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Pizzeria Mozza, Newport Beach - has anyone been?

I understand that P. Mozza opened in Newport Beach this week. Has anyone been...and how was it?

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  1. i have not been, but am interested in hearing replies.. i have wife dinner reservations for a group (MAX 7???) on Sept 30.

    Have been wanting to try forever, but never felt like hiking to LA for a pie.

    *****On a side note, can anyone help me on ordering? I looked at the menu, and I literally want to order something from every section of the menu.

    Are the portions big? what would be good for 7 people? Whats a good general rule? two people per pizza? and bunch of sides to share? cause everything looks so good from the LA YELP reviews.

    3 Replies
    1. re: broncophil

      I've gone to the Hollywood branch somewhere between 20-25 times. My personal favorites are:

      Al Forno: corn on the cob, cauliflower fritti, ribs, asparagus with prosciutto, meat balls, and arancine.

      Insalate: Mozza Caprese, tri colore, others like Nancy's Chopped Salad. I liked the first two better.

      Pizza: Salumi with fresno chile, fennel sausage with caramelizes onions, margharita.

      Can't do it all in 1 setting...and there are still pizzas on there I have not tried.

      1. re: broncophil

        Haven't been to Newport, but based on L.A., one appetizer not to be missed is the chicken liver bruschetta . The shrimp, melon chilies and mint sounds a little boring, but is actually very good. And I'm not usually a meatball person, but I love their meatballs.

        1. re: omotosando

          I second the chicken liver bruschetta wholeheartedly.

      2. I went on the first night. The crust, for the most part, was pretty much just like the L.A. Mozza. Maybe there was a little too much flour on the bottom; perhaps the timing of the oven guy was a touch off. REALLY minor nits to pick that bugged me about the pizza, but it's Day 1 of this kitchen being open. I'm gonna cut them some slack if they're not at full power just yet.

        1. Going Thursday. Will report back. They are closed this Tuesday.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Porthos

            As you know, I'm not a big fan of PM in L.A., but since this one is so close to home, I thought I'd give it a try. Did you call for a res? Although they're listed, OT doesn't seem to work for the NB location.

          2. Just had lunch today. Everything was on par with LA location. Very few glitches, a great experience!

            8 Replies
            1. re: JohnMG

              Did you reserve, or just walk in? Do they have a full bar?

              1. re: josephnl

                We got there at opening and got the last seats at the pizza oven bar. There is a full bar which is only Beer/wine until liquor license is granted. We drove by Sunday and the parking lot looked empty which led to our attempt today.

                1. re: JohnMG

                  When will they have their full liquor license? I don't eat anywhere if I can't have a martini before dinner!

                  1. re: josephnl

                    The GM told me he hopes end of September for the full liquor license.

                    1. re: Professor Salt

                      Here is the application for all to follow:
                      Can't imagine it would not be activated before the end of this month.

                      1. re: carter

                        It appears that it will be strictly wine & beer...no cocktails!!! Isn't that surprising?

                        1. re: josephnl

                          If I've read correctly, the permit they've applied for that is listed as 'pending' would be a general liquor permit (47) that allows distilled liquor as well. In the meantime, I think the prosecco is quite nice.

                          Patience, my martini friend.


                          1. re: josephnl

                            Take a look at last Fridays article in L. A. Weekly. They have hired a mixologist to create drinks when the hard liquor license is granted.

              2. I went to the restaurant in Newport Friday night, and there was a wait even for one person at the bar. I'd recommend getting a reservation if possible, at least for the first several weeks. The prime spots are at the bar surrounding the pizza oven where you can watch the chefs.

                The people next to me on either side LOVED the pizza. In total raptures. I had small plates. Fried squash blossoms and spare ribs were quite good, but to be perfectly honest were not as balanced as I'd like to see. The arancini were good. Hopefully they will work out the minor details over the next few weeks. I would recommend it.

                800 West Coast Hwy, Newport Beach, CA 92663

                1 Reply
                1. re: BekahR

                  I been twice now. Once for the pre-opening and then again on Sat night. Everything was totally on par with my many trips to the LA location.

                  In fact the crust actually seemed lighter and crisper. I preferred it. I also had many of the same antipasti and all were wonderful. I had the corn al forno for the first time on Sat night. Wow...I never have had such a great corn on the cob.

                2. Stopped by last night. The space is very pleasing and feels just like the LA one. Just as loud too which I like.

                  Corn al forno, cauliflower fritti, and mozza caprese were identical to the versions I had 2 weeks ago in LA. All excellent.

