet for pizza would be trying downtown LA for Prime Pizza in Little Tokyo. If you go on the weekends right at opening I think you might be able to get there in under 75 mins. Bianco Pizzeria in DTLA is excellent but it’s NY ish and not the same as a slice on white paper plate. Prime Pizza fits that bill though. Other good pizza places closer are Fuoco In Fullerton. Fuoco is Neopolitan but delicious. Folks Pizzeria in Costa Mesa is Mozza style but wonderful. There is generally a decent wait especially in the weekend but there are breweries and wine shops literally next door.

We’ve had a very difficult time finding good Italian anywhere in the OC. Most times I end up cooking pasta at home because it’s better and cheaper. We’re going to Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach. They have 3-4 pasta dishes that are excellent. Osteria Mozza their sister restaurant is what you want but unfortunately a very long drive to LA. La Tavolata in Cerritos is a lovely mom and pop type of Italian joint with home made pasta. We’ve been a few times but I’m not sure I’d make that drive from Rancho.

In Upland there is a Claro’s for your Italian deli fix.

Good luck. Hopefully you find some hidden gems maybe in Claremont near campus.


if you’re in or near la, danny boy’s and secret pizza are good, both are transplants from the nyc/nj. but i wouldn’t say they’re worth an hour+ drive from where you’re at.

danny boy’s



Yeah… Within an hour of RC with how traffic is nowadays? I recommend a weekend trip on the Metrolink to Danny Boys. They are open Saturdays.

Otherwise, there are plenty of flights to NYC/NJ out of Ontario. Hubs and I go to Boston every year, sometimes twice for the very same reason… We enjoy every bite we have here… and then back home for those tastes that are missed…


It’s not NY-style, but the pizza at La Volata in Redlands is very good.


Prince St too if OP wants a NYC export.


In general I think you’ll be disappointed if you try to chase East coast Italian food out here. Not to get too definitional, but are you looking for something like Rao’s or Parm or Arthur Avenue in the Bronx? There’s great italian food out here, as many mentioned, but it’s aping Italy more than Little Italy.

But places for you to research: in addition to Prime, Danny Boy’s, Secret Pizza, and Prince St, maybe Side Pie or Urbn Pizza (New Haven) will satisfy your quest. Ozzy’s New Haven in LA, though I haven’t tried, and also Apollonia’s.

Assuming more red sauce Italian, you could check out Sunday Gravy, La Pergoletta, Dan Tana’s, Pasta Sisters, Nothin But Cutlets.


You know the situation is dire when one of the recs is, “Maybe just fly…?” :grinning: and :grimacing:

To @dasaltemelosguy: welcome!


Well for us, we have regular access to places like Danny Boys and Sunday Gravy… But you want a really nice big house in RC for half of what it would cost in L.A. or N.J… ya makes some concessions…


Wow! What a welcome! Thank you all for so many thoughtful responses!

I can see you guys know exactly what I mean as well. To be honest, I approached this question with a good deal of trepidation as I once asked a similar question on yelp and the responses that varied from “Try Round Table” to “Go back to NY”!

I can say with reasonable confidence I’m going to try all of the recommendations here…flying back for pizza being the one possible exception! :rofl:

(Although I once drove from NJ to Chicago to try Giordano’s so I’m not ruling flying out!)

I am guilty of some variations on even this theme as I have driven 3 hours to Spirito’s in Carlsbad for takeout. Indeed, they are a NJ classic. I doubt few who grew up in the NJ/NY area didn’t know about Spirito’s in Elizabeth NJ. I’m 65 and my parents would take us there when we were kids! When they relocated to Carlsbad it was the only vehicle that we were aware of to get such a thing at all. A classic, NY style cooked down sauce, ‘brewing’ all night for serving the following day.

Although now I’m seeing there’s hope for more!

In all candor, I knew of none of your recommendations, so this is very exciting. I think that picture you’ve posted from Danny’s says volumes. You can ‘see’ it.

Thus far, around here, I’ve only seen perfectly ‘manufactured’ (I.E., too round to be homemade) pies that were little different than frozen supermarket pies or things like this, whatever this is supposed to be:

I don’t know what that is but it’s not pizza!

My longest pilgrimages so far have been to the above mentioned Spirito’s in Carlsbad and a trek to what might be described as: *“A 3-hour drive, to the 2nd location, of the world’s 1st pizzeria” in Los Angeles, * L’antica Pizzeria da Michele. Neapolitan of course.

As it turns out, the original in Naples was featured in the film, “Eat, Pray, Love”. But there’s some contention over which pizzeria is actually the world’s oldest as a claim to “first” belongs to another, “Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba”. Apparently these two pizzerias dispute who was first as the latter was closed for some 80 years and reopened and the former has been open continuously for some 150 years so I’ll leave that argument to them! But nonetheless, the allure of trying a pizzeria which adheres to the VAR code (Vera Pizza Napoletana) was simply too great a temptation.

But yes, I had since learned that Fuoco in Fullerton does indeed adhere to the VPN and as you said, it’s top shelf Neapolitan which is just wonderful to be sure.

Paradoxically, although we’ve so far done poorly seeking NY style, we have found Chicago quality deep dish in Placentia, Tony’s Little Italy, which is so well executed, IMO it apologizes to none, even in Chicago itself. Easily on par with Ginos, Giordano’s or even Lou Malnatti’s.

But prior to this post, I had given up on NY style. Not to compare with flying to NY for pizza, we do regularly order pies from NY via Goldbelly. A bit expensive and of course frozen, but it provides a vehicle for classics like Joe’s in The Village, or Roberta’s or DeFara’s in Brooklyn.

And I fully agree. If you’re not up to a long drive, mail order, have little time, or are a ‘burn water cook’ like me, Rao’s is the way to go (I worked in the city for some 20 years and was never successful in getting a seat in Rao’s!)!

I can’t thank you all enough for this wonderful plethora of suggestions. I knew of next to none of these. I guess I better get gas in my car! :rofl:


Not a New Yorker, but I dont think youll find good examples in OC. There was one in business for over 10 years in RSM near the town center that i thought was good but they were replaced by some other pizza place thats not as good. Overall i havent found good places. OC does very good naples style though.

In Costa Mesa, theres Folks Pizzeria which is their own style, but Steve Dolinsky commented that it was the best pizza in southern California.

have you tried Il Sole La Nuova, i thought it was decent italian american. They had a warm salad that i thought was exceptional. The entrees okay, but it might be good enough to satisfy your craving.


The LA one hasn’t gotten a ton of love here. I think the current board favorite for Neapolitan-style is Pizzeria Sei.


I’ve been wanting to try out Pie Trap Pizza in Covina after reading this post from @A5KOBE