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LA Pizza; But what about Orange County ???

  • s

Name some favorites in Orange County.

I'll start it with Porkys

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  1. My top 3:
    A Slice of NY - Seal Beach
    Al's New York Cafe - Costa Mesa / Newport Beach
    Nonna Lucci's - Huntington Beach

    1. Qualification: I like NY style pizza - thin, chewy crust.

      LaRocco's in HB.
      I'll second A Slice of NY
      Al's NY Cafe a distant 3rd.

      2 Replies
      1. re: bluthcompany

        I always hesitate to recommend LaRocco's because their restaurant is filthy.

        1. re: mollygirl

          LaRocco's San Clemente location is tiny but clean. Best pizza we've found in 25 years in South OC. Close seconds are Fratello's/Peppino's (several locations) and Antonucci's (Mission Viejo).

      2. Pizzeria Ortica in Costa Mesa for restaurant pizza

        Original Pizza in Newport Beach around 22nd street

          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Have never heard of Luigi's, but their menu looks good with very traditional simple Italian cuisine. Is all of their food good....or do you just recommend the pizza. What about the ambiance and service?

            1. re: josephnl

              It's OK. I only go for the pizza. The ambiance is, well, casual. Service is OK. Some of the staff are a little... hm... eccentric.

              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                Used to love Luigi's--in their old location. Havn't gone back after our awful experience in the new location. Their lasagne used to be fantastic--is it still good? (maybe I could get take out)


                1. re: Funwithfood

                  I don't know, honestly, lasagne is one of those things I make at home.

            2. re: Das Ubergeek

              Love Luigi's. Disclaimer- my 11yo son's friend's dad & brother run the place. Son thinks that the pizza makes him pitch better (worked for Burt Blyleven)

            3. Sabatino's in Newport.

              1. Anotonucci's in Mission Viejo is excellent IMO (NY Style). Love the cheese pizza there.

                Also really like the white pizza (and the others as well) at Johhnny's NY Pizza in Irvine (Culver at Portola).

                Al's NY Cafe also (the meatball sandwich ain't bad either - ooh and they do a really good chicken parm sandwich !)

                3 Replies
                1. re: mikester

                  Antonucci's has never been NY Style or are you saying that you request it that way? In any case, the quality has slipped and I no longer feel that their price premium is warranted.

                  1. re: JAB

                    Antonucci's was our favorite for years. It's not 'authentic' NY style, as it's got a thicker crust and not as much oil as what I was raised on, but it IS very good. Haven't been there is a few years. Sounds like like they've lost the edge. We now love LaRocco's, in San Clemente.

                    1. re: JAB

                      It's been a few years for me as well, sorry to hear that it may have slipped...must check it out soon.

                      As for whether it's NY Style, I'll defer to you on that. I probably mis-remembered as a thinner crust. Was pretty tasty either way.

                  2. Word is OC will be getting our very own Mozza soon. Oh please oh please.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cdmedici

                      If Mozza OC will be anything even remotely resembling Mozza LA, they should stay in LA.

                      1. re: josephnl

                        Hate to say this, but I agree. I'm just talking about the pizza, not the ambiance or anything like that, which I actually like.

                        --That said, the crust has good flavor. Just not worth importing though.

                    2. I like Pino's Bistro, C/O 1st Street and Prospect, Tustin.
                      Great, fresh ingredients, including homemade sausage.

                      1. Newport Beach has a very good place for large thin crust pizza either by the slice or whole pie. The Pizza Bakery has some really good lunch specials which may have a slice or two, pasta, a salid a salid and drink ...

                        The Pizza Bakery

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: JeetJet

                          Tried the Pizza Bakery last week and will definitely be going back. Had the #2 lunch - slice w/salad. The slice is huge (for someone who's obsessed with portion size), but it all disappeared and I finished the salad for dinner. Thin crust, tasty.... almost as good as what I had in Spain a couple of years ago, and the best I've had in a long time.

