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Jan 13, 2007 11:45 AM

Looking for a great Italian market in south orange county!

I need your help! I am looking for a great Italian market/deli in south Orange County (i.e. the San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, etc. area). Any suggestions?

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  1. I can't vouch for it at all, but friends have told me that when Villa Roma Restaurant moved to it's new location they opened a deli/market in the adjoining space. They are Argentinian/Italian, and the site seems to be much more Argentinian, so?????? This is at La Paz and McIntyre, just West of the 5, in the center that houses the newish Yamato restaurant. Not aware of any others.

    25254 La Paz Rd
    Laguna Hills, 92653
    (949) 454-8585

    3 Replies
    1. re: Midlife

      Interesting...I will need to check that out. Unfortunately the website isn't much help, and I've never been to the restaurant either. Is it casual or more upscale? Family place?

      I live in RSM and have been venturing to Claro's in Tustin or even Cortina in Anaheim once a month or so.

      1. re: RSMBob

        Haven't been there since they moved, but it used to be pretty much adult, though not really all that upscale [that means tablecloths and not a lot of kids. :o)]

        I'm not sure why the site is so Argentina-focused if the deli is also Italian, so this may be a bad lead. I also don't recall that Argentine focus when I was there several years ago. So ??????

        1. re: Midlife

          I went in for an all-too-brief visit yesterday (cut short when I realized I left my wallet at home). I still don't know what to make of this market/ seems like a work-in-progress. The shelves were stocked with a variety of Italian, Argentinian, American and Mexican (???) goods, and I must admit to being immediately turned off when I saw the same jar of Del Monte peaches that Costco sells for 4 for $9 or something like that...for $5.90 each! Yikes!

          There was surprisingly little pasta, only one brand of tomato (Cento, only 2 types), a decent section of wine, a small cabinet or cooler with some bakery goods and a meat cheese deli counter that didn't impress me much. I didn't get nearly the good vibe I get when I go into Cortina or Claro's.

          I'll pay another visit (with wallet!) soon to recheck, but my expectations have certainly been lowered.

    2. Unfortunately, South Orange County lacks a good quality Italian Deli and Bakery. You would think with all of the Italians that live here someone would put up a decent place. You're not gonna find anything like Cortina's. I think that they might be from New York, because they sell black and whites, which are to die for. Bristol Farms in Mission Viejo off of Crown Valley has really good meats but very over priced and they sell Oso Bucco,and Scalopine, Henry's in Aliso Viejo has really good Italian Sausage for down here in S.O.C. It beats driving to Anaheim! Ny Delicase on Avery has good sandwiches, don't get the sausage and peppers though, I had a bad experience. Then there is Tutor and Spunky's in Dana Point, Sandwiches are great although the price could drop a tad. Italian Deli's and Bakery's aren't easy to produce in south county everyone is on a diet trying to be looking like a super model or proffessional fighter. Bakery's and deli's survive in older blue collar areas because they don't have time to worry about their figures and they have a roledex of faithful customers. Vince and Tina's in Sanclemente is waste of space, I am sorry but last time I was there they sold me some ricotta cheese that tasted like MERDA, I mean Vinegar come on! If you have any time or are in Chinatown in L.A. you gotta visit the EASTSIDE ITALIAN MARKET. FUGHTABOUT IT, those Italians are BARESE they know how to make "Il cibo miglore nello mondo"

      1. Take a drive if you can to:

        Claro's Italian Market
        1095 E Main Street
        Tustin, CA 92680

        I think you will like what they have.
        (714) 832-3081

        2 Replies
        1. re: michelle in laguna

          Claro's is definitely the go to place even if it is a drive from South's a great place. I try to hit Claro's once a month and Cortina in Anaheim once a quarter.

          1. re: michelle in laguna

            I usually go to the Claro's in the North of OC, near my folks' house, but assume the Tustin version is probably as good. It's such a great Italian deli, so thorough and with such a great, knowledgeable staff, I can't imagine another branch being anything less. Third/fourth/etc the rec for Claro's. It's well worth a bit longer drive.

          2. If you can make the trip to San Diego's Little Italy, you must go to Mona Lisa's Alimentaria. It beats Claros by a longshot. Reminds me of the pork stores in Brooklyn....much cheaper than Claro's, has a more diverse selection also. Their San Marzano tomatoes are 1/2 the price as Claro's. They have alot of fresh produce, from Fava Beans, basil, parsely, rapini, etc. Bread is fresh baked. Tremendous selection of pastas, wines, delicasies, and it is really worth the trip. Their Locatelli is the best around. They also make their sausages fresh and they will make them customized....ready to order. Claro's cheese and parsely sausages are FROZEN ! Make the trip and stock up! It's an out-of-body experience.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bellabiker

              Mona Lisa's sounds great, but Claro's has cheese and parsley sausages? I'm intrigued, tell me more - is this a traditional thing? Frozen or not it sounds interesting if not delicious, must check that out.

            2. I grew up in Norcal and had the pleasure of frequenting Genoa's. My family knew them and that is the best deli in America(Oakland location).

              Down here in S.O.C we are stuck with driving to Claro's, good meats/cheese/pasta and you can buy imported goods there too. For a great italian sando try TIna and Vince's in San Clemente. Small shop but great food, homemade pizza and pasta and very limited imported italian goods.

              We really need a legit Italian Deli. Villa Roma is a disgrace to Italian Deli's, they are much more Argentinian Style.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gypsea

                Based on this, I hit up Tina and Vince's in San Clemente yesterday for lunch, had the #2 Italian sub, it was very good, the bread and meats and cheeses all seemed to be excellent quality and the oil and vinegar dressing they use really brings it all together.

                How is their eggplant parm sandwich ? I was tempted, maybe next time. Also they have a freezer case stocked with some intriguing varieties of raviolis, must try some day. And those homemade sauces ....oh boy !

                Thanks for the recommendation to this place, I never would have known otherwise.