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Pizzeria Mozza--Underwhelmed

Couple of quick thoughts about my experience tonight:

1. Timid reception area; otherwise service was good
2. Restaurant designed by Ikea
3. Glass of red wine starts at $14 and goes up
4. Ordered meatball appetizer, came out lukewarm
5. Want bread and olive oil with your meal?...you will be charged $4
6. Ordered the margharita pizza with garlic--$15 for a pie the size of an individual pie from California Pizza Kitchen...was OK, but did not have my toes curling nor my lighting up a cigarette afterward.

Bottom line--I'll pass and let the tourists have the place to themselves.

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  1. Holy shishkabob. So, if you don't mind my asking, what was the total bill? For how many people?

    Sounds grossly overpriced.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DoctorChow

      2 slices each, splitting the 3 meatball appetizer, and 1 glass of red wine each with tax and tip came to $ 37 per person....will pass....came hungry and left hungry....fortunately, Puesto was having their soft opening tonight with free cocktails and food--will definitely be back at this place--love the ambiance and vibe as well as the food at this place so the evening was not a total loss.

      1. re: El Chevere

        Had lunch today at Paulys Pizza Joint on Miramar Rd. Had two large slices for $5 and thoroughly enjoyed it. If I wanted could have walked next door to Vintage Wines or SD Wine Co and picked a nice bottle for $13 which comes to about $5 for a "250 ml glass".

    2. How does it compare to the other locations of Mozza ?

      62 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        Have not been to others.......Mario Batali putting his name to this place is the equivalent of Wolfgang Puck putting his name to one of those franchised Wolfgang Puck Express places.....I've been to mediocre places in Brooklyn that put this place to shame--just underwhelmed as was my Sicilian Italian friend who joined me for dinner.

        1. re: El Chevere

          We like Pizzeria Mozza in LA a lot as it has a quite unique pizza style - and yes the appetizers are quite expensive but $14-17 for the pizza which feeds one is reasonable for the quality

          1. re: honkman

            What do you think is so unique about Mozza pizzas that would justify their price?

            And $14+ for a glass of wine?

            And $4 for the bread and olive oil that most places give you w/o charge?

            Do you remember the video for the song "White Wedding"?

            1. re: DoctorChow

              the red wines start at $14/glass and go up from there.

              1. re: DoctorChow

                The price for pizza at places like Pizzeria Bruno or Caffe Calabria is about $12-17, so that I don't think the price at Mozza is unreasonable. Also we have eaten perhaps 20-30 times at the LA location and think it is one of the best pizzas we had in California also because they use top quality ingredients including a lot charcuterie for the pizzas made in-house. Other top pizza places like Delfina or Ortica with similar excellent pizzas all have similsr prices - you pay for good quality. The style of the pizza has evolved over the years and it is close to NeapoliteN style but still different. (if you like NY style (which I don't care for) this might be not your place)
                Regarding the wine prices - at least at the LA location they don't sell by the glass but by 250 ml (which is a bit more than a regular glass) but wine/alcohol is in every upscale restaurant a key driver to earn money and is often overpriced

                1. re: honkman

                  Honkman, could you please remind us how it's known that the wine volume is 250 ml? Does it say so on the menu?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Thanks. So if their 250 ml servings are $14 - $24, the equivalent prices in terms of 175 ml servings would be $10 - $17. Still a little pricey, but not quite as shocking.

                      1. re: DoctorChow

                        I just don't understand this. Just don't.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Well, here's the esoteric high-level math I used: (175/250)*14=10, and (175/250)*24=17.

                          Whew. My brain is now fried and my calculator is smoking.

                          1. re: DoctorChow

                            For once in my life, the math is easy.

                            It's the interpretation of the result that baffles me.

                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Oh. OK. Sorry.

                              Well, I guess I think that wine prices in a pizzeria that start at $10 (for a standard glass of wine) are a little on the pricey side. I'd expect them to start around $8, max. Just my opinion.

                              A 250 ml serving is pretty generous, in fact maybe even more generous than it needs to be, especially at lunchtime. Not sure I want a third botte of wine with an individual-sized pizza at lunch. I'd rather have a smaller glass. Peference, ipse, just preference.

                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                Well, I guess I think that wine prices in a pizzeria that start at $10 (for a standard glass of wine) is a little on the pricey side. I'd expect them to start around $8. Just my opinion.

                                Again, based on what?

                                This, I must say, is like a thread created by Dali. We've got people comparing pizza from the likes of Mozza, Bruno, et al. to CPK, Luigi, Pizza Port, etc.

                                Then we have people complaining that a $15 pie is expensive, and that a glass of wine at a restaurant for anywhere between $12-17, depending on what you consider a "glass", is exorbitant. There are places that will charge more than that for bottled water. Goodness.

                                I've always sort of stuck up for the SD dining scene, and its denizens, but even I'm losing my faith after this.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Don't lose faith, ipse.

                                  I was indeed shocked at first, but retracted most of my objection to the wine prices when it was clear that we were talking 250 ml vs 175.

                                  Now, I just looked at the drinks menu at Basic, the first place I thought of, and they offer a glass of Merlot for $7. Bet I can find others like that, poking around.

                                  1. re: DoctorChow

                                    Now, I just looked at the drinks menu at Basic, the first place I thought of, and they offer a glass of Merlot for $7. Bet I can find others like that, poking around.

                                    See: http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/34

                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                      Hmmmm...not sure what I'm supposed to look at here.

                                      Anyway, Cheers! And Happy Thanksgiving! :-)

                  1. re: honkman

                    yes, the price is for a quartino which is a glass and a half but they will pour a single glass if you like - at least this is at the LA location.

                    1. re: tastycakes

                      Ha! Now that's news we can use.

                      I've yet to go to Mozza, but I don't care to drink 1/3 bottle of wine with a pizza, particularly since I'm likely to be there around 2 in the afternoon. So it's nice to know they'll pour a regular-sized glass of vino fino. (Hopefully, anyway, at the SD location.)

              2. re: El Chevere

                The nails are in the coffin. As far as I'm concerned.

                1. re: DoctorChow

                  If they opened this place in NY, the chef and GM would be pulling forks out of their eyeballs right about now....again, I'm using NY as the standard but for better tasting pizza and an extra $10 or $20 bill in my pocket I'll take a good pie fresh out of the oven from Luigi's instead any day of the week....I've shared my thoughts and will be curious to see what others think. ....little things bothered me--from the cheap Ikea design to cheap wood floors (instead of tile) that already had scratches 2 days after the place has been open (though I did like the area immediately in front of the wood burning oven and the copper) to charging for bread and olive oil....just didn't dig the place and was underwhelmed with the few dishes I had....sorry, wish I could light up a cigarette from pure ecstasy after eating one of their pies since I live within a 5 minute walk but can honestly say that will never happen.

                2. re: El Chevere

                  This is an unfair comparison. This is nothing like a WP Express franchise. While Batali and his partner are 2 of the owners, it began in L.A. with the hands-on involvement of Nancy Silverton. It became quite popular and as a result they have rolled out a whopping 2 (now 3) additional Pizzeria Mozza's in 6 years. Not a lightning pace.