                          1. re: Bogey153

                            Yeah, it is better than most and that makes the place popular for being so far from the main roads through Newport. My son lives near there and sometimes we get a slice and sit out front in our truck and eat, drink have a coke and from our windshield we watch the people go in and out, in and out....

                            If you like coffee there is a second reason to head back that way -- Kean Coffee

                            Kean Coffee

                        2. It may not be a Chow favorite, but I'm going to be loyal to Angelo's & Vinci's in Fullerton. Best cheese topping EVER!

                          Angelo's & Vinci's Restaurant
                          550 N Harbor Blvd, Fullerton, CA 92832

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: SmokeyDoke

                            I love Angelo's pizza. My family goes there all the time; we usually order it to go and pick it up at their little side street take out place. The thick dough is flavorful, the sauce and cheese is tasty and plentiful, and the toppings are fresh and wonderful. Just had one last night! Great stuff, and a north OC favorite.

                          2. So what about Tony's Little Italy? It's the only pizza place i've been to in OC, but it had very good, albeit gluttonous, Chicago-style pizza.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: aventinus

                              I like Tony's. But I'm from the East Coast so while it's really good and worth the trip, it doesn't scratch my "pizza" itch, the same way weird California pizzas with Beijing duck or shiitake mushrooms or Thai peanut sauce don't scratch my pizza itch.

                              1. re: aventinus

                                Tony's pies are fabulous. Be prepared to wait a little longer for your pie, as it's Chicago style and takes a little longer to cook, and it's not the cheapest pizza in the OC, but you definitely get what you pay for at Tony's. It really is a tremendous pizza.

                                I'd have to say my favorite places in the northern section of Orange County to eat pizza are Tony's, Angelo's & Vinci's in old Fullerton, and the old Marri's pizza across the street from the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, right off Katella and West Streets (It's a restaurant I've been going to for at least 30 years and it literally feels like home to my wife and I). All 3 of those places make consitently good pizza.

                                1. re: goodvibe61

                                  Marri's isn't bad pizza. Not the best in OC but not bad. It's at Katella and Walnut, though.

                              2. On two occasions I have had better than decent pizza at Canaletto. I believe it was arugula, prosciutto with shaved parmigiano reggiano drizzled with truffle oil. Simple and tasty cooked in a wood fired oven.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: cdmedici

                                  I also have had excellent pizza at Canaletto, and then the last time I was there, I had perhaps the worst pizza I have ever had. I like crispy pizza, and always request it as such. The last time I was there and ordered pizza, it was not only not crispy, but the dough in the center was raw...floppy and uncooked...and the pizza was surrounded by a ring of oil on the serving plate. It was dreadful. I did not have time to stay for them to rebake one, but on the way out I said to a manager that I was unhappy and was advised to post a complaint via email. I did so more than two weeks ago, and have heard nothting by way of reply. Not good!

                                  1. re: josephnl

                                    They must have some consistency issues. Every time I have gone I have had the octopus. First two times where brilliant, the third time was totally different in flavor...and not in a good way.

                                2. My family has been a fan of Pizza Shack in Tustin for many, many years (even back when it was still R & R's). The sauce has great flavor and they're generous with the toppings.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: chris1621

                                    I actually think that Pizza Shack is great all around neighborhood pizza. They used to have this Monday special that my bro told me about. I dunno if they still have it, since I don't eat much pizza these days.

                                  2. Big O to Go... Mission Viejo. Honestly.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: 1000steps

                                      Agreed, if you like a cracker type of crust which I don't. The ingredients however are very good.

                                      1. re: JAB

                                        I like thin crust in all forms. Too bad MV is so far down the 5 from north OC.

                                        My go-to used to be Buca di Beppo for thin crust, but unfortunately, they've changed their margherita recipe the last few months and I don't find them to be as delicious....

                                        1. re: OCAnn

                                          Cucina Alessa in Newport beach has good pizza at a better price and quality than Ortica, in my opinion. Their food is simple, but good and service is friendly.

                                          1. re: stanr

                                            I haven't had pizza there but there is also a Cucina Alessa in Huntington Beach, on 6th and Main.

