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Help with OC Italian!!!

I need to take my girlfriend to a nice Italian restaurant in the OC!

It could be anywhere in the OC but I do live in Fullerton..

I was thinking of Sabatino's in Newport

Maybe Maggiano's but that's more of a group place

Help me with suggestions!!


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  1. I like Roma d' Italia. They have 2 locations, one in Tustin and one in Ladera Ranch. It's not really an upscale, dimly lit, quiet romantic type italian eatery but I enjoy the food, especially the pepperoni bread. The restaurant apparently has been in business for over 47 years.

    What specifically are you looking for? Price point? Ambiance? Any specific regional cuisine or dish?

    1. Barolo or Pina's in Tustin also are very good and favorites of ours. Pina's is family owned and can get pricey, but her food is excellent. The place is rather small, so you might want to make reservations first if you go there. Roma d' Italia is also good, but as DrBruin posted, not as upscale as the other two I mentioned. However, if you like seafood, they have a a great seafood platter on the menu for $20 that is a great deal, as it's piled high with a lot of various fish (clams, mussels, shrimp, squid, etc...) in a red sauce with some pasta. My mom swears by it :)

      1. Easy. Roman Cucina on Harbor Blvd. in Fullerton. I love the Beef Milanese, Italian Wedding Soup, and Cannoli. These are so good, I haven't tried anything else!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Funwithfood

          2nd this. I thought Roman Cucina was okay the first couple visits; but in the last year or so, they've improved quite a bit and serve tasty dishes. They can be packed Friday and Saturday nights, so we usually take our food to go....

        2. OK, so here's the thing. If you want a NICE Italian place, meaning more upscale, go to someplace like Sabatino's in Newport, Da Bianca in Orange Park Acres, or Pizza e Vino in RSM. (Pizza e Vino is stretching the idea of "nice", but it's more upscale than a red-sauce pasta house.) There's also Pizzeria Ortica if you want pizza and a big price tag.

          If you want Italian-American food in a sit-down restaurant but not necessarily upscale, there's Marri's or Luigi's D'Italia in Anaheim, Lomeli's in Fullerton (on Bastanchury) or Carolina's in Garden Grove.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Luigi's was great before it moved to it's new location. (Has it improved?)

            It's been years since we went to Lomeli's. (We found frozen entrees to be tastier, sadly.)

            Lascari's in Brea (on Imperial) makes a decent Lasagna and Manicotti.

            1. re: Funwithfood

              There's also Mammalucco's in Brea. One of about five non-chain restaurants in the city.

              I like Luigi's but I know there are people who don't.

              Me, I would drive to Sabatino's and get something involving their unbelievable sausage.

          2. Three more options:

            Basilico's Pasta E Vino (Fountain Valley), this would be my choice for a date. Great food, small place, nice wine list.

            Mangia Mangia HB

            Nick's Pizza Ristorante in Costa mesa. This is the most "casual" of the lot, however the food is usually good, and the prices are very reasonable.

            Nick's Pizza
            13295 Spring Valley Pkwy, Victorville, CA 92395

            1 Reply
            1. re: cem3340

              A couple of options not mentioned above: Luciana's in Dana Point has been great for more than 20 years. Nice romantic atmosphere. Also, Onotria in Costa Mesa, but it can be pricey (and I heard (unconfirmed) from a friend that it was recently sold).

              Onotria Restaurant
              2831 Bristol St Ste A, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

            2. You might also consider Antonello's in Costa Mesa or Prego in Irvine. Both are nice (and pricey).

              2 Replies
              1. re: lil mikey

                I almost forgot:

                Pizzeria Ortica halfway between posh and casual. The food was good when we went, and the wine list is great.

                Pizzeria Ortica
                650 Anton Boulevard, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                1. re: cem3340

                  Oh yeah. They have a great guanciale pizza.

              2. My new favorite Italian place is Cucina Alessa on PCH in Newport (also in Huntington.) The food is truly authentic and so delicious. Ambiance is nice but the inside can be noisy during peak hours. The small patio seems intimate and more quiet... and they have heaters:)

                Oh and the service has never disappointed. Don't be surprised if the owner comes by to make sure you're having a great experience.


                1 Reply
                1. re: laytonj1

                  I agree with Cucina Alessa, but make reservations.
                  Or drive up to LA and go to Mozza for an amazing meal. ( I like Pizzeria Mozza a million times better then Ortica)
                  I have heard Momma Ds in Newport is good but have never been myself.

                  Pizzeria Mozza
                  641 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036