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May 23, 2009 04:05 AM

Critiqua of Ortica

Last night I ate at Pizzeria Ortica. Here is my message David Myers - you should be ashamed of yourself. This place is embarrassingly mediocre. Compared to Pizzeria Mozza, the restaurant that Ortica was theoretically modeled after, Ortica is a disaster. Mozza is flat out spectacular an I would do anything to eat there again. I will never go back to Ortica, does that tell the story? if not, I'll describe the food. Our waitress suggested that appetizers and the food in general are good for sharing. Really? The portions, other than the pizzas, were tiny. Our party of six was immediately disappointed at the arrival of lamb skewers and the artichoke / octopus appetizers. You could literally feel our excitement over trying a new restaurant drain out like a popped water balloon. The "skewers" consisted of 2, and you literally could've used a tweezers to pull the pieces of lamb off, as well as to eat the microscopic chunks. The pizzas looked good, charred crust, interesting colors but they are nothing beyond that. Nothing special at all as a matter of fact. I make my own pizza at home without a wood oven and my date, who had also been to Mozza with me before this, remarked after dinner that she likes mine better. So do I, and that pisses me off. The crust was wet in the middle, failing to remain crispy even right out of the oven, and towards the end of the meal, the cheese on the "ala norma" pizze was like rubber as was the crust (just an FYI, I use Trader Joe's crust which costs .99, and its better than this, even a day later). Our Salame Piccante e fungi pizza was ok. The salame was the best part, but that's about it. The pizza with guanciale and ricotta was decent, only because the piece of guanciale was good. You got one piece of meat per slice of pizza (oh and to add insult to injury, they did a crappy job of slicing the pizzas as well!), but it is painful how little I care about returning. The pastas got a much better review from the table. I agree to a certain extent, but the portions were tiny. I had the lamb ragu, and it was more like pulled lamb, on pasta with some cream slathered on the plate. Not much nuance, or depth to the dish at all. The space itself, doesn't help either. It's really long and narrow with a weird vibe - the lighting makes one wonder if it's actually open or if it's just testing while waiting for the actual lights to arrive. Finally, I had a decent hazelnut gelato for dessert. Overall, the bill for each couple was $87, and we did not order a bottle of wine. That for a dinner of pizza and pasta that is flat out extortion. That realization was the final nail in the coffin and guaranteed my never returning. I've never tried any of Myers' other restaurants, but now I won't. This one is a joke. Do whatever it takes to go to Mozza, ignore this place and hope it goes away.

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    1. Myers' Sona underwhelmed me, and now this review. Gee.

      Was this the South Coast location?

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.L.

        Yes, it was the South Coast location.

      2. I am not a fan of Pizzeria Mozza, but I absolutely agree with you the Ortica is about the worst pizza experience ever. I also agree that I can make better pizza at home using TJ's pizza dough. Although David Myer's Sona was excellent when it first opened, we felt that our last meal there was disappointing. Also, we have been to Comme Ca twice and were not overly impressed either time.

        The best pizza we've found in the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa/Irvine area is that served at Cucina Alessa in Newport Beach, an excellent little Italian spot on PCH at the north end of Newport Beach.

        7 Replies
          1. re: josephnl

            Alessa is a gem. Owner/chef is from Italy. Had an excellent piece of swordfish there. Good wine list, good desserts, all home made. Parking can be a problem.

            1. re: CynD

              Here is a link to the place. I look forward to trying it.

            2. re: josephnl

              I absolutely agree with you the Ortica is about the worst pizza experience ever. I also agree that I can make better pizza at home using TJ's pizza dough.
              Interesting to note that josephnl has never made pizza at home and reports of one being able to make better pizza than Ortica at home using TJ's pizza dough are greatly exaggerated.


              1. re: Porthos

                Correct! I have never made real pizza at home. I have made frozen TJ's pizzas at home as well as tried Boboli's at home. I have participated in the baking of TJ's pizza dough pizza at a pizza party, I enjoyed all of these more than the wet and soggy pizza that was served to me and my guest at Ortica!

                1. re: josephnl

                  Now I'm confused. In the post Porthos linked to you said

                  "Should I buy Boboli's (have never tried them), should I buy TJ's pizza dough and bake it myself...or is there another easy solution."

                  Which led me to think that you had never tried TJ's or Bobobli before. Now you say that you have made those at home (or at least in the case of TJ's - at a pizza party at someone's house other than yours I assume). Which one is correct?

                  1. re: Servorg

                    Gosh you guys are getting so analytical! The whole point of my homemade pizza post was to see if there is some easy way to make good pizza at home. I have actually tried something like a Boboli that I bought at one of the chains...I don't think it was a true brand name Boboli, and yes I have had TJ's pizza dough at someone elses home during a party. I would indeed like to make good homemade pizza if this can easily be done...ergo my post to which I received some useful and nice responses...and yes, I do not enjoy the pizza at Ortica!

            3. Haven't been for about 3months and don't dispute your experience but the two time we were there we had stellar service and a decent meal. Thought the portions were fine and really enjoyed the fresh pasta.

              2 Replies
              1. re: chris2269

                You're right, the pasta was good. Just like the LA times review said, the pasta was the best part. I don't have an issue with portion size unless a restaurant insists on charging large prices for tiny portions, and in this case I take issue with it because it decreases the value proposition. Plus when the server TELLS us that things are good for sharing, particularly the microscopic appetizers, then I also take issue with it and again it decreases the value proposition.

                1. re: OC Mutt

                  And besides, with the name of the place being Pizzeria Ortica, you would kinda think they'd have their act together in that regard. Doesn't sound like it at all. I had been looking forward to trying this place out, hoping it would be sublime. I think I'll check out Cucina Alessa instead. Sounds more authentic & less $$ on top of it.

              2. I agree with OC Mutt. I talked my whole family into going there before a Performing Arts Center performance and we were all underwhelmed. The portions were tiny on everything except the pizzas, the service was mediocre, and the overall ambiance was lacking. No need to make this a priority.

                4 Replies
                1. re: Patrick Strader

                  Yup. I don't know how S. Irene V. from the LA times could've given them so much slack. She's usually right on.

                  1. re: OC Mutt

                    SIV is slipping of late... 4 stars for Bazaar?!

                    1. re: J.L.

                      You're saying Bazaar isn't worth the stars? I haven't tried it, but wanted to after that review.

                      1. re: OC Mutt

                        Bazaar get 3 stars, but not 4, from me.