The first stop in the dining underground took me to Pizzeria Ortica, in the South Coast Metro area. I for one, love fresh, gourmet pizza mainly because it reminds me of the time I spend abroad in Italy. I have yet to find a slice of pizza nearly as good as the Italians make it. Pizzeria Mozza in LA is about as close as I’ve gotten to true authentic Italian goodness (thank you Mario Batali).
Various magazines touted this place as having some of the best pizza in Orange County, so naturally I had to check it out. First walking in the restaurant, I loved the cool, modern decor and simplistic layout. The space itself isn’t that big, so you get that intimate, family feel.
Since I was treating one of my friends for her birthday, I felt the strong urge to try one of everything on the menu. But thankfully my stomach (and wallet) suggested otherwise so the final decision consisted of the Vedure al forno con burrata fresca (vegetables and fresh burrata cheese) and the Salami piccante e funghi (spicy salami and mushroom) pizza. And of course a some wine.
The vegetable salad was light and refreshing, although it should’ve been called the pepper and burrata salad as peppers were the HIGHLY dominant vegetable on the menu. It was good mind you, however a wider variety of vegetables would’ve been nice.
Now the pizza. When it was brought out I had to do a double take because of how small it was – roughly four small slices total, and significantly smaller than the pizzas at Mozza, yet the price was the same. Hmmm. Needless to say, unfortunately the pizza while decent did not live up to the hype in my book. It didn’t live up to the hype so much that I didn’t even take a picture of it.
We topped off our meal with a flourless chocolate tart with caramel gelato and orange rind. Clearly, the dessert was the highlight of the meal as the two of us devoured every bite.
The final verdict? The food is decent enough, but in my opinion, not worth the price that you end up paying. In all fairness I did not try some of the other salads or pasta that Pizzeria Ortica offers, nor have I sampled their lunch menu. Perhaps I shall return to give Ortica a second try down the line, but for now the hunt continues for the best Italian-style pizza in Orange County.
Know of a good Italian-style pizza place? Suggestions are welcome!
650 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626