Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Picture Perfect Pizza at Pizzeria Ortica?

Pizzeria Ortica
650 Anton Blvd.
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

I had been wanting to try Pizzeria Ortica for a long time now. It seems like it has been on my list of places to try forever, but we have just not had the opportunity to make the trek up the 405 to Costa Mesa. After going to New York and having some great pizza, we were on a quest to find an equally great pizza in the OC. Pizzeria Ortica has been on so many best of lists for its pizza, that is where we headed. 

Pizzeria Ortica is located adjacent to the theater district of Costa Mesa. Modestly decorated, long and narrow, this restaurant has high ceilings that do not diminish the noise here. Very hard to hold a conversation in the loud room. Also, the tables seemed to be crammed too close together. We were sat along the front window and were brushed by a passersby at least twice. So the atmosphere got us off our game a little bit, but the food could bring us back. Let's see if this will be the case.

To start both Katie and I chose one appetizer. Above is her choice, the Conserva di Pollo. This consisted of olive oil, shredded chicken, Parmigiano, vegetables, and balsamic dressing. Think of this as a warm chicken salad. I thought the taste of this was fine, but Katie, who found a bone in this, would not get this again. She summed up this dish by saying it was, "not fantastic".

I usually see lamb on a menu and gravitate towards it, and this was the case here. Above is the Arrosticini d'angello. Two lamb skewers served with wilted dandelion greens and a mint salsa verde. The lamb was cooked well, very tender and the mint worked well with the meat. The dandelion greens were very strong and oily. They really overpowered this dish.

Now on to the main course, and the reason we are here, the pizza. Katie went with the Milanesa Pizza. This featured fontina cheese, asparagus, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a fried egg. This pizza was very good. Very unique, with a rich flavor. The Fontina and egg rocked it. Katie really enjoyed this pizza as well, calling it, "more of a pizza quiche".

I ordered the more traditional type of pie, the Salsiccia pizza. This came with house made sausage, fennel, mascapone, red onion and buffalo grana. Big flavors for this pizza, and they all worked well together. I am usually not much of a crust guy, but this one had a good chewiness to it. They were a little light on the toppings, but that I might have been by design. The absence of sauce was not noticeable at all. Very good pizza.

Lastly, for dessert we went with the exotic sounding Budino di Cioccolato. Basically this was chocolate layered with caramel, topped with two berries. I felt this small dessert was okay, not too rich and had a smooth texture. Not sure I would order this again, but it was just all right.

I have come to realize that there are two different kinds of pizzas out there. One is the kind we grew up on, from Chuck E Cheese, Pizza Hut, or Haus of Pizza. These have lots of cheese and toppings and taste really good. The other type of pizza is more of a refined, grown ups only type of pizza. It is a kind of pizza that lets the toppings and dough be the star of the show instead of just piling on mounds of cheese. Both pizzas are good in their own way though, so of course I will continue eating both.

The refined, grown up pizza  is what should bring you to Pizzeria Ortica. They use a 300 year old biga to create their dough and they have great options for what to put on their pizzas. I would hasten to say that this has been the best pizza we have had in the OC for a long while. The rest of the menu however was a disappointment, and the service at this restaurant was not as good as you would expect. Our waiter seemed lost  for a majority of our time here. We will definitely be back for the pizza though, and skip the rest of the menu.

Out of five train cars, (because Ortica is an area in Milan that used to have a famous railway station), five being best to zero being worst, Pizzeria Ortica gets 3 train cars.

For more information on Pizzeria Ortica, click here:

Pizzeria Ortica on Urbanspoon


  1. You should try Pizza E Vino on the lake in RSM. Neapolitan style and absolutely delicious (despite being a little pricey, crowded and sometimes lacking in the wait service department). I sometimes dream about the prosciutto and arugula pizza. Yummy.

  2. Anonymous - Thanks for the tip. I have it on my list of places to try. Hopefully we will get out there soon! Thanks for the comment.

  3. I had a terrible experience at pizza e vino, oddly one year to the day after I'd celebrated my birthday at ortica. There's no comparison between the two. Look at my hubby's extensive review on yelp. His username is nycinoc.

  4. Amanda - I recently went to Pizza E Vino. I do not want to give anything away, but maybe you are right. ;) Look for the review soon. Thanks for the comment.