                  Your disappointment a week into their operation is pretty harsh and the comparisons to Luigi's, etc. are emblematic of why SD still struggles with its dining reputation (make it bigger, cheaper). This place uses quality ingredients and the crust is made by one of the most famous bakers in So. Cal.

                  I agree with another poster who pointed out the wine portions are 250 ml (1/3 of a bottle). Most restaurants get 5 glasses out of a bottle. Also , the pizza prices are dang close to Blue Ribbon Pizza which gets regular props on this board.

                  I, for one, am happy to have Batali, Bastianich (sp?) and Silverton in town. Having eaten at several restaurants owned by them and enjoyed every experience, I am expecting this will be run the same way -- a quality place that I might have to pay a couple extra bucks for. All in all, that would be a welcome addition to the dining scene here.

                  Rather than eat my pie and jump on the board to crap on something that is finally here (that many people have driven to L.A. for), perhaps we should all give them a little time to settle in. I think restaurant reviewers usually wait a few weeks and then give a new place one or two (or three?) tries before expressing an opinion that might dissuade others from trying the place.

                  Perhaps I'll see some of you there in January.

                    1. re: eatemup

                      The margherita pizza was flavorless (regardless of price--cheap, expensive, or free), and the meatball appetizer came out lukewarm,--the fact I am in NY now having truly outstanding pizza from no-name establishments reinforces my opinion. If you are not ready to open up your restaurant, wait. Will the flavor improve 2 or 5 months from now at Mozza?...who knows....I call it the way I see it, sorry if it offends defenders of this particular restaurant, and doubt my 'review' influences many, if any, on this board when it comes to their determining whether to give Mozza a shot. I'm certainly not going to cease nor apologize for expressing my sentiments following a disappointing meal.

                      Anyhoo, this is my last comment on this topic...I wish those who dine at this establishment nothing but the best.

                      1. re: eatemup

                        Thank you for breathing reason into this insane post. I especially agree with:

                        "Your disappointment a week into their operation is pretty harsh and the comparisons to Luigi's, etc. are emblematic of why SD still struggles with its dining reputation (make it bigger, cheaper). This place uses quality ingredients and the crust is made by one of the most famous bakers in So. Cal."

                        Myself and another local food writer checked the place out for the first time last night- we walked in at 5 p.m. to an empty restaurant (which did have an awkward, hotel restaurant kind of vibe) and sat right down. I was shocked at this, and worried that it wouldn't live up to the Mozza hype, but by the time our starters came the place began filling up. By the time we left, swooning, it was packed (on a Wed.).

                        The chicken liver bruschetta was out of this world. Chicken livers sauteed in brandy and finely chopped with the addition of anchovy, capers, garlic and parsley, topped with guanciale. It was rustic and elegant at once. Can't stop thinking about it.

                        We also had a lentil dish- the beans, obviously richened by veal or beef stock, were perfectly cooked and the epitome of Batali's passion for peasant food. We could have done without the fried goat cheese patty that topped it, but I can see why it'd be a popular add with diners- gave it a little more pizzaz than a bowl of beans, but unnecessary.

                        Then came the pizzas. The dough/crust might be the best I've ever had, in flavor, crusty-chew, and how it held up from first bite to last despite toppings like egg and seemingly butter-poached potato slices. The anchovy pie (of course cheese-less, again true to Mario's aversion for ever mixing seafood and cheese) had what's best described as a marinara jam- a sweet layer of tomato sauce that had been reduced to fruity deliciousness. The briny anchovies (like boquerones) were off the charts good. This was the most zesty and flavor packed pie I can remember ever eating, and it had all of three stellar components. Yet another Batali-ism: cook simply using just a few stellar ingredients.

                        We couldn't help ourselves and went for the butterscotch budino for dessert- which was a chilled, not too sweet pudding, on top of a flattened sugar-cone-esque waffle (crisp and light), topped with hot, melted marshmallow and salted Spanish peanuts. It was otherworldly!

                        I'm a cheap bi*ch, and all this plus a digestif came to $80 with tip. Not an every night kind of affair, but once monthly most def!

                        My two criticisms have to do with the layout/packed-like-sardines seating and sterile decor of the place. The use of olive oil as a condiment could have been reduced by 25%. Everything (but the lentils) were slightly oily, but the product's quality made up for it. Tasted great, still.

                        I will need to eat there a couple more times before making any grand claims, but Mozza, at first bite, blew our minds... it was a great value and the staff was attentive without being intrusive, and knowledgable about all preparations and ingredients. This is a PRO's restaurant, and it shows.

                        I have a hard time believing that any pizza there could be described as flavorless- a day in, a week in, whatever. I am of the (minority) opinion that restaurants should open ready for service- no excuses, no "time to settle" or to still be "figuring things out." If that's the case, it should be called a "soft opening" and prices shouldn't be in full. I have doubts that this place opened with issues as significant as flavorless food. Can't remark about the wine prices, but the original poster's bill amount doesn't seem right given what was consumed. I think he/she was drinking Hateraid, not vino.

                        1. re: Granite

                          I am glad you enjoyed your meal....please share with me other must places you enjoy as we obviously have 180 degree opinions. Most people whom I have spoken with agree with my assessment but I thank you for expressing your opinion based on an actual visit--now up to 3 people on this board.....btw, for the same $80 I had dinner this past week at Michaels on Naples in Long Beach which blows away Pizzeria Mozza, both, in terms of quality and quantity--including a speck pizza for an appetizer that was out of this world. Not even close, but don't let me rain on your expertise or parade.

                          1. re: El Chevere

                            Haha. I don't claim to be an expert, just eat a lot of food and know when something's overhyped-BS or well-prepared and worth it. In terms of restaurants I like, I eat cheap most of the time... Yakyudori beef bowls, carne asada anything from El Paisa, Mama's Bakery, Ramen Yamadaya... I eat a lot of pizza from Luigi's and think the Al Capone pasta from Lefty's is damn good... Soda & Swine (the best fries w/ malt vinegar aioli/great prices), Super Cocina... Nine-Ten's burger is the best tasting in town and 1/2 off during happy hour. Just off the top of my head. Happy eating to you!

                          2. re: Granite

                            Even though Batali is co-partner he was relatively little involved in the actual recipe/dish development at the original Pizzeria Mozza (and the "Italian philosophy" is not unique to just him as a restaurateur). Most of the dishes were developed by Molina and Silverton. (And if you liked Pizzeria Mozza you should go to Osteria Mozza soon as it is another (or two) steps up in quality)

                            1. re: honkman

                              I'm actually quite ambivalent about Osteria Mozza. The last time we were there, someone in the kitchen had a very heavy hand with the salt, and we haven't been back since. I am still very interested in trying Chi Spacca, though...

                              And now, back to the SD board...

                              1. re: shouzen

                                Chi Spacca is quite good. Them Italians know how to eat beef (and pig)!

                                Stock up on Lipitor before you go.

                              2. re: honkman

                                Nooooo! :)

                                He's coming to eat soon, according to our server, and I'm buying a pair of orange Crocs for him to sign. He WILL sign them!

