Friday, October 14, 2011

A Secret Spot in Orange

1448 E. Katella Ave.
Orange, CA 92867

Mascarpone's has been on my list of places to try for so long, I can not even remember how it got to be there. I am sure it was an email from a reader, or a recommendation I received from someone while we were out. Good thing I had written it down, because I would have never known this place was here. I have driven by it about a hundred times, and almost drove past it even when I was looking for it.

For 23 years, Mascarpone's has been the secret, in the know, Italian spot for locals in Orange. Located in plain site on busy Katella Avenue, they often get over looked because they do not have a flashy sign, parking is located off the street, (in the back of the restaurant), and they have almost no web presence. Luckily, we were not to be deterred from finding this place, and we arrived at about six on a Saturday night.

The first thing I noticed after entering Mascarpone's were the drapes that adorned the ceiling. Not sure the meaning of these, but they did seem odd. We did not have a reservation, but were sat immediately. The restaurant is very dark, and an older crowd inhabits this place. They have two separate dining rooms, with kitschy nick knacks adorning some of the walls. The menu is pretty straight forward Italian. Let's take a look at some of what was on that menu.

First off was the complimentary bread basket that was placed on our table. I always enjoy when a restaurant adds a little something special to the bread basket, and here the special addition was that they served garlic bread instead of just regular bread. This bread was served steaming hot, and had a little crunch to it. The garlic was very noticeable here. We went through two baskets of this bread.

I am not usually a big fan of Bruschetta, but most of the reviews I had read highly suggested this as the appetizer to get here. The reviews were correct. This had a great taste, and was not overloaded with tons of tomatoes. The onions and garlic were the stars here, and I also enjoyed the Gorgonzola on top of this. One of the best bruschetta's we have had.

The entrees here all came with soup or salad. All four of us chose the salad. This was a pretty good dinner salad. The lettuce was fresh, but what really set this salad apart was the blue cheese dressing. Very creamy, and  they must have added extra blue cheese to the dressing. The flavor was spot on. My Mom had the Italian and also stated that it was good as well.

Let's start with my Dad's meal, the Scampi Carmelo. This shrimp dish was served with steamed veggies and fusilli pasta. My Pops said that the vegetables were cooked well, and the pasta was done to his liking. He also added that the shrimp bursted with flavor. To put it simply, he was very happy with his choice of meal this night.

Katie shocked us all when she shied away from a shrimp dish here, and ordered this Fusilli dish and added chicken. This dish combined tomatoes, white wine, and mozzarella. Katie called this dish, "delicious". The chicken was very tender, and the sauce was very flavorful.

I have been on a veal kick lately, okay not really a kick, but this is the second time in a row I have ordered it in an Italian restaurant. Here I got the Vitello Saltimbocca. The veal here was little over done, but the sauce was good, and I liked the addition of the capers here. I would also have to agree with my Dad that the vegetables were cooked well, and really fresh. A pretty good plate of food here.

Last but not least was my Mom's dinner, the Spicy Arrabiata with spicy sausage added. My Mom really liked this dish. The sausage gave the plate a little kick, and the she felt the pasta was cooked well. I really liked the sauce on this, it was not too acidic, and had a nice mellow flavor. I ate the leftover of this a few days later, and it was still very good.

Above is a picture of my Mom and one of the guys at Mascarpone's, (sorry I forgot to write down his name). Anyways, I think this picture shows the warm and friendly atmosphere at Mascarpone's. We had never been to this restaurant before, and all four of us left feeling like we had a good meal cooked by friends. The food was real fresh, and came out piping hot. The service was a little spotty though. There were some long delays getting our entrees and settling the check. The prices were pretty good, and the portion sizes were decent. Well worth the journey to find this hidden gem.

Out of five tiramisu's, (because the main ingredient of that dessert is mascarpone, and I hear that they have a pretty good one here), five being best to zero being worst, Mascarpone's gets 3.5 tiramisu's.

Mascarpone's does not have a web site, but you can find information about them here:

Mascarpone's on Urbanspoon


  1. Great photos and review!

    I'll give Mascarpone's a try!

  2. Steve - I do not think you will be disappointed. It is a pretty low key restaurant, and definitely worth a try. Thanks for the comment!