MidiCi’s Pizza Taste Test

The new Sherman Oaks pizza spot MidiCi’s got off to a brisk opening weekend—serving free pizzas.

The new Sherman Oaks pizza spot MidiCi’s got off to a brisk opening weekend—serving free pizzas to anyone who would queue up for lunch on Saturday. Lines wrapped around the block from noon until about 3 p.m. The fully renovated space is beautiful—a far cry from the cheesy, all-yellow Aahs novelty store it used to house—with ceilings high enough to house a mature live olive tree. With lots of windows, light floods into the space, which offers vaulted ceilings, an open-air kitchen and a curved bar. (MidiCi’s CEO/founder Amit Kleinberger tells us the architect is the same one who designed Gjelina in Venice.)

The concept of MidiCi’s is simple: Neapolitan-style pizza at an affordable price point ($9.50 to $14). Guests queue up and order at the counter. Dough is hand-rolled, topped, put in a 900º stone oven and cooked for a mere 90 seconds.

Our initial taste was of the Pizza Margherita (additional topping of mushrooms added). It was tasty but not cooked enough (the thin crust was a bit chewy and doughy) and cool to the touch. Our second try—the Devil’s Pizza—was piping hot and crazy delicious. With Italian peeled tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, spicy sausage and Italian salami, chilis and sweet basil, it was the perfect combination of hearty and zesty. Crust was bordering on crispy, which we loved.

The eatery offers an appealing selection of salads priced from $7.50 to $9.50. Two people at our table ordered the purple kale salad already marked on the menu as a “best seller.” Not sure how they determined that in less than a week, but the presentation was lovely. The kale looked farm-fresh with vivid colors; it was indisputably appealing.

Diner #1 reported: “The kale was fresh and lemony, but there was too much dressing on it. The top layer wasn’t so soaked, and I really enjoyed it. But then as I got further into the salad, it was just drenched.” 

The second person at our table who ordered the salad requested the balsamic dressing on the side. She reported: “I really liked the cheese and (medjool) date combination. I’m glad I ordered dressing on the side, because you really don’t need much of it. The ricotta in the salad (and there is a fair bit of it) acts almost like a dressing. I enjoyed it.”

MidiCi’s, which serves beer and wine on tap, is aimed (in part) at the younger, late-night crowd. It is open until 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday and until 2 a.m. on weekends. “It is fast-casual fine dining,” says Amit, who adds, “You should see it in here late at night. People come in here on dates and have a quick bite to eat. It is so pretty because at night we have all these lights that twinkle.”

Amit says the plan is to expand MidiCi’s into a chain; he hopes to open 1,000 eateries by the year 2025. (He is also, by the way, the CEO of the Menchie's fro-yo chain).

Although there are a lot of pizza places with damn good pies in the Valley, none can boast an equally pretty atmosphere with such an affordable price point as MidiCi’s. On The Thirty, just a few doors down, has been the pizza “king” of Sherman Oaks for the past couple of years. And the pizzas there are indeed excellent. On The Thirty also has nice ambience, a decent beer and wine selection and terrific cocktails. But pizzas are notably more expensive. Kick back on date night and order a starter salad, pizza and a couple $14-a-glass wines, and dinner for two can easily climb beyond $100. It will be interesting to see what happens with both businesses in the months to come.

14612 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, 818-788-2178, mymidici.com

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