Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana – Monterey Park

Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana wins the award for being the biggest dining letdown in recent memory. After reading lots of good press from very trusty sources, The Astronomer, my mom, and I headed here for a weeknight dinner. The restaurant was impressively crowded for a Monday night, but we managed to snag a table for four in the main dining area. Things started going downhill rapidly from there.

Dinner started off with complimentary scraps of old pizza dough painted with pesto and sprinkled with prefabbed shredded Parmesan cheese. The cheese was tasteless, while the pesto was crusty. Sad and stale nibbles are a horrible way to greet hungry customers.

For our appetizer, we were hoping to dig into a fresh green bean salad with cherry tomatoes, maichẽ, crispy bacon, orange segments, and whole grain mustard vinaigrette, but our waiter informed us that the salad was not available this evening. Down, but not out, we placed a different order for fire-roasted stuffed mushrooms. Once again, we were apologetically told that the item was not on offer. On our third try, we finally managed to choose an appetizer that was actually in stock. Imagine that!

The arugula salad ($8) that arrived at our table was a shadow of the menu’s description. Instead of receiving “arugula greens with fresh corn, smoked bacon, sautéed mushrooms, teardrop tomatoes, goat cheese, and red wine vinaigrette,” we were served a pile of baby spinach topped with sliced button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, a smattering of goat cheese crumbles, sliced red onions, and a balsamic vinaigrette. I kind of felt like Angelina Jolie’s frustrated-to-the-max character in The Changeling. “That is not my salad!”

Things got a little better once the entrees arrived. My mom was happy with her penne with sausage and peppers ($12). The portion of sweet fennel sausage and fresh herbs was on the skimpy side, but after the appetizer debacle, I was pleased enough that the pasta was available and resembled its menu description.

The Astronomer and I split a large order of the The Sardinia pizza ($15), which came topped with tomato sauce, olive oil, anchovy, capers, onions, olives, tomatoes, mozzarella, and black pepper. The menu’s description also noted calamari, but none were to be found on our pie. Sigh. The pizza tasted better the next morning once the bitter taste of the Bollini’s restaurant experience had faded.

The problem with Bollini’s isn’t the food, it’s the lack of food. Dining out is dramatically less enjoyable when nearly half the dishes on the menu are MIA, and the items that are available are missing key ingredients. We should’ve just gone for some sushi at Taihei.

Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana
2315 South Garfield Avenue
Monterey Park, CA 91754
Phone: 323-722-7600

Bollini's Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Bollini's Pizzeria Napolitana in Los Angeles

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14 Responses to “Bollini’s Pizzeria Napolitana – Monterey Park”


  • The one meal we had at Bollini’s was a major letdown too. We haven’t been back.

  • Note to self: Avoid this place! =)

  • Sometimes good reviews spoil a restaurant. It’s sad but true. Sorry.

  • That pizza is definitely not Neapolitan.

    And spinach salad! I would have thrown a tantrum. Spinach salads should be illegal.

  • Both times I’ve been there the food has been good, including the arugula salad. =) However, that was before they expanded into the other side with the “main” dining room. This might be a case of growing pains. I hope they improve soon!

  • sheesh, substituting baby spinach for arugula?? unacceptable! aww man, i’m sorry you had such a crappy experience! that being said, i’ve been to bollini’s twice and had a wonderful experience. (and there was arugula in that salad!) it was a while ago though (and like sharon commented, before the expansion) so perhaps things have gone downhill? hopefully they’ll be able to work the problems out.

  • So sad! I love Bollini’s and go there often!

  • snap! no wonder you were in such a bad food mood!

  • Ok, bad times.

    But on the positive side: you’ve demonstrated to the entire interwebs that you have excellent taste in pizza. I think that’s the inevitable conclusion drawn by anyone who reads that you ordered pizza with calamari and anchovies.

    In case you’ve been busy muttering to yourself about Bollini’s, I put up a couple more pics of our old house. Yes, it was the Altadena house of my dreams, much beloved. You and the A. could be very happy up there, that’s all I’m saying…and I say that not knowing you at all! So think how awesome it must be.

  • Please don’t tell me those tiny specks of white on the salad are supposed to be goat cheese? Por shame!

    P.S. Looove this – “I kind of felt like Angelina Jolie’s frustrated-to-the-max character in The Changeling. “That is not my salad”"

    Hilarious! :)

  • I’ve gotta tell you, this place has really killer pizza! You should give it a second shot and just have pizza, maybe for lunch. It’s about the best pizza in LA.

  • I absolutely had the same experience but when I went they didn’t have the Arugula Salad. They didn’t have the Whole roasted chicken and they only had 2 Rib eyes for the whole day! First experience here was great but after the second I will never go back. The staff is absolutely unprofessional. When they make a mistake they act as if they are doing YOU a favor. It’s too bad the management isn’t up to par. Unfortunately word will spread and people will stop going all together. They should remember that the customer is always right instead of thinking they are doing favors.

  • Just had dinner here again this week. Maybe it was hit or miss for some other people but I had two good experiences and will return. Place was packed and could use some more experienced waiters but service was actually very good. Servers need to know the menu a little better but I think they were new.
    Had the braised meatballs: awesome! Cioppino: awesome! Arugula salad: great!
    Fungi pizza with truffle oil: best I have had!
    Small porco: spicy sausage, fennel sausage, tomatoes, onions. Awesome!
    Went with a friend who introduced me to this place and this is my newest fav for pie! From what I have read they have got it together, from what I understand they have fired a lot of the old crew. I’m a fan of small buisness and a fan of this place!!

  • Thanks for the report, Scott! I’m glad to hear that things are on the up and up at Bollini’s.

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