                                Would love to try Osteria Mozza someday. Yes, I know re: Italians, was more reminiscing Molto Mario t.v. show days, before Food Network took a dump.

                                1. re: Granite

                                  I think if someone walked up to Mario wearing those Orange Crocs, he'd sign them. As for FN dumping, those were the days, with MM, when cooking technique was still alive and kicking, now sadly missed at least by me.

                              3. re: Granite

                                Folks, we've removed a number of posts from this part of the thread that were more about how people talk about food than they were about food.

                                There were a few with some food info in them, so if anyone wants copies back so they can edit and repost, please drop us a line at moderators@chowhound.com


                              4. re: eatemup

                                Just back from lunch there. Had a fine meat lovers pizza with delicious fennel sausage and bacon. (I want to know how to get that bacon!) We shared the pie and the chopped salad which was almost too much for the two of us. With tasty arnold palmers the bill was $35. I don't think that is an unreasonable bill. However, some of the other appetizers are quite pricey and can run your bill up quickly.

                              5. re: El Chevere

                                Same here, El Chevere. and @honkman:

                                We went to LA's Mozza for the first time on Dec 13, Friday the 13th. We were not NEARLY as pleased with Mozza as our fellow Chowhounds, who overpraise this place for the most part. For three of us, we ordered the carrot side, carmelized brussel sprouts (delicious), nancys chopped salad, the mixed carrot side, brussel sprouts and two pizzas, the margherita pizza and the funghi with fontina.
                                The sides were good, especially the carrot laced with a SMALL, but accessible amount of cumin. It was the best of all. The pizzas were a total disappointment. The margherita pizza came with NO mozzarella, NOT A DROP. We would have returned it to the kitchen, but we thought that was how it was offered. For me that was a BIG fail b/c in my opinion and imagination, the margherita comes laden with the best mozzarella available, better possibly than I can get on my own. I was shocked thinking that it came that way. But we got home and checked the online menu which boasted mozzarella on the Margherita. The funghi pizza was fun, but not special. The chopped salad was good, but strange tasting and dull compared to the carrot mixture. I really wanted to order the Wild caught King salmon, which was identified on the online menu as a Friday night dinner Special, but it was not available at 6PM on Friday night.
                                Big fails all around. Our bill with a bottle of wine was over $177 about sixty dollars per person before the tip.
                                Waaaay too much for that meal and no salmon!

                                The table next to us ordered "the Meat Eaters pizza! ~another house special. Even though they inquired 4 or 5 times, it never came. The house specials all got short shrift! They finally left without getting it, but with anxious apologies from the wait person.

                                I can confidently say that my home pizza is a damn site better. It took me 6 years, much research and much effort, plus cranking up my oven for an hour at convection bake to get my pizza stone to 588+ degrees; it gives me a better pizza than Mozza's. Plus the owners allegedly are crooks stealing from their help.
                                I obsessed on my home pizza b/c the local pizzas did not satisfy and were not consistent, but I really did expect more from Mozza.

                                Some chowhounds suggested that we should have confronted the problem at the restaurant instead of complaining afterward, but we didn't go there to wrangle about their many discrepancies. We had already been in annoying discussion regarding the Friday night special that wasn't, and the next table was in a prolonged hassle for THEIR 'Special' pizza. Its a pizza place for crissakes, and they couldn't get anything right. THEY are the incompetents, so do not blame us for not throwing a fit!

                                The Margherita would not have been greatly improved with mozzarella as it was quite dry and totally unappealing. We simply left it and THEM! How much time and energy should the customer put in to get their food as indicated? We went out to dinner to be served their menu, not parse out each different selection.

                                BIG FAIL

                                1. re: VenusCafe

                                  I've made my fourth and last visit to Mozza. Abysmal service and mediocre food are the main issues. We've had multiple waiters each time--4 or 5 different people-- which results in a stage-worthy farce of confusing and repetitive conversations. We spend more time talking to the staff trying to straighten things out than we doing talking to the people we went to dinner with.
                                  On the last visit, while we waited interminably for our order when there were only three other tables seated, we watched the two hostesses, rude both when we made reservations and entered the restaurant, as they stood and chatted for 20 minutes straight. One spent a good while running her fingers through her hair, which was nauseating, and it got more so when she finally went to the bar and started moving glasses around. They were barely civil to people who came in after us, and made audible comments about a customer who left which were unkind and unprofessional.
                                  We've had food brought that we didn't order and didn't get things that we did. Cauliflower last time was nearly raw, a completely different dish than we had the first time. The sausage on one of our pizzas was cold. I could go on and on.
                                  There seems to be no one in charge.
                                  I've eaten in the Newport Beach location and found everything very close to perfect.
                                  My four visits to this location spread over four months, at different times and days of the week, have been very disappointing.

                                  1. re: nessy

                                    Just asking,

                                    How does such a high-profile, big-name restaurant mess it up so badly that sophisticated, experienced Chowhounds get so upset that they report their disappointments repeatedly and there is no response?

                                    Is it arrogance or indifference?

                                    1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                      The principles don't live here, have no connection to San Diego other than the location appeared to be a good investment.

                                      It's a corporate store that the corporation forgot. I actually had a reservation for tonight that I cancelled after the latest round of bad service/mediocre food reports

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        So now the big strategic question, how long before the funeral?

                                        1. re: cstr

                                          no funeral, it is right next to a Cheescake Factory and flooded with tourists, which sounds perfect for the way it seems to be run down here.

                                          1. re: MrKrispy

                                            Not sure tourists/conventioners can be the sole support of a business long term. Eventually, this place may go the way of The Spaghetti Factory. Time will tell.

                                            1. re: cstr

                                              A brief look on OpenTable is often a reasonable good indicator how business is going (especially on Fri or Sat 6-8pm) - In the moment you don't have any problems to find a table even this evening. Based on experiences with similar Batali restaurants in LV I think they will react to it once they see on a continuously empty tables.

                                              1. re: cstr

                                                Actually, a steady stream of unsuspecting tourists can easily support a restaurant, regardless of its quality (or lack thereof). Look how long KC BBQ has been around. I doubt many locals go there. Or, say, Lou & Mickey's. These are places that don't bother to be good simply because they don't have to be.

                                                1. re: Steve Green

                                                  Oh I don't know, in the case of KC BBQ the only thing that kept them going so long was the link to Top Gun. If not for that, they would have been toast long before the fire, not pun intended. As for Mozza, the corp will not tolerate a meh place for long.

                                            2. re: cstr

                                              They'll want (need) to recoup their investment before they bail, if at all.

                                              Jerry Maguire said it best...FOLLOW THE MONEY...and when the money trail is not what it should be it will get some attention. The B&B empire is not so huge that an under performing store would go unnoticed at some point.

                                              I think Honkman's observation about too many empty table and (potential? probabaly?) revenue shortfalls will eventually raise some red flags and they'll either fix it...or not. But I don't think they'll walk away from either the location or the investment in the near future.