                                            1. re: stanr

                                              Definitely agree that Cucina Alessa in Newport Beach has far better pizza than Ortica. Unfortunately Ortica is not a terribly high bar to surpass, and it's really a shame. David Myers (the owner) is an excellent chef as evidenced by how wonderful Sona in L.A. was when it first opened. Unfortunately IMHO Sona has slipped quite a bit, and I am totally unimpressed with Chef Myers other ventures...Comme Ca (in L.A., and promised for OC) and Pizzeria Ortica.

                                              Has anyone been to both Cucina Alessa's? Wondering how the food compares between the two.

                                              1. re: josephnl

                                                okay I'm gonna put my foot down. I posted a review of Cucina Alessa's pizza and my wife and I agreed that we'd never order it again. Unless we had the substitute chef (it was the Newport location) then people have really weird taste in pizza. To give you an idea of my taste- A16 in SF is the best I've ever had.

                                                1. re: meltedcheese

                                                  I agree that Alessa doesn't have great pizza. I have never said so. I said that I thought their pizza was better than that served at Ortica, and also said that this was not a high standard to surpass. I don't think that there is particularly good pizza anywhere in OC, and I'm not even sure about L.A. (please don't tell me that Mozza is great...I will disagree). I had wonderful pizza one or two times at Canaletto in Newport when they first opened, but the last time I was there, I was served one of the worst pizzas I have ever had. So, from my perspective, the search for great pizza in OC goes on.

                                      2. If you see the two top posts here. You will see the problem in Orange County. There is no and I mean no A- let alone A+ pizza in Orange County. There is pretty good pizza, but no GREAT pizza.

                                        I'm going to go to LA next week or the week after and hit every pizza place mentioned and let you know if it's the same in LA.

                                        BTW B+ pizza is pretty good with the right root beer or beer.

                                        1. I have always loved Numero Uno since the seventies. Their slightly sweet thick-crust is my all-time favorite. This once prolific chain has been dwindling in recent years and is on life support here. There used to be several locations in the OC, but the only one still open is in a strip mall on Adams at Magnolia in Huntington Beach. They have a larger presence in the SFV and around greater LA.

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: Unnamed Source

                                            I too have always liked Numero Uno- it's not great, but there's something about it. Have you ever had those round dough balls that are swimming in butter.

                                            It's funny. Maybe since a good pizza is so simple it's hard to make pizza truly great. Plus how many main dishes have a bread as such an important component of the dish- were a part of the bread if not all has to be dry and crisp. It has to be crispy but there's sauce and cheese and fats and toppings...

                                            1. re: meltedcheese

                                              If I were served a pizza with a crisp crust I would think poorly of it. Pizza crust is chewy and flavourful.

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                It's a matter of taste. I personally prefer a slightly crispy pizza. When I pick up a piece, I don't like the end to fold down. To each his own. The best pizza I have ever had was in a little neighborhood joint just outside of Montalcino (Tuscany), and it was pretty crispy...but definitely not like a cracker!

                                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                  Gotta go with The Geek here. The generally-accepted 'most popular pizza place' down here in San Clemente is Sonny's, but I am not a fan of their pizza because the bottom has been just a little too crispy the times I've tried it. And............. all due respect to josephnl, my New York upbringing REQUIRES that the end folds down just a bit.

                                                  1. re: Midlife

                                                    I'm from New York also...and I'll take a slightly floppy New York pizza over the stuff they call pizza here any day. Maybe I didn't express myself as well as I should have. I don't really like pizza to be crispy like a cracker, on the other hand when the center folds down too much, to me it sometimes seems to me to be not fully baked, or else there is too much or too wet a topping. It's a fine line for me between inadequately baked, and too crispy.

                                                  2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                    Depends what you're looking for. Slices have a slightly crispy crust and are very thin. Those of us from that part of the world know what I mean. The nearest to a slice that I've had in OC is at Mammalucco's in Brea. They're from the Bronx so the pizza is a little different than that from other boroughs.

