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31st August
written by spd

(img: Pizzeria Ortica)

I’m very fortunate that someone left their copy of OC’s Riviera Magazine on the eliptical in Costa Mesa. Otherwise, I might not have found Pizzeria Ortica, which holds this year’s title for Best Pizza in Orange County.  I haven’t tasted every pizza in the OC, but I would probably agree.  This narrow, sun drenched dining room opened in January of this year and has already generated a deserving buzz. Since it’s just a hop-skip-jump from the theatre, I decided to give it a go. The Napoli-style pizza is, indeed, delicious (I was particularly fond of the Salsiccia e finnocchio with house-made sausage, caramelized fennel, mascarpone, red onion, and buffalo grana) but don’t neglect the rest of the menu, especially the Chino Farm insert.

Every Thursday, both chefs drive south to Chino Farm in Del Mar and showcase their beautiful produce in a dozen or so seasonal dishes. The sweet corn risotto with peas was a highlight… and a perfect accompaniment to our favorite entree: Branzino con pesto Trapanese (a simple, beheaded Branzino, artfully de-boned, and pan fried until the skin was perfectly crisp and the flesh moist and flaky.) Served with a mild almond pesto and lightly-dressed mound of arugula, it answered my prayers for a light pre-show meal. Still, in my three trips there, the most irresistible plate placed on the table was the Cavolini di Bruxelles (roasted brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts, breadcrumbs, and lemon zest.)

Owner/Chef David Myers understands the power of taking fine ingredients and allowing them to speak for themselves. I would recommend this to any pre-show diner.

Pizzeria Ortica. 650 Anton Blvd.  Costa Mesa, CA. 92626. ph. 714-445-4900

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