                                              I wouldn't sound the death knell just yet. How are the reviews over on the "Y" site? As bad as they are here?

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                "How are the reviews over on the "Y" site? As bad as they are here?" - Ye(l)p, with many complaining about the service (or lack of)

                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  well, they won their quarter final group in Eater's "SD Best Pizza" poll this week. Further proof (for those that refuse to believe it) showing that the microcosm of SD Chowhound is not representative of real world restaurant success. They had the easiest group in the competition IMO haha. Full disclosure, I voted for Luigi's in that round.


                                                  1. re: MrKrispy

                                                    I can only assume most of the people voting this as best in that group have either never actually dined there, or are voting based on the LA restaurant.

                                                    1. re: MrKrispy

                                                      I haven't tried pizza at Mozza in SD yet but to be worse than Luigi (tried it a few times and similar to Bronx Pizza extremly overrated) is still hard to imagine

                                                      1. re: MrKrispy

                                                        What makes you think that the Eater is a representative population?

                                                        1. re: RB Hound

                                                          Perhaps not wholly representative, but their readers did pick a worthy "Best Pizza" winner in Buona Forchetta, IMO.

                                                          1. re: DoctorChow

                                                            Yeah, with 446 total votes, it shows you even pizza joint owners are suffering from "Best of" poll exhaustion and can't rally their Facebook fans to get over to Eater and vote. Don't worry, there will be another Best Pizza poll next week in San Diego. Don't worry, it won't mean much, either.

                                                            1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                                              Agree. I'm tired of these "Best of" polls too. But Buona Forchetta is in fact a very good pizza joint.

                                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                Agree on Buona Forchetta. Unfortunately, "best of" features seem to have evolved from being a polling tool to becoming a mindlessly dominant form of food journalism. It's definitely the "now" of food journalism in San Diego - Eater, Thrillist, Super Diners, Reader, SD Mag, etc. all do their best to feature as many potential advertisers as possible. It's all just a big Barney hug these days (everyone's a winner!!!) and surprises me people still become "outraged" when a new Zagat poll features the 100 best restaurant in the country or something like that.

                                                                1. re: Stiflers_Mom

                                                                  Outraged greatly overstates matters. I think the word you want is "bemused". :)

                                                                  I think it is a bit unfair to put Eater in with the rest of that group.

                                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                                    I don't think Eater is any better or worse than any of the other sites mentioned - all of them have little meaning other than earning ad money but absolute no food related journalism

                                                                    1. re: honkman

                                                                      That might be a bit harsh. I for one check Eater regularly as one way to help keep informed. SanDiegoVille is another site that I like. I find them useful and interesting.

                                                                      We've been down the anti-"Best of" road on this board before and I agree about that. I've expressed that in previous threads. Didn't think my mention that Eater came up with a darn good pizza restaurant in this latest "Best of" thing would be seen as expressing an opinion otherwise. Anyway, enough on that subject.

                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                        Yeah, but Eater never really says anything about the food. They seem focused on the industry - breaking the story on openings and closings, chef/bartender/owner interviews, links to other new outlets and food forums, and the heatmap/best of style features. I like the interview aspect of Eater, but they stay pretty Switzerland on actually expressing an opinion about a place or the food.

                                        2. re: honkman

                                          I, too, am interested in a Mozza-Mozza comparison. Like honkman, we really enjoy Mozza and go there almost every time we're up in LA.

                                          Perhaps it's just not for you, El C, because I've never had a disappointing meal there. I'd say lunch there typically runs ~$70-80 after tax/tip for the 2 of us, which is fair for the quality and quantity.

                                          1. re: shouzen

                                            Don't get me wrong--my fondness for pizza is not limited to NY style pizza. Besides Luigi's, I happen to like Blue Ribbon Artisan, I really like the flatbread pizzas at The Pony Room (you really can taste their high quality ingredients), and I would even prefer a pizza from the Il Fornaio chain compared to the one I had last night at Mozza....in the LA metro area, I also happen to like Michael's on Naples--rated as the #1 pizza in the USA from Zagat (by them--not in my book, but still good)....charging for bread and the overall size/flavor/value were not there for me...as for the cost for a glass of wine, I will gladly pay a premium for a good wine but I don't know that I would classify this particular location as 'upscale' (not with the Ikea furnishing) and I would be more accustomed to paying those prices at a steakhouse and elsewhere rather than a place that predominantly serves pizza.

                                            1. re: El Chevere

                                              Perhaps they need a bit more time to work out the kinks but from your examples it also sounds like that the style of pizza at Mozza might be not your prefered one (Luigi (lousy pizza imo), BRP and Il Fornaio are quite different).

                                            2. re: shouzen

                                              Pizzeria Mozza is one of my favorite places in LA, and we had one of our best dinners ever at the Osteria a few years ago.

                                              The prices seem fair given the quality of ingredients they are using, but people won't pay a premium if they're not getting an outstanding pizza (or other entrée). BTW, Eater was reporting that our location has a bigger menu. Wonder how that will affect the overall quality.

                                              We have reservations on Friday night and I'm still excited to give it a try. I'm not expecting perfection since they are just opening to the public today, but I'm very interested to see how our local pizzeria compares to LA and will report back.

                                          2. This is an odd review.

                                            To review some of the points you raise.

                                            1. Glass of wine at $14. I usually don't order wine by the glass, but that's pretty typical for wine by the glass (maybe I've just been jaundiced by NYC and SF prices but whatever). The only place I can think of off the top of my head where you won't find a mark-up of that nature in SD are probably in places with retail wine shops like Cucina Urbana. (Even a place like Isola starts most of their wbtg at around $10, and then goes up). And really, without knowing what red you ordered, it's impossible to say whether that mark-up was reasonable or not.

                                            2. An extra $4 for bread and EVOO. I'm ok with that. If you didn't want the bread, don't order it. Better this way than to be given it "free" and then not eat it, but have it folded into the price of your item "ordered" items.

                                            3. $15 for a pie the size of an individual pie from California Pizza Kitchen. This is the most quizzical part of the review. I haven't been to CPK in years, but I just checked their online menu for La Jolla and a CPK pie is on average about $12-13. So you're quibbling essentially over the price of your bread and EVOO. But CPK is the wrong point of comparison for Mozza, me thinks. A better gauge might be places like Isola or Project Pie, both of which have median pie prices around $15. So, whether you liked the pizza or not, using the $15 as point of critique for your argument is off-base.

                                            24 Replies
                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                              1. Wine starts at $14 glass and went up to $20--fine at a high end restaurant serving good wine--this is a pizzeria and the wine was decent, not great, from an Italian vineyard I was unfamiliar with ...place like this might consider adding a $10 chianti, or less, or add more quality wines by the glass, including from California....sometimes (i.e. work weeknight) one glass--not splitting a bottle--is what I am looking for; thus, why I also like the option of being able to order by the glass....would I come to this place strictly for the wine--glass, bottle, or otherwise?--NO.

