After driving past this new building being built practically every day, I was extremely intrigued when heard it was going to be an authentic Italian pizzeria. I have wanted a great pizzeria in my area ever since I tasted great pizza in Italy many years ago. I know that Big Al’s and The Pizza Oven get much respect, but these are more American/New York Style pizza.
Rumor was that the chef/owner is a trained baker and has been working the pizza oven for Wolfgang Puck over the past year while his restaurant was being built. A couple of weeks ago a saw someone inside and even though it wasn’t open I pulled in anyhow and talked to the owners. The owners are husband and wife named Roberto and Ferndanda. They were incredibly sweet and took the time to tell me about the place. He has indeed been working with Puck as there is a picture of him on the wall next to a framed certificate from the Verace Pizza Napoletana, which I guess is an academy that certifies you as a trained maker of Naples style pizza. Roberto also told me the he imports the flour from Naples and that they will be making their own mozzarella everyday.
The couple is from Argentina and looking at the menu I saw a few non-Italian items I was excited about like empanadas and grilled skirt steak w/ chimichurri sauce.
I went with my wife and another couple a few days after they opened and had a great experience. We started with the meatballs, which were very tender. We also ordered both the beef and chicken empanadas. Wow! These were the best I have ever had. Totally the real deal! Way better than Empanada Place or House of Empanadas .
Then the real feast began. I took a menu for reference.
Polpetta - Pesto sauce, mozzarella, meatballs w/ tomato sauce and fresh basil
Patata - Chili oil, mozzarella, gruyere, pancetta, fingerling roasted potato and fresh rosemary
Salciccia - Garlic sauce, pancetta, fresh mozzarella, Italian sausage, caramelized onion, rapini, Italian parsley and basil.
We also had the Chicken Picatta which was done very well.
All of the pizzas were very delicious and the crust was not the afterthought like so many other places. It has nice texture and flavor. I usually like pizza dough more crispy and charred so I think the next time I go I will ask for it more cooked, but over all I highly recommend this place. I can’t think of any artisanal style pizza place in Orange County that is better and I have been to Pizzeria Ortica and Canaletto…besides those places are too fancy pants for pizza. This place is very casual and relaxed.
The address is:
1902 Harbor Blvd (and 19th St)
Costa Mesa, CA 92627