                  The margherita and fennel sausage with caramalized onions pizza were good but maybe just a touch less salted and a touch less flavorful than the LA versions. The crust a touch less airy and crispy than the LA versions. I'm totally splitting hairs here. For all practical purposes it was about 90% identical.

                  Desserts were identical. In fact, the pistachio gelato may be even a bit better. A bit more toasted pistachio flavor.

                  The biggest difference is that the wine list is only 10-15% of the LA version. Only 1 sparkling, 2 whites, 3 reds, and 1 dessert wine on the list. I suspect that's just temporary though.

                  It's going to be very difficult getting in here starting yesterday. The B&B machine has done it again.

                  7 Replies
                    1. re: adamclyde

                      Batali and Bastianich empire/machine/restaurant maker.

                    2. re: Porthos

                      Please explain. What is it about very loud that you actually "like"? The last time I was at P. Mozza in L.A. It was so loud that the server had difficulty hearing us and actually got part of our order wrong. I can understand some persons tolerating high noise levels to get great food (I won't), but actually liking it is something I don't quite get. Regardless of how well you hear (my hearing is fine), in extremely noisy restaurants it's clearly more difficult to talk and shouting to be heard is pretty much required. Do you truly like loud restaurants?

                      1. re: josephnl

                        Great vibe. Lots of energy. Lots of fun. Lots of people love it obviously given the success of the formula. I've been to P.Mozza about 20-30 times and while loud, no server has had problems hearing my order. I've also had many excellent conversations with many different people of all ages without much difficulty or any yelling. That includes my 62 year old mother and aunt.

                        That warning was for you in particular if you ever decide to go to the NB branch. Can't say you haven't been warned. If you don't like the noise, please don't go. It's already a 30-45 minute wait and 2-3 week reservation these days at the NB branch. You might try lunch exactly at noon as that is usually more subdued.

                        The pizza I still find a bit better at the Hollywood branch. The items al forno are identical.

                        1. re: Porthos

                          Thanks, Porthos. Although we are obviously cut from different fabrics, I do respect your opinion. In fact, I have a hunch that if we were to meet, we would likely argue like heck but probably agree on much, and likely get on just fine.

                          1. re: josephnl

                            I agree. We would have to meet at Marche which is pretty much the only restaurant we both like and of course you would bring a New World wine and I would bring an Old World wine... ;)

                            1. re: Porthos

                              I'm quite sure there are at least a few other restaurants that we'd both agree on as being good...and btw there are many French, Italian, Spanish, German and Austrian wines that I'm very fond of.

                    3. I called on sat around noon and they had two opening for sat and two for sun. We took the sun and if you go during off hours around 3:00, you will have a good chance of sitting at the bar. We tried Lasagna for the first time and it was good, but a little pricy at $18 for the portion. Everything else tasted the same as the LA location. We actually liked the NPB space better than the Hollywood one. It feels more open and less cramped, at least for now. I noticed they have more four tops in this location because of all the families in the area compared to the hollywood location. I felt our waiter was a little too pushy compared to the servers in the Hollywood location. Music was even louder here than the H location. We are very glad to finally have P Mozza close to us.

                      1 Reply
                      1. The chicken special on Saturdays is outstanding. Somebody else mentioned this on another thread and I highly recommend. The one drawback is that for $21 you only get 2 pieces of chicken but its the most mouth watering chicken I've ever tasted. Great sauce to dip your crust into.

                        My one tiny complaint is that some of the items I received on my 2nd visit were sloppy. The Nancy's chopped salad which I've ordered everytime I've been to Mozza was over dressed. It was dripping in dressing and left a pool of dressing on the plate after we had finished. The salad still tasted great but a lot of the lettuces were bruised. The Sicilian oregano pizza was soggy in the middle and had too much sauce. It was oily and very hard to eat. Not the quality that we've come to expect.

                        Everything else we normally order was the same as Hollywood. Salami and chile pizza, mushroom pizza, caprese salad, meatballs and desserts.

                        30 Replies
                        1. re: js76wisco

                          These sound like more than minor problems...overdressed salads with bruised lettuces in a pool of excess dressing and soggy, oily oversauced pizza! It sounds like you wanted very much to like this restaurant, but that it fell short. Perhaps in time it will improve.

                          1. re: josephnl

                            Josephnl. Doesn't sound like that at all. Sounds like he loved the place and had a minor quibble ("my one tiny complaint") and you're trying to twist it. Sigh...