                                              2. What about Pizza e Vino, in Rancho Santa Margarita? Neopolitan style thin crust, using a wood-burning oven. Open for dinner only.

                                                11 Replies
                                                1. re: choctastic

                                                  In fact, I was just there (hard to find) but it's easily the best pizza I've had so far in OC and honestly while the flavor of the crust is arguably better at Pizzeria Mozza, Mozza is slightly too crispy to me. I like the chaw of a great bread and Pizza e Vino's pizza has a pretty damn nice stretchy, chewy bite, imho. I wish I had a camera so i could do a pic of the upskirt. Nice charring, great chew on the crust, great toppings. All around great pizza. I got the margarita today, with buffalo mozzarella. $17. Not having to drive to freaking LA: priceless.

                                                  1. re: choctastic

                                                    lol. "the upskirt." spoken like a food blogger.

                                                    1. re: choctastic

                                                      Glad you tried it! Dough flavor does vary slightly at PeV... I assume according to how mature it is on any given day.

                                                      To revisit earlier PeV thoughts: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/600166

                                                      1. re: Allmodcons

                                                        Another thing i don't like about Mozza is that the pizza is so oily. I have to mop up all the oil before i want to eat it.

                                                        BTW, thanks to Allmodcons for originally tipping us off to this place!

                                                        1. re: choctastic

                                                          I think if there are criticisms of this place, it would be that it is expensive. My pie was an individual and about $15, $17, including tax. That's actually more expensive than Pizzeria Mozza. Also, the dough could be aged more, but hey for OC, I'll take it! I like this place a lot, but i want to play devil's advocate.

                                                          1. re: choctastic

                                                            You know how dough is different every day... for me, the dough @ PeV has been closer to the too-mature end of the spectrum more often than the too-young. But exceedingly small increments, for what is a very good product.

                                                            Pricewise I have no problem... maybe it was the $5 supplement for the bufala? Sometimes that (kind of high) tariff is totally worth it to me, like on their four cheese. Really good.

                                                            1. re: Allmodcons

                                                              I thought it was totally worth it, but I was trying to head off the detractors. I really liked the pizza here! It's in Rancho Santa Margarita! Whodathunk!

                                                              1. re: choctastic

                                                                Ya, I know!

                                                                Now I want a four cheese really bad.

                                                      2. re: choctastic

                                                        Just went to Pizza e Vino and agree that it's a bit hard to find...signage is terrible. Go into parking lot and go down stairs towards the lake. Found the pizza to be excellent...perhaps the best I've had in OC. Crust is pretty darn perfect; thin and almost, but not quite crispy in the center, and real chewy on the periphery. Toppings are first rate. Good salads, salume, and antipasti. Small but excellent wine list. Good service and caring management. It was very quiet in the restaurant tonight and it should be busier. Give it a go...it's tasty stuff!

                                                        1. re: josephnl

                                                          Really need to try this place. We used to live nearby and know exactly where it is. It's been several other restaurants and there was/is(?) a relatively (for RSM) decent Chinese take-out in the same courtyard.

                                                          Thanks to everyone who's posted about it.

                                                      3. re: choctastic

                                                        Excellent suggestion, this place is great. Just went there the other night with friends, and while they were out of burrata the pizza was great. Nice wine list, too, and the outdoor seating is pleasant.

                                                      4. I like Sonny's in San Clemente as well. Rocco's in Mission Viejo at the Kaliedescope Center has some very tasty gourmet pizzas. I especially like their white pizza, and the chicken and garlic style. Their crust is a bit bland for me though.

                                                        1. Luparello's and Lino's in Huntington Beach. Not gourmet style pies, but excellent pizza.

                                                          1. If anyone wishes to tout Ortica as an option, please read this thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/622016
                                                            I'm not the only one who thought it failed to bring the goods.

                                                            1. Hate to be all negative, but I am always dissappointed by OC's pizza. I am always let down, wanting more, and uninspired by this regions bad Italian cooking.