                                              2. Sorry--charging for bread and olive oil is a non-starter and does not cut it for me....a high end Italian restaurant in this town, such as Baci, provides you with a complimentary basket of fresh baked garlic bread with your dinner....this establishment, not I, is the one that is penny pinching...what's next--if you ask for some extra parmesan cheese to be sprinkled on top of your pizza will they charge you for that, too?....maybe they should change their name to Spirit Airlines Pizzeria should that turn out to be the case.

                                              3. I'm not a fan of CPK, either, and $15 for a pie nearly half the size I can get at Luigi's, I will pass.

                                              This also can boil down to what I also consider the "Inn-n-Out"ization of dining experiences in SoCal....I consider myself old school and judge the flavor of an item in and by itself. To me I often judge how good a pizza is based on the flavor of a plain, simple (or margharita) style. Same thing with a hamburger or steak--I judge the flavor and the quality by the meat alone...I'm not a fan of HAVING to add 2-4 items and/or sauce to give a pizza or piece of meat flavor and that could be a contributing factor to my disappointment with Mozza as well...Without my having garlic added to last night's pizza it would have been flavorless....Mozza has some company in this town with respect to this point--the plain pizza I had at Isola was flavorless and I am not a fan of that place either. On the point of a plain pizza standing on its own merits, almost all my Italian friends agree 100% with me.

                                              Bottom line, $75 to split a small pizza with 2 glasses of wine and lukewarm meatball appetizer and leaving hungry is not a place I will be returning to anytime soon...but, don't let me stop you. Just because someone adds their name to something does not necessarily make it good--I'm not about to rush out and buy a Chrysler 300 because John Varvatos agreed to let Chrysler use his name in exchange for compensation.

                                              P.S...should add Cucina Urbana to the list of places I would much rather go to when I am in the mood for pizza.

                                              1. re: El Chevere

                                                Okay, the $14 for a glass of wine is excessive - in San Diego we typically are paying around $8 for the lowest price wine. $4 for the EVOO and bread is also dumb and cheap. But $15 for a margarita pizza seems legit. Bruno's margarita pizza is $12, $17 if you want mozzarella di bufala.

                                                So, the real question is, how does the pizza compare to Bruno's, Caffe Calabria, or Buona Forchetta?

                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                Have to agree, bread & evoo is not free, it's baked in to the entrée cost. Besides why do you want bread when you're getting a pizza? As for the wine, I think that price per glass is a bit high for said establishment. Lastly, the pie cost seems reasonable, assuming they are using quality, san marzano's, etc.

                                                1. re: cstr

                                                  I won't get into chains not charging for bread and EVOO for fear of being flamed (though isn't Mozza becoming one?), but independent 'high end' places such as Salvatores, Michaels on Naples (Long Beach), Delfina (SF), Caffe Mingo (PDX) do not charge and, as stated above, I get a complimentary basket(s) of fresh baked garlic bread at Baci without being charged...that being the case, I've provided my reasons for not returning....would like to hear from others--including those who have eaten at the one in LA, Singapore and/or Newport Beach--after they have been.

                                                  As for inquiring about bread and EVOO with pizza--maybe because the appetizer and small pizza my friend and I shared left us hungry.

                                                  1. re: El Chevere

                                                    I think part of the issue is that you're paying for the celeb name, thus higher prices. Mozza, IMO, is a chain that I will try here in SD. As for Baci and the complimentary bread basket, have you seen the entrée prices there, IMO, outrageous! That bread basket is far from free! Unfortunately, us Americans expect that bread on the table is always free.

                                                    1. re: cstr

                                                      One could argue that the TCF complementary bread basket contributes more to, ahem, the diabetes and obesity problem in America than the actual "ordered" food, but I won't go there ...

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        OK Josh, sorry, you went there!

                                                      2. re: cstr

                                                        I never said I was not willing to pay for quality....Baci is an Aston Martin Vanquish and Mozza is a John Varvatos Chrysler 300 by comparison.

                                                        1. re: El Chevere

                                                          2014 V12 Vanquish in Orange..Splendido in Portofino..

                                                          68 Bronco..stock, KTM orange..old school classic = Baci's
                                                          (My all time fave car + 911s)

                                                          Mozza's=I'll await my car choice after dining there.


                                                          1. re: El Chevere

                                                            Baci is more of a Toyota Camry - It drives you from point A to point B, absolutely mainstream, nothing exciting or unusual, it's good to have at least this car but not something you are really looking forward to drive or tell others about

                                                            1. re: honkman

                                                              Baci comes with a chauffeur.

                                                              Old school, yes, most definitely.

                                                              Disagree about the 68 Bronco & Camry comparisons. More like a 68 Camaro, a hot car in its day and a classic now. (I owned one of those.)

                                                              1. re: DoctorChow


                                                                ...but no one wants to be caught dead or alive in a 68 Camaro now!

                                                                1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                  Years ago, we had a 68 Firebird convertible and loved that car..

                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                    The Firebird was another great classic, from the same era.

                                                                  2. re: MrKrispy

                                                                    @MrK: I have to agree! So much for car-restaurant comparisons...

                                                                    1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                      Can someone point me to the La Ferrari of SD restaurants?

                                                                      Not a Ferrari, the La Ferrari.

                                                      3. re: ipsedixit

                                                        I agree with most of your points.

                                                        1) The starting price of the wine does seem a little high at $14. That might be my one quibble.

                                                        2) No free bread is fine with me. It's a cost to the restaurant so they shouldn't be forced to take a hit on it. I believe this same discussion came up awhile ago in reference to either Sea Rocket or The Linkery too. Anywho, (non-touristy) restaurants in Italy don't provide bread and olive oil before the meal either and they're starting to get forced into doing so now by American tourists. Shame. Depending on what you order bread will often come along side the other dishes but it's still not a free appetizer.

                                                        3) I agree. The comparison of Mozza to CPK is very strange. A quality small chain versus a cheap large chain. 2 different classes or restaurants that really shouldn't be compared.

                                                        1. re: DougOLis

                                                          Once again, in my original comments, the reference of Mozza to CPK was based on the SIZE (and rather smallish at that) of the pizza not the flavor or quality....the size/lack of value, in combination with the flavor --or lack thereof, factored into my overall disappointment in the pizza.

                                                          1. re: El Chevere

                                                            But wouldn't you say that the Mozza pizza is a good size for one person ? And so I don't really understand you complain about the price for the pizza which is pretty much inline with every other upscale pizza place in California

                                                            1. re: honkman

                                                              (1) for a similar price I can buy a better tasting pie, at least to me, from Luigi's that would be a good size for 2 people (hence, better value and better tasting) and (2) for similar price and similar size I can find pizzas from other places that I prefer and find flavorful without requiring ordering additional toppings to go with the standard sauce and cheese. In the case of the Mozza pizza I had last night, I would have found it bland in and by itself had I not ordered the pie with added roasted garlic. Even with the roasted garlic--or any other item for that matter--it is unlikely I will return.

                                                              As stated, a true test--for me--as to the flavor of a pizza is how it tastes plain (similar analogy to meat or hamburger--I enjoy a steak that tastes great based on the flavor of the meat by itself, not something that requires adding additional ingredients or sauces to give it flavor)...call me old school or unevolved, if you will..