                            To js76wisco. It would be I that first mentioned the chicken scarpariello now simply listed as chicken, peppers, and broccoli rabe. It also includes delicious sausage. It is absolutely a knockout dish. I also highly recommend the ethereal ribs dusted with fennel pollen on Thursdays. The cauliflower fritti is also a home run. The corn al forno sadly was not available on Sunday.

                            Josphnl. Please try again before you knock it based on your one limited experience. Ecco isn't even in the same game much less the same league. I was back at Mozza NB this past Sunday evening and it was half empty and should be quiet enough for you. But as mentioned above, the amazing chicken is only available Saturday. Since you like crispy, get items with less sauce like the fennel sausage and caramalized onion pizza.

                            1. re: Porthos

                              I promise, I'll give it a go and will really try very hard to be objective. But honestly, it really does sound like this is a place that survives on hype and the reputation of it's famous owners. Oily, soggy oversauced pizza that is "hard to eat" is not a minor quibble! (Yep...I do like ECCO...sure it's pizza is not the best I've ever had, but it's very good, and their chopped salad is excellent as are many of their other menu items, and it's run by very nice people who make guests feel special and very welcome). Don't know when I'll get to P. Mozza (I live very nearby), but I'll do my very best to be objective in evaluating their food.

                              1. re: josephnl

                                I would say it's probably somewhere in between. 1 out of the 3 pizzas was substandard but the other two were fantastic. The only part of the pizza which was substandard was the center of the Sicilian oregano pizza. The crusts were as good as ever. I was really surprised by the pool of vinagrette and bruised lettuce in the salad but willing to overlook this as they are only in the first few weeks of business. For the first time I actually filled out the comment card and handed it to the hostess because I plan to be a frequent patron of Mozza and want them to improve as the weeks pass.

                                Portos: thanks for the recommendation. The chicken scarpariello was everything you wrote about but we didn't get any sausage. I also don't remember it listed as one of the ingredients on the specials menu. Had I known. Will have to try those ribs on Thursday night.

                              2. re: Porthos

                                Was able to get a res for Wednesday evening! Will definitely do my best to be objective...truly hope it's as great as many others (especially you, Porthos) say! Will report back!

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  If you like a little spice to your pizza, I recommend the salumi with fresno chile pizza. To balance it out, the aforementioned fennel sausage with caramalized onions. Since they will both arrive at the same time, try the fennel sausage first since the thin center will soften faster due to the tomato sauce. The sauceless fennel sausage pizza will hold up a touch longer. I would followup quickly with the fennel sausage pizza to catch it at its prime.

                                  Try the quartinos of reasonably priced italian wines. My personal favorite at the moment is the lambrusco to begin the meal with or while I wait.

                                  Start with the cauliflower fritti and end with the banana gelato pie with candied hazelnuts. It's about as a good a meal as you can get anywhere...

                                  1. re: Porthos

                                    Thanks Porthos. I will take your advice. I will likely start with the cauliflower and end with the banana gelato pie (unless something else really grabs me). I love spicy! Since I will be going with a vegetarian, I'll probably only order one pizza myself...which should it be? Any recommendation for the vegetarian?

                                    1. re: josephnl

                                      Salumi with fresno chile pizza for you (my favorite). The simple yet remarkable margherita for your vegetarian friend. The pepperoncini (sweet, not spicy) with burricotta, oilves, and fresh oregano would be a close second for your vegetarian friend. The burricotta is a bit heavy so eat the middle with a fork and knife first and then pick it up with your hands after you get halfway through. That will solve any saggy middle problems :)

                                      Corn al forno (on the cob with herb butter) is also good if available. Hope you enjoy it this time!

                                      1. re: Porthos

                                        Thanks! Will report back. Truly hope that I'll be eating my previous words!

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          We've just cancelled our reservation for tonight...it's too darned hot for anything but a salad! Will save our Mozza experience for another day and will keep your recommendations on file, Porthos!

                                      2. re: Porthos

                                        How small is the order of cauliflower? For three people, even with a bunch of other appetizers, I'm wondering if 2 orders are necessary, since I am bringing champagne and there is nothing better than champagne and fried stuff.

                                        Also, someone noted that the Saturday chicken special is quite small, so again, I'm wondering if 3 people are going to eat family style if two orders would be necessary (or even 3 orders - but at that point, pizza would seem to be overkill and you can't go to Pizzeria Mozza without having pizza)..

                                        1. re: omotosando

                                          Cauliflower appetizer is very generous and more than enough for 3 with multiple other appetizers and pizza. I would recommend only one order of the cauliflower and chicken with peppers for 3. That way you can still order pizza. If you have room, you can always gild the lily with the banana gelato pie with candied hazelnuts...might go well with that sauterne you're bringing...

