34255 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629
If there's one thing I've learned in all my years of writing this blog, it's that people are passionate about pizza. Except for barbecue, pizza gets the second most responses when I write about it. Most people write to tell me that they don't agree with me or I don't know what I'm even talking about. I'll add fuel to the fire in this review by saying that the best pizza in OC can be found south of Irvine. Yes, there are some good spots north of Irvine, but South OC has recently had an influx of great pizza places open up. I was hoping that aPizza Doho would continue this trend.
aPizza Doho took over the old Parallel Pizza spot open for business from 2018 to 2021 and was one of the numerous restaurants that did not survive the pandemic. The space sat vacant for close to a year, and like the former tenant, they are going for an East Coast-style pizza with an emphasis specifically on the pizza from Connecticut. Unlike its predecessor, aPizza Doho does not offer a clam pizza, but maybe that's for the best, even though I enjoyed it.
The owner of this restaurant is Marcos Costas, a first-time restaurant owner but definitely not a stranger to the restaurant industry. He's been employed at Salt Creek Grill, Glasspar, French 75, Andrea Restaurant, Savanah Steak and Chop House, and others. Marcos is joined by cousins Anthony and Christopher Christian, who are co-owners and also have restaurant experience. While we were here, Marcos was very involved in the dining room operations, running food, introducing himself to each table, and ensuring things went smoothly.
The aPizza Doho menu is what you'd expect from a pizza place. There are six appetizers, salads, three sandwiches, and what has brought most people here: pizza. Their pizzas are 15 inches, so they can easily feed two people or three if they are lighter eaters than Katie and me. They have a 10-inch personal pizza offered only for lunch that also comes with a salad. There are 10 featured pizzas, but they also have a build-your-own option. Pizzas will set you back anywhere from $19 to $28. We were famished, so we quickly ordered from our server and waited for our food to arrive.
Our salads were out within five minutes. I went with my usual Caesar Salad ($15) selection. This version used a black kale and romaine mix topped with grated grana padano cheese and garlic bread crumbs. Maybe the menu did not mention the dressing because they used it sparingly. They could have used a heavier hand when applying some dressing. The lettuce was fresh, and I liked the inclusion of the bread crumbs, which added a nice bit of texture to this salad.
Much better was Katie's choice, the Simple Salad ($12). This came with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, gorgonzola, and an excellent spiced ranch dressing. Katie was generous enough to give me a bite of this, and after that bite, I wished she had wanted to trade salads. This was full of flavor. The gorgonzola and the pine nuts were excellent additions, but the dressing was the show's star. The salad was dressed perfectly, with just the right amount of ranch dressing covering each piece of lettuce. Very well done.
Their appetizer offerings included meatballs, arancini, hummus, calamari, and these Zucchini Chips ($9). We picked these because we both got salads and wanted something on the light side to accompany our upcoming pizza. These are basically zucchini sliced thin and fried like a potato chip. They had a little crunch but were not seasoned enough with the promised sea salt. They might have been better with a creamy dipping sauce or their excellent ranch dressing.
aPizza Doho is another good pizza option for the people of South OC. Based on this visit, they sit just outside my top five pizza spots in South OC (Truly Pizza, Gibroni's, Brooklyn City Pizza, Terra Mia Pizza, and Lunitas Pizza are my current top 5). I look forward to a return visit to try more of their custom pizzas and to have that simple salad again. We experienced excellent service on this visit, as our server was warm and cordial but not too intrusive. A delicate balance to achieve. I found the prices here reasonable for a sit-down pizza place, primarily when one pizza will feed two, so you're paying only $13 per person. A steal in this economy. I hope 2024 will continue the trend of great pizza places opening up in South Orange County.
Out of five phone books (because this restaurant is an homage to Connecticut pizza and the first phone directory was published in that state in 1878), five being best to zero being worst. aPizza Doho gets 3 phone books.
For more information about aPizza Doho, check out their website by clicking here: https://apizzadoho.com/