                                                              1. re: El Chevere

                                                                I guess it comes down to preferences of pizza styles - for me Luigi's might be larger but with much, much lower quality of ingredients and lousy taste. Mozza is more about the flavor of the dough and ingredients whereas Luigi is just a salt bomb to make up for low quality

                                                                1. re: honkman

                                                                  I love the flavor of Luigi's sauce (sweet tomato sauce) and cheese and don't need to add anything to it....now, the quality can vary there......pies are good fresh out of the oven and, in particular, when Luigi is there...if you are in the market for a slice that has been sitting around for a few hours and needs to be reheated by their often inconsistent hipster staff, that's another matter altogether....now for a pie with added ingredients, I have to repeat I love the flatbread pizzas at The Pony Room (Rancho Valencia resort)--you can tell the salami and sausage is extremely high quality, crust is crispy, and I ask and always top it off with some of the 18 month old parmigiano-reggiano cheese (also very high quality) that they bring out fresh for me and/or from next door at Veladora.

                                                                  1. re: honkman

                                                                    I agree with Honkman, Luigi's and Bronx and that class seem to have much lower quality ingredients compared to the Brunos/Cafe Calabria places. The latter places seem to have pies of similar size and price compared to Mozza. I get a very distinct impression of high quality from the tomatoes used at Brunos/Cafe Calabria compared to the NY style places, and real San marzano tomatoes (for example) are heads above others (in price as well).

                                                                    Don't get me wrong, I enjoy grabbing sliced from the NY style places, but I don't see a quality-of-ingredients in comparison.

                                                        2. I went to check it out on Monday night (opening day). My husband and I arrived a little before 6, with no reservations, and were told that the only available table was on the patio. We opted to take it, even though it was chilly and they don't have heaters out there (yet?). We had the fried squash blossoms, Mozza caprese, pane bianco (the $4 bread referenced above), a Brussels sprouts pizza, the butterscotch budino, and two quartinos of red wine for a total of $93 before tip. I've dined at the Mozzas in LA and Newport Beach before (once each), and I thought the food here was comparable - and good. I can't compare the spaces, since we didn't really see the inside of the location here (we were escorted from the host stand just inside the front door straight back outside to our table and didn't take time to wander inside). I love that caprese (burrata, pesto, and roasted cherry tomatoes) with the warm pane bianco and I would happily go back just for that.

                                                          1. I agree, the $14 starting price for a glass of red wine brings some sticker price shock, but I wonder how much the seemingly higher pricing has more to do with the elevated rent they must be paying for Port owned land than the celebrity owned quotient.

                                                            6 Replies
                                                            1. re: foodiechick

                                                              Wine prices at P Mozza are the same as in LA and Newport Beach but at both locations you will get 250 ml of wine (which is more than a regular glass of wine). I am curious how much they serve in SD

                                                              1. re: honkman

                                                                $14 for a third of a bottle of wine does not sound that unreasonable to me and the pizza prices are not out of line. However I doubt I will race down there to eat. I really don't like dealing with the traffic and the tourists. Blue Ribbon suits me just fine up here in NC.

                                                                1. re: littlestevie

                                                                  And therein lies the rub....which is too bad. Is the pizza SO good that people travel into downtown to dine there? Is the goal of the Port to attract locals? Or cater specifically to the convention crowd? The main entrance faces the direction of the convention center, so I suspect their target audience is everyone EXCEPT local clientele. The "brand" is Sunny San Diego Pretty Water View, so people can oooh and ahh, but they can also feel right at home with familiar places, CF, Starbucks, etc.....Conventioneers are not necessarily tourists, they possibly HAVE to attend a meeting/function, etc...The Port wants them to feel good, pretty new scenery, with familiar warm blankety food.

                                                                  1. re: Dagney

                                                                    the Puesto restaurant seems like a place I, a local who lives 5 minutes away, might frequent on a fairly regular basis.

                                                                    1. re: Dagney

                                                                      exactly....they've brought a little bit of familiar, suburban homogeneity to downtown.

                                                                2. re: foodiechick

                                                                  One point I forgot to include: this starting price for wine by the glass was for their own private label wines. Shouldn't private label wine be less expensive?...again, I have no problem paying this amount and higher for an established wine brand, not private label....if I am wrong, I will be more than happy to sell anyone on this board some vintage Il Fornaio private label red wine for a bargain price of $100/bottle :)

                                                                3. We tried Pizzeria Mozza on Friday and had a bit of a different take from El Chevre. Granted, I may have come in with a bias because we've been to Mozza in LA and had great food and service, but here are my thoughts:

                                                                  Reception area is small but I'm going to cut them a little slack since they're working in a historical building and are trying to maximize space for dining. The night we were there was rainy, outdoor seating was unavailable and all of the bar seating was being held for people who had reservations. Not sure if this will always be the case, but it's a little odd to me that you wouldn't have ANY seats in the bar available for people to have a drink while they wait for their table.

                                                                  I thought the design/décor was fine for a pizzeria - lots of dark wood and warm earth tones.

                                                                  We drank a delicious Montepulciano, which my husband said was "really reasonable." Don't know the exact cost per bottle.

                                                                  Fried squash blossoms were fabulous. Brussels sprouts appetizers good - but served cold (didn't notice that ws how they were intended to be served. Silly me. I was disappointed because I thought they would be hot).

                                                                  Pizza with potatoes, bacon and fried egg on top was my hands down favorite. Definitely comparable to the one I've had in LA Mushroom pizza also excellent. Pizza with leeks and greens just OK.

                                                                  Dessert was a butterscotch budino that my party loved (I don't do that texture, so I didn't try it). Our server also delivered a second ice cream sundae type dessert on the house for squeezing us into a small table, which I thought was really nice (tasty too).

                                                                  Overall they had a few kinks with seating to work out, but the food was - mostly - top notch and service warm and capable. I will definitely give them a few weeks to work out those kinks and return.

                                                                  14 Replies
                                                                  1. re: melee

                                                                    In spite of my initial shock and awe at the prices here, I think that, based on the totality of reviews on this thread, I owe it to myself to just go and decide on my own. Prices might not be nails in the coffin after all. I think I'll follow your thinking and wait a while, though. Nice review.

                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                        "Bothers" is really in the past tense at the moment, and tentative until I've been there.

                                                                        But, the three possible things that might bother me are some of the same things that put off El Chevere in the first place.

                                                                        (1) For an individual pizza, it'd better be in the gourmet category for me to happily spend $15;

                                                                        (2) $14 (minimum) for a glass of wine is high. Period. They should have some offerings at $8 - 9. This isn't George's.

                                                                        (3) And there's the bread thing. If you add $4 for bread, that brings your $15 individual pizza up to $19. No, I don't need bread with pizza anymore than I need bread with pasta. But it's a nice touch and was a welcome included side at Baci's, Busalacchi's, and Bencotto, three of the places I've been to this month for pasta (a brazen plug for our DotM thread).

                                                                        But, as I said, I'm going to go see for myself. I'll either be unhappy with the prices or not, based on my own ideas of quality and "value". And then I can choose to go back for more, or not.