                                          1. re: Porthos

                                            I thought someone said the chicken consisted on 2 small pieces -- I'm not sure how 3 people split 2 small pieces?

                                            I'd rather overorder, since uneaten pizza can always go home and be reheated.

                                            1. re: omotosando

                                              Chicken is 2 medium pieces of chicken thigh. Comes with peppers, broccoli rabe, and sausage (at least in Hollywood). Guess it depends what other apps you guys are doing and if you are treating the chicken entree as an appetizer or not. Over order. That's what I always do:

                                              1. re: Porthos

                                                What about the corn? How does that come? Sounds like it might be hard to share among 3 people.

                                                1. re: omotosando

                                                  Ask to confirm but the corn al forno is 3 pieces of corn on the cob. Perfect for your party. It's a seasonal item so not sure if it's currently avaiable. It wasn't on my most recent visit 1 month ago.

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    That cauliflower appetizer is very substantial. See this photo from the Foodie Philosophy blog on his Mozza visit: http://foodiephilosophy.com/wp/wp-con...

                                    2. re: Porthos

                                      Well Porthos...I finally made it to Mozza NB late this afternoon, and I must say that I enjoyed myself. All in all, everything was very good...some things excellent, some thinks not quite, but overall it was a very pleasant experience.

                                      I was dining solo today, and arrived at about 4 pm without a reservation. The restaurant was pretty much empty, so I sat at the pizza bar. As you know, I'm not a big fan of noise...this was certainly not a problem at this time.

                                      I had a house Manhattan cocktail. It was delicious, but not an especially large pour. Indeed, the martini glass in which it was served was only filled about 2/3 full...not the norm for Newport Beach.

                                      I wanted the cauliflower fritti, but this was not on the menu. On the servers advice, I ordered the yogurt cheese with peas and mint. This was delicious, and served with a few slices of crispy toast. Very tasty...but...the dish included not only excellent English peas, but thinly sliced pea pods (not snow peas!) which were very weird, indeed raw and very stringy. These should have at least been blanched, or better yet, left off. Nevertheless, the dish was very tasty.

                                      Per your recommendation I ordered the Salumi Salami pizza with Fresno chiles. This was also delicious. The toppings were outstanding, and the crust was very good (probably not the best I've ever had, but certainly up there). I personally prefer a crispier pizza, but this was very good and certainly baked throughout, unlike the pizza with the "raw center" that I've been served elsewhere in OC.

                                      The banana gelato pie was not available, but the Meyer lemon gelato pie was,...and it was sensational. Sort of like a delicious, frozen key lime pie. Truly excellent.

                                      I had a quartino of wine with my pizza, and wanted a tad more with my coffee. Strangely (I thought) no wines are available by the glass...only by the quartino (250ml, which is >8 oz.). I turned down the quartino, but the excellent server brought me a quartino "on the house". A very generous gesture!! I only drank about 1/2 glass.

                                      All in all, this was a very good experience and I will return. The service was flawless, as friendly and professional as it gets. The food was very good. Thanks Porthos, for encouraging me to go!

                                      1. re: josephnl

                                        Finally! We agree on something! ;)

                                        I had the peas and yogurt dish the other night and loved it. Very fresh and a nice expression of spring. I liked the julienned raw snow peas too.

                                        If you return soon, try one of the pizzette with ramps and english peas. It's a much smaller sized pizza but packed with flavor. You could double down on a bruschette or appetizer al forno.

                                        I've been back to Ortica and I'm telling you, it gets better and better... :)

                                        Cheers. See you at P.Mozza Newport on of these days.

                                        1. re: Porthos

                                          I love raw snow peas...but somehow the julienned peapods with the peas tonight were really tough and stringy...almost like finely julienned regular peapods...very weird. Probably they got a funny bunch in today. Nevertheless the peas, mint and yogurt were delicious. Do try the Meyer lemon gelato pie...it's really good!!

                                          OK, OK...it's been ages since I've been to Ortica...I'll give it another try. Do you usually sit at the bar there, or at a table? Which pizza and starter should I get?

                                          1. re: josephnl

                                            The chicken confit that I had a couple weeks ago was very good. And the octopus is usually amazingly tender. If you want something besides pizza on the mains, the Pappardelle al sugo d’agnello is absolutely amazing.

                                            But get at least one pizza for the table. They really are nice.

                                            1. re: josephnl

                                              Agree with above that the charred octopus is delicious and tender.

                                              I like one of the fresh pastas with lamb ragu or bolognese to start.

