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Authentic Italian in OC

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Hello all. I am looking for authentic Italian in OC. By that I mean a flavor you would get while actually traveling in Italy - house made pasta and sauce, meat dishes, etc. Any suggestions?

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  1. A chef-friend recommended Ristorante Max in Newport Beach, although then another friend told me it was closing. Not sure what is really happening there, and I haven't gotten around to trying it. Might be worth a look.

    1. Would be very interested for recs on this too.

      1. I've never been to Italy, so I can't say if the place I'm about to recommend fufills that requirement. What I can say is that the food at Flavio's Italian Kitchen in Tustin is fantastic. It's a "red sauce", old-school neighborhood Italian place. A bit kitschy and great. The lasagna is perfect. It's what everyone gets. The chicken marsala, though, is my favorite. Flavorful, steaming hot, made-from-scratch.

        Here's a more complete review:

        P.S. Skip the pizza.

        1. I am a long time fan of Mangia Mangia in Huntington Beach....go with whatever is on special and its tough to go wrong.


          Awful website, nice little place to eat.

          1 Reply
          1. re: MadNachos

            We really like Mangia Mangia also in OC

          2. Either of these is sure to please:

            Onotria Wine Country Cuisine
            2831 Bristol, Costa Mesa Ca., 92626
            Phone: (714) 641-5952
            Massimo does an incredible job with rustic, classical Italian and paired wines. Elegantly handsome venue.

            Pina's Bistro
            640 West First Street Tustin, California 92680
            (714) 730-5442
            Pina and her daughter prepare some of the most wonderful traditional Italian fare to order in their quaint, homey bistro.

            Bon Appetit!


            1. For Authentic Northern Italian there is a restaurant in Fashion Island called Francoli. Fresh and simple ingredients just like I remember in Italy.

              I also like Ontoria which is based on Italian wine county cuisine. This restaurant is in Costa Mesa.

              I am looking forward to the opening of Blanca in Newport Beach in the former Georges Camelot location in Lido. It is supposed to be an authentic crudo Restaurant.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cdmedici

                I concur on Onotria. Its the only Italian rest. we've been to in O.C. that has the type of menu options we've seen in Umbria and Tuscany.

              2. A rather authetic Sicilian restaurant in Orange is Da Bianca in the strip mall at the corner of Newport Blvd. and Chapman. Bianca is indeed a Sicilian lady and the restaurant is a very simple trattoria specializing in wonderfrul pastas, soups, salads and other traditional dishes.