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Jan 13, 2009 12:32 PM

Pizzeria Ortica Costa Mesa

So after reading about the opening of Pizzeria Ortica this week, I decided to check it out for lunch

Pizzeria Ortica is owned by David Myer and the LA Food Arts Group. David Myer was there and I spoke with him briefly. He was very nice.
The head Chef is Steve Samson (Valentino and Sona)

I went in planning on having pizza but after looking at the menu I had the following..

Preserved Tuna with Pomegranate beans and pickled onion - Basically a high quality tuna salad. While it Didn't floor me,it was very good.

Ravioli of Nettle and Ricotta -Cooked perfectly, really a nice dish with quality ingredients. The sauce did not overpower the ravioli.

The article I read before going compared it to Pizzeria Mozza. I have not dined there so I can't comment. I would compare it to Enteco San Marco (The better of the two Batali restaurants in Vegas IMO)

I made a tentative dinner reservation for Saturday night as they are unsure about if they are doing dinner yet (I guess based on demand at this point) I hope they do I definitely want to go back and try some other things out.

Its great that The South Coast Plaza area is getting some nice foodie spots. I love happy hour at Charlie Palmer and think Marche Moderne is a gem. I live in Oceanside so its so much closer than going out to dinner in LA.

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  1. Do you know how many pizzas they had on the lunch menu and the variety? The menu online isn't accessible. I'm thinking of going for lunch tomorrow and wanted to compare their offering against Mozza. This won't impact whether I go or not just curious.

    Sounds very promising.

    1 Reply
    1. re: js76wisco

      There were only about five if I recall. Hopefully, they will get a menu up soon, but there was a margarite, one with home made sausage, one with spicy salami, one with asparagus and a fried egg, and I believe one or two more. I think they range from $9 - $16 and have other ingredients than just what I have listed.

      I had the asparagus and fried egg. Pretty good, but I'm a sucker for anything with a fried egg on top.

      The menu seemed more like an italian restaurant than a pizzaria. It was a small menu overall, but had even parts antipasti, insalte, primi, pizza, sandwiches (lunch only), and secondi (dinner only).

    2. A friend of mine recently attended their soft opening - or some kind of grand opening party - and so far the place seems to be getting mixed reviews. I plan to check it out soon, and will report back.

      I hope it's great - one thing the OC needs is a really serious pizza joint!

      1. I have dined many times at Pizza Mozza, and therefore had great expectations for my lunch at Pizza Ortica. Sorry to say, I was very disspointed. The space has very poor accoustics and really, there is no longer the need to blast campy Dean Martin music so loud. The servers are still very unsure of the menu and the kitchen. As for the meal - tuna appetizer was good, very tasty, but too many beans. The Chopped Salad while fresh and interesting looking, lacked any true flavor from a dressing or green. The ricotta tortellini was fine, but not worth ordering again as I felt I could replicate it any where. But most of all, the pizza salsiccia e finnocchio dissappointed. The toppings seemed scant when they were the only thing that would add taste to each mouthful. When you list toppings as house made sausage, caramelized fennel, mascarpone, red onion, and buffalo grana, AND still its bland, you know that it has not come together yet. Absolutely no desire to venture any further when you offer an over done dessert like Tiramisu and the waiter begins to describe what it is. Take a page from Nancy Silverton, simple delicious desserts that one would not make at home or find everywhere else.

        The manager/ partner was there and we asked our waiter to convey our interest in talking with him, but he looked our way, and did not come over. The restaurant was empty by then but he dissappeared after that.

        I truly want to see the best result and want this to be something fabulous for Orange County. Its just not there yet. Dinner for friends and family starts next week, maybe then impact will be more "taste-filled".

        1. It's April now and Pizza Ortica still doesn't have all the bugs worked out, after almost three months. We waited 30 minutes for a table, and then waited an HOUR for our pizza, after our server said it would be 30 minutes for the pizza. I've never waited an hour for any dish in my life before, especially pizza. But since pizza is my favorite food, and this place was allegedly the new pizza hot spot, we decided to wait the ridiculous amount of time. I have to say that while the pizza was satisfying, it is certainly not worth the wait.

          The menu is impressive and reasonably priced. The host and wait staff are clueless. Our busboy was the only person who had any idea how to work with customers at a restaurant. We had the Zucca in Agrodolce appetizer ($5) and the Salsiccia e Finnocchio pizza. When I ordered these items, with the correct pronunciation, our server looked at me like a deer in headlights.

          The Zucca was excellent, but more of a dessert item than an appetizer. My experience with the pizza was pretty much exactly as described below by Freddylovesfood. not enough toppings, and no palatable flavor hook. The crust was the best part - but it shouldn't be the highlight when you are talking about such great toppings like house-made sausage and seared fennel and onions.

          The only benefit of waiting so damn long for our table and food was that we got to watch the kitchen and David was personally inspecting every dish that went out. He cleaned them up and added finishing touches - this impressed me; now if only the food had done the same. However, our pizza was too cooled when it finally reached out table, so the Quality Control needs to be more efficient.

          This restaurant needs to get it together pronto and live up to the hype. Nobody should have to wait more than 15-20 minutes for a pizza anywhere. If they don't improve this they will lose business, on the weekends, especially, because people with tickets for performances at the Center will have to arrive late for their show just so they can get their pizzas down.