                                              For pizza I usually get the al norma (smoked mozzarella, tomatoes, eggplant, and basil) and I also get a margharita and add spicy salame to it. Pick it up folded in half lengthwise. That should solve the wet center problem.

                                              My only complaint is that they never change the menu. It would be nice if they added a seasonal pasta or pizza.

                                              I do either bar or high top table by the bar. You can usually make a same day res on opentable.

                                            2. re: Porthos

                                              Because of your latest encouragement to try Ortica, we tried their sausage pizza and bolognese pasta and we were really disappointed in both of them. The pasta was overcooked and we didn't care about the pizza's crust and the sausage was nothing like Mozza's. Mozza's crust and ingredients are way better.

                                              1. re: mrsjoujou

                                                Poor Ortica. So misunderstood.

                                                The pasta is fresh and made with 00 flour. It's going to be soft, not al dente. I've had it around 10 times over the past 3 years and it has been consistent. Never overcooked.

                                                The crust as I've discussed multiple times with Josephnl is neapolitan style so it's going to be soft and chewy not crisp and crunchy. Totally different styles.

                                                How did you like Atelier Crenn?

                                                  1. re: Porthos

                                                    Yes, I understand they are different styles. I have had neapolitan pizza in
                                                    Florence! and Keste in NYC and they were way better than Ortica. We enjoyed our dinner at AC and I still dream about the pea soup.

                                                    1. re: mrsjoujou

                                                      Not sure why people keep citing pizza in Florence since Neapolitan pizza is from Naples :) Was too busy eating pannino bollito at Nerbone both times in Florence to eat pizza so I don't know what style of pizza Florence serves.

                                                      Sorry you didn't like Ortica. I've always been a fan and find myself liking it more and more these days and some days even prefer it over P.Mozza. The crust itself I find is better salted and actually has more flavor than Mozza. I agree the toppings at Mozza are superior.

                                                      Loved the pea soup at AC. It may have been my favorite dish that night.

                                                      1. re: Porthos

                                                        Don't you eat Neapolitan pizza in Costa Mesa! Same reason we tried it in Florence. I looked at my notes and the place was Pizzeria Il Pizzaiuolo.Thank god for the notes.

                                                        1. re: Porthos

                                                          I recommend you give Settebello in Pasadena a try. VPN certified and the margherita d.o.c pizza is one of the best.

                                                1. re: josephnl

                                                  Awesome - I'm glad that you liked this place, I haven't yet been to the NB location but it's definitely on my list !

                                          2. The menu is as I remember the one in L.A., You need a reservation here now. It's still the hot thing in Newport. Parking is a pain. There is no open parking, it is all valet, and they charge $8. A bit much at lunch time. However the food is good however I too think the food is better in L.A. and NYC. It's still early and the staff needs to get use to the environment. There are a few other excellent Italian restaurants nearby so they better step it up. It is extremely loud at night, but that is Newport. Unfortunately all popular restaurants are loud here. I'm waiting a few more months before going back. I'm waiting for the crowds to thin a little. In the meantime check out Alessa's up the street.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: anotherfatcow

                                              Valet parking is $5 at lunch. One of our party easily found a space on the street.

                                            2. The Newport Beach location has 2 patios on the left as you enter. They were much quieter than the main room. You will not get the energy of the main room, but you will be able to have a pleasant conversation with very little noise.

                                              1. Everything was excellent and pretty much identical to the L.A. location.

                                                We had chicken liver bruschetta, plain olive oil bruschetta (highly recommend it -- sounds boring, but sometimes simple is best), cauliflower fritters (wow), mozzarella and tomatoes, two orders of the Saturday special chicken (Porthos was right that one order would have been sufficient), the bianca pizza with sage (wonderful) and a pizza with wild spinach,chilies and sausage. Funny thing was that I wasn't sure I liked the wild spinach pizzza when I ate it at the restaurant (the spinach was quite bitter and the pizza was rather salty), but we had so much food that I ended up taking it home and found it absolutely delicious hours later when I finished it off. (Perhaps some pizzzas taste better when the flavors settle or maybe it was just palate fatigue during the meal since we over ordered).

                                                For dessert, I highly recommend the sorbet. Sorbet (as opposed to gelato) sounds so boring, but it is really excellent.

                                                We brought our own champagne. One tip if you are going to bring champagne (and I guess it is not the typical thing to do with this kind of food) is bring your own flutes as well because they don't have flutes.

                                                P.S. The place was jumping on a Saturday afternoon and had just a nice vibe of people enjoying themselves.

                                                1. It's very good, but not as good as LA. Particularly the service which is slow and not as professional. The seating is very cramped.