                                                              Just save the money, but a $1.29 bag of dough from TJ's and toss it on the grill with some sauce, fresh mozz and basil. Chances are even if you are a horrible cook it will come out better then what you can get around here.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: jroxybabe19

                                                                Even with pizza being one of those few foods that carries with it the heavy burden of having to live up to the standards of where people grew up, where they've traveled, what their family served...... I really find your position a bit hard to take.

                                                                There was a recent thread here in which a poster insisted that there was not one single upscale restaurant in OC at which he would suffer through a meal. There's a point at which it seems that there needs to be just a bit more reality intervening.

                                                                If you REALLY feel that way, so be it. I can only feel for you and your transportation costs...... to wherever you drive to eat.

                                                              2. my favorites:

                                                                woodfired pizza - nicks in costa mesa on harbor blvd
                                                                deep dish or stuft pizza - tony's little italy in placentia
                                                                dirt cheap pizza - laventina's in newport beach

                                                                honorable mention - italian cravings in huntington beach

                                                                still working my way through OC pizza places...
                                                                pizza d'oro (costa mesa, FV, HB) - while the giant slice is a nice novelty, pizzas are good, but not my favorite... much prefered over all the chain places though

                                                                roma d'italia (tustin) - thought it was alright, nothign special though... a little greasier than I like

                                                                sabatino's (newport) - i liked it, but i thought it was a bit pricey for pizza...

                                                                haus of pizza, hotties pizza, oc pizza (all in cost a mesa) - i feel the same way about them as i do sabatino's

                                                                soprano's in costa mesa - only had pizza there once, so I don't think I can form a full opinon on it yet... still need to go back

                                                                same with napa valley pizza

                                                                gina's in irvine - i remember going there (i forget what it was called way back in the day) when i first got to southern california... pizza wasn't great, but collecting box tops for free pizza was always good for a poor college student...

                                                                peppino's in lake forest - i kind of feel the same way about this place as i do pizza d'oro... not bad, but not great.

                                                                z pizza, bj's, pizza hut, little ceasars, dominos, papa johns, etc - i'll go to costco before those places

                                                                1. Thanks choctastic and Allmodcons for bringing Pizza e Vino back to the forefront. We had a very enjoyable meal there. The pizza is as described in that it's on the expensive side and the ingredients are a little sparse but, the dough was very flavorful with just the right amount of char and consistency. We'll be back as it's very close for us.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: JAB

                                                                    Totally agree...in OC good pizza is slim pickins for the most part, but with PeV, there is hope.
                                                                    & I would agree, it is a bit pricey (after wine, dessert & all), but it's intimacy, you see the folks who are making your food, excellent ingredients..makes it worth it!

                                                                    1. re: christoofat

                                                                      Apparently, they also have a pizza truck for catered events. Perhaps Allmodcons can shed some light on that. I didn't hear much beyond the fact that there's a truck.

                                                                      1. re: choctastic

                                                                        Equipped with an Italian wood burning oven?

                                                                        1. re: JAB

                                                                          My question exactly.

                                                                          And the answer is: YES. The owner had another imported pizza oven built into a custom trailer, as I found out tonight over the special w/burrata, proscuitto, and microbasil that Christoofat mentioned in the other thread. So good..

                                                                          Longer writeup here: http://www.ocfoodnation.com/EatNice/i...

                                                                  2. I’m a huge fan of one of the “hidden gem in a strip mall” locations -, my favorite being what used to be an old Sbarro which was converted into a new & sexy buy-by-the-slice or buy-the-whole thing pizzeria & italian food haven. I LOVE it for lunch, and some days, am in awe that it doesn’t have a line out the door & around the block! I guess it’s still my little secret… :) It's small & quick serve - but those are the perks too! They have liquor & beer too & i heard will be doing some corporate happy hour stuff soon! :)

                                                                    Alto Italia
                                                                    2 Hutton Centre
                                                                    Santa Ana, CA 92707
                                                                    (right by the Skyline highrises @ McArthur & the 55)