                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                          Those things are really par for the course. And impossible to judge in a vacuum.

                                                                          I mean people will pay something like $8+ for a burger at Burger Lounge when one can easily get a burger at Mexican Fiesta for $2+. Can't just stare at the menu and say, "Gawd, Burger Lounge is a total ripoff!"

                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                            That's exactly why I want to see for myself, ipse.

                                                                            1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                              It's not just that.

                                                                              There are many places in SD that charge comparable (if not more) for a similar pie. That's almost the going rate these days.

                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                There are also plenty of places in San Diego where, for the same money, the pizza is larger and, most importantly, has more flavor. Curious to see Doctor C's review after he has had an opportunity to visit.

                                                                                1. re: El Chevere

                                                                                  That's just it, though.

                                                                                  If a person already believes it's expensive or overpriced going in, then they just should not go.

                                                                                  Because if they go, half of them will be trying to justify the quality of the food based on the price paid, which inhibits, if not neuters, the ability to appreciate the quiddity of the food.

                                                                                  A situation like that forces the person to spend an inordinate amount of time justifying the price paid. It's not conducive to a meaningful dining experience.

                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    Ipse, I can assure you that, when I go, I won't be spending my dining time thinking about the price! I'll assess value after the fact.

                                                                                    Arrgh. Now I feel like I should go sooner than later, contrary to my earlier response to melee's post.

                                                                                    But not this week...

                                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    Others have made that point.

                                                                                    For me, ANY (pardon the caps, but no italics here) $15 individual pizza had darn well better be gourmet, or just "forget about it". Based on some of the comments on this thread, the pizza at Mozza might fit the bill. But others don't agree. Seems to boil down to preference.

                                                                                    So I'm willing to brave the reported parking Nazi's around Headquarters to go and form my own opinion.

                                                                                    1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                      Park at Horton Plaza, then walk over.

                                                                                      You can burn some calories and save enough $ to try that bread basket.

                                                                                        1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                          I kid you not. I would not do you wrong.

                                                                      2. A data point from Kirbie's Cravings says that the pizza at the SD location is not up to par with the other locations. Her blog post even has comparison photos, haha!

                                                                        1. I don't really like to go out for pizza because I can make better at home. But when i do here are my favorites all with reasonable prices for pizza and wine / beer:

                                                                          Pandora's in Leucadia
                                                                          Pizza port Carlsbad
                                                                          Wine Steal Cardiff

                                                                          I drink a lot of wine and would never pay $14 for a glass unless it was something I knew was good and sold retail for at least $35 a bottle. I scanned their wine list and found this:

                                                                          2010 La Mozza I Perazzi, Morellino di Scansano DOCG, Italy

                                                                          This sells retail for $14 a bottle and they are selling it for $14 a glass which is an huge rip off. The ratings on it are not stellar either.

                                                                          23 Replies
                                                                          1. re: pantani

                                                                            Pizza Port has good beer but really crappy pizza. (And as written many times before Mozza is not selling their wine by the glass but by 250 ml)

                                                                            1. re: honkman

                                                                              And as also pointed out it is their own private label, house wine--not branded wine.

                                                                              1. re: El Chevere

                                                                                La Mozza winery might be owned by them but it is not a house wine. It is a regular wine label/brand you can buy in wine shops and find ratings in wine magazines

                                                                              2. re: honkman

                                                                                Their pizza is hardly gourmet, but "really crappy?"

                                                                                I disagree. Greatly.

                                                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                  Pizza Port is like Dominos with tables and a large local beer selection.

                                                                                  So whether their pizzas "really suck" just kind of depends on your opinion of Dominos.

                                                                                  My guess is that honkman's opinion of Dominos is very very far south of mediocre. But that's just a guess, however.

                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                    I don't think they are the end all of end alls, but Pizza Port's pizzas are a lot better than Domino's. They certainly are better than Bronx Pizza, who gets their ratings tripled because they have something "New York" in their name.

                                                                                    Whose pizza do you like, Ipsy? Whose don't you like? All these posts in this thread, and no opinions whatsoever. If I didn't know better, I'd accuse you of being a second account for Fakey.

                                                                                    1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                      Buona Forchetta, Bruno, Basic, and Project Pie.

                                                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                        Um. . .no. I'll make sure to discount RB Hound's pizza choices in the future.

                                                                                        1. re: jmtreg

                                                                                          I didn't say Pizza Port Pizza was my choice; I was saying the Domino's comparison was absurd. And why would one go there expecting a Neapolitan style pizza?

                                                                                          Now had Honky said "Round Table", I probably would have agreed.

                                                                                    2. re: RB Hound

                                                                                      Had the pizza for the first time recently (and didn't go with high expectations as they are known for their beer) but the pizza was simply some of the worst in a long time and sadly I would actually prefer one from Dominos

                                                                                      1. re: honkman

                                                                                        Of course it's somewhat a matter of taste, but I think most people would agree that Pizza Port pizza is not very good. Especially if you like thin crust, nicely charred pizza. They make a very unappetizing salad as well. Overall not a great place to eat.

                                                                                        Their beer is legend, however, and the lines are often out the door. I suspect that if PP made even a decent pizza, they'd rule the world!

                                                                                        1. re: steveprez

                                                                                          Framing a Pizza Port pizza worthiness compared to NY style is just as silly as framing it relative to Chicago pan pizza or Brunos style....all are absurd.

                                                                                          Also, FWIW you can get whole grain crusts and thin crust pizzas at Pizza Port.

                                                                                          1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                                            The one thing I have noticed over the years is Pizza Port tends to be really inconsistent. One time it's great, one time it's so-so. It also tends to be much more hit or miss in the summer. The salads have never been a problem, while the dressing is pretty generic, the greens have always been fresh. I used to get take out a lot from them, when I could walk there, but since we moved north, don't go there as much. While not my favorite pizza, I still get one on occasion, and I will take them over Dominos any time. Unless of course Mr. Honkman knows about a super secret Dominos that is best in the world.

                                                                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                  Sorry, Dining Diva - wasn't the angle I had intended at all. That's so old school I forgot about the term.

                                                                                                  1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                    I'm sure there was absolutely no ill intent on your part :-)

                                                                                                    Remember, I am an antique; I lived through the 60s

                                                                                                    1. re: DiningDiva

                                                                                                      One thing is for certain - I'm definitely going to this place now (maybe in a few months). No way I can avoid it with the length of this thread. I won't be getting wine by the glass, which is just as well because I need to save up for the KraftBeerShake I'll have for dessert somewhere nearby.

                                                                                                      1. re: RB Hound

                                                                                                        No kidding. "Fifteen Billionty Posts..." to quote GJ's child. And this is the fifteen billionty and first.

                                                                                                        I'll be going too, maybe early Jan.

                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                          No, we're currently revisiting them because all the weird, wild, wacky and revolutionary stuff that happened then is coming home to roost. Not with those of us that successfully negotiated the 60s but all of those who came after us and just don't get it.

                                                                                                          1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                            Took the words right out of my mouth, foodiechick.

