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Sep 1, 2006 05:49 AM

Pizza in Orange County

A challenge for foodies - can anyone recommend a good pizza place in Orange County? We're from San Francisco but spend a lot of time in Orange County. I'm looking for real brick oven pizza that strikes that perfect balance between thin crust (what America calls thin crust is actually more like a soggy cracker) and fluffy roll (e.g., what Pizza Hut and Domino's calls pizza). Pizza that is thin in the middle but hefty enough to stand up by itself and ends in a nice charred crust at the edge and uses ingredients sparingly. I'll take either a neighborhood fly-by "I'll have a slice of plain slice to go" place or a sit down "We only use San Marzano tomatos on our Margheritas" place. No Slice of New York - was not impressed. No generic chains either please.
Many thanks!

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  1. Marri's Pizza (and Italian Restaurant), corner of Katella and Walnut (between Harbor and Euclid), Anaheim.

    Pizza d'Oro, corner of Newland and Indianapolis, Huntington Beach. Has six tables; get there early, or get it to go.

    I have no idea if they're brick-oven pizzerias; they're just tasty... and don't call me a foodie!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Das Ubergeek

      Marri's in Ahaheim makes a good pizza, but the Long Beach location makes a better pizza. I can't vouch for it, but someone told me the same person has been making pizza at Marri's (Long Beach) for 20 years.

      1. re: Afty

        Ah, but Long Beach is in Los Angeles County! It takes strength of chow resolve to cross the Orange Curtain, lest one become mired in the gravitational pull of the hellspawn of chain restaurants that is Irvine.

    2. There are two really great pizza places in Costa Mesa worth checking out. First is Haus of Pizza. Very popular with the locals, the crust is as you requested a sort of medium thickness with good crunch and still soft interior.

      The other is Nick's pizza

      You can't go wrong with either, IMHO.

      1. Sampled what I thought was excellent pizza for OC....just had a couple of slices of cheese,but really enjoyed it...crust was thin with a nice chewy feel...Als Pizza in Costa Mesa(hole in the wall joint)

        2 Replies
        1. re: stormin norman

          just for clarity, I believe you're referring to Al's New York Cafe, located on Irvine Avenue just south of 17th Street in CM. And I agree, this pizza is great ! Just had a slice of cheese pizza there the other day, thought it was very good. Previously I had their specialty, the "White" pizza which was very very good ! The aroma was killin' me, as I was driving back home with it on the seat next to me !

          I've also sampled a couple of their sandwiches - loved the meatball sandwich, thought the chicken parm, while good, was a bit dry (the chicken a bit overcooked or something, just wasn't quite flavorful and juicy enough).

          1. re: mikester

            what makes the slices even better is that they are priced at about $1.75 per slice...quite a bargain...the pizza is close to NY in style and even better then the last slice I had at Ray's in NYC...interestingly,the owner of Al's is from Irvine...go figure

        2. Funny you should ask. I've been meaning to post for a couple of days. I've re-discovered Giovanni's in Fullerton and their pizza is better than ever.

          I first encountered Giovanni's about 25 years ago. Paul Codispotti owned and ran it. He sponsored generations of Fullerton youngsters in their little league teams, and gave scores of them their first jobs. Sadly, he died of cancer several years ago. I don't know what happened to the store -- who took it over -- but it was never the same.

          Someone told me recently that there was a banner about something new there so I stopped the other day and checked it out. They've re-decorated the interior, so it's all clean and new -- tho the tile mural people made for Paul during his illness is gone, sadly. The banner says "original" recipe. And boy, is it good.

          The crust is American-style thin: As the OP described, thin in the middle and a bit thicker on the edges to give you something to hold onto. But the crust is not just "support". It actually has a nice yeasty, bready taste. The sauce and toppings seem like what I remembered. The whole is well balanced -- crust, sauce, toppings.

          Is this the New York or Chicago style pizza posters usually whine for? I doubt it. But it's a tasty pie, and well worth giving it a try. It's definitely what we in north Orange COunty need -- a neighborhood pizzeria a few notches above average.

          One note: There's a pizza parlor of the same name on the east side of Harbor, a block south of Imperial. It used to be owned by the same people, and was always definiely second-best. I've not been there for years. My remarks ONLY apply to the restaurant listed below:

          922 Williamson Ave
          Fullerton, CA 92832
          (714) 773-4044

          Just east of Euclid, one block south of Commonwealth.

            1. re: ReelMike84

              My recent find is Luigi's D'Italia on State College in Anaheim.

                1. re: OCAnn

                  Thin, but not crackery-thin. It's my VERY humble opinion that Luigi's makes the closest to the pizza I grew up with in New Jersey, other than Vito's. And Luigi's is much, much closer.

                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                    Dunno what NJ pizza is like...but I do love thin crust pizza. I'll take some to go for dinner next week! Haven't been to Luigi's in 15 years (last time I had osso bucco). Thanks for replying; I'm looking forward to trying their pizza.

                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                      I took home a Luigi's large pizza (1/2 sausage, 1/2 Luigi's special) Friday after work.

                      I'll take you're word for it that this is good NJ pizza, b/c I've never had NJ pizza. =) Mr OCAnn and I liked both pizzas; however, the surprise was the pizza the next morning. We left the pizza box w/a few slices on the dining room table and I grabbed the last sausage wasn't quite cold and it wasn't quite room temperature, but it was better than the night before. Go figure.

                      However, my pizza taste might be a little skewed (or wrong), b/c in general, here's how I rate favourites:
                      1. Margherita (thin crust);
                      2. Pizza Hut pan pizza (I can eat the buttery crust by itself...during university, I had 9 PH pizzas w/i a 7 day period);
                      3. Luigi's; and
                      4. Other mom & pop pizza places; then way down below, skipping 5-9
                      10. Other major chains (Domino's, Cesar's, etc.)

                      EDIT: oh, I also picked up some home-made tiramisu & cannoli. Tiramisu was very good; I'd skip the cannoli in the future.

                      1. re: OCAnn

                        Adding hotlink.

                        Luigi's D'Italia
                        801 S State College Blvd, Anaheim, CA 92806