                                                                                    3. "Fifteen Billionty Posts About Pizza", to quote the child who reads over my shoulder.

                                                                                      "I like DiGiorno pizza and wine is naasssty - please give me Cranberry Sprite," she declared.

                                                                                      Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

                                                                                      1. Not taking any position on the food/wine/cost debate, but reservations at Mozza are now into January, and walk-ins are waiting 1.5 hours.

                                                                                        Mostly locals with a sprinkling of conventioneers.

                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                            1.5 hours? I'll wait till the love/hate curve levels out.

                                                                                            1. re: cstr

                                                                                              Agreed. But good that it's successful.

                                                                                          2. I can finally add a data point.

                                                                                            Went today for lunch, figuring that most people would be too busy shopping and recovering from Thanksgiving to eat at Mozza. I was right. Walked in at about 12.30 and we were seated immediately.

                                                                                            Ordered fried squash blossoms, pane bianco, and two pizzas. All very good. Crust of pizzas thinner than LA/Newport Beach, but crisp, nicely blistered and delicious, although the dough tasted slightly on the bland side. Server said they are still trying to nail the crust consistently.

                                                                                            They sent out a comped order of arancini because the pizzas were slow out of the oven. It was mediocre.

                                                                                            Main issue is speed. They have 2 ovens, but food seems to take a long time here - hopefully they work that out. Apparently, they are still finalizing the non-pizza items on the menu. All in all, nearly as good as the original. Maybe quality suffers when they're busy (as other posts might suggest), but we did not experience that here with a relatively quiet dining room.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: shouzen

                                                                                              I trust that you took out a second mortgage before going? And snuck in your own bread and EVOO from home, right?

                                                                                              Re: speed. I am told that the restaurant is not up to full capacity in the back or front of the house, yet.

                                                                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                I suppose if one were so inclined, they could fill up with cheese samples from Venissimo next door

                                                                                                1. re: shouzen

                                                                                                  Venissimo is also doing very well so far. And, IMHO, deservedly so.

                                                                                            2. Good and helpful review.

                                                                                              1. Had a very nice lunch at Mozza. Service was friendly, from the cheerful duo at the reception (of course the were very giggley over my husband's name - which is quite funny), to the enthusiastic yet slightly sarcastic (my kind of humor) bartender who took great care of us while we dined at his station.

                                                                                                Shared the meatball appetizer with a glass of Batali and Bastiach's Flor Prosecco. Good size meatballs with tasty sauce that had a bit of a bite to it, topped with two slices of grilled rustic bread with a garlicky, parsley butter. Ding, ding, ding: there's your free bread.

                                                                                                Moved on to Nancy's chopped salad which was very substantial and the prosciutto pizza with tomato, mozzarella and topped with fresh arugula. Loved both, perfect crust on the pizza. We took about half of each of those items home because we wanted to try dessert. The butterscotch budino lived up to the hype, surpassing the other fine renditions at Bankers Hill and Blue Ribbon Rustic Kitchen IMHO.

                                                                                                The chopped salad held up well for a few hours when we tackled it again for dinner. The leftover pizza was obviously a bit soggy from the moisture of the meat, but the flavor transcended the texture and the outer crust remained very crisp.

                                                                                                Only downer was the red wine prices, although they are a generous pour. $24 for a single serving of Super Tuscan? Come on!

                                                                                                While it probably won't be on our tight rotation, we will be back...sans Super Tuscan.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                  The butterscotch budino is truly a gem. Just a genius creation.

                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                    Agree big time - best dessert EVER.

                                                                                                  2. re: foodiechick

                                                                                                    Great report! We went back this weekend with the kids and had many of the same items you ordered: meatballs, chopped salad, plus a few pizzas and the squash blossoms.

                                                                                                    Both of the girls had the caramel copetta (gelato with marshmallow cream and salted peanuts) and we all scraped the bowls clean. I'm not a budino fan - don't like the texture - but I doubt I'll ever get them to try the budino over this dessert. We all loved it.

                                                                                                    Side note: the kids also really liked checking out the old jail cells and looking at the old mug shots. The headquarters is a great addition to downtown. So happy to see LA hotspots Mozza & Kitson alongside local favorites like Seaside Papery, Geppetos and Venissimo in a restored historical building. I hope they all succeed.

                                                                                                  3. Adding fuel to the fire, so to speak, heh heh, go to this article from Serious Eats:

                                                                                                    'The Serious Eats Guide To Pizza In Naples'


                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: Gypsy Jan

                                                                                                      I went to Naples in June and used Kenji's guide to help set most of my itinerary. The man can just be fully trusted.

                                                                                                      The funny thing is, is that I don't think I paid over 4 or 5 Euro for a pizza there whereas the exact same thing would probably start at $13 here. And damn were they good.

                                                                                                      1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                        Wonder if NSA knows about the leak...

                                                                                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                          Despite the name, they don't serve any Mozza Ball Soup!

                                                                                                          1. re: Fake Name

                                                                                                            "was OK, but did not have my toes curling nor me lighting up a cigarette afterward."

                                                                                                            ......LOL...that was my quote.

                                                                                                            1. re: El Chevere

                                                                                                              Haha, love it - such evocative prose!

                                                                                                              1. re: El Chevere

                                                                                                                Yes, that's why I called it to your attenting. I though you might get a kick out of it.

                                                                                                            2. I decided to try this place. Had a bit of a snafu which is why I won't be back but that's due to my own stupidity.... the parking in the area is a major turn off, as the parking in front looked like it was "street" parking and not seeing meters, I erroneously thought it was free.

                                                                                                              The wine was expensive... $20 for a glass and a half though I enjoyed it. The pie was as Chevere said but... I can't really decide if I liked it or not. I didn't like the sauce initially but it grew on me. The caprese was a huge disappointment... the buffala was good but 4 grape sized tomatoes is not a proper caprese. WTF.

                                                                                                              Isola, Calabria, Bruno, Forchetta, even Buca Di Beppo's all make a neopolitan pie that's superior to Mozza's. Not saying Mozza's was bad, but for the cost, there's better out there.

                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: mig0sd

                                                                                                                  Much like the parking snafu, ordering a caprese in Feburary is not a good idea.

                                                                                                                  1. re: mig0sd

                                                                                                                    Did that $20. glass of wine include the parking fine?

                                                                                                                    1. re: cstr

                                                                                                                      No, that was an additional $20.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mig0sd

                                                                                                                        Hmmmm...that's probably less than it would've cost to take a taxi.

                                                                                                                  2. I was a bit confused about how poor the ratings were for this place, given it's pedigree and the success of the LA restaurant. But as soon as we sat down we started to suspect things weren't going to go well. The service was wildly confused, the food wasn't good, our order got messed up, even our waitress seemed ashamed of how things were going. The service wasn't just off, it was really really bad from the time we sat down to the time we left. I would have been shocked if I'd gotten service this bad at Denny's.

                                                                                                                    When we sat down a waiter came to ask if we wanted bottled or tap water. Fast service, nice. But then seconds later another waiter came to ask us the same thing. Seconds after that a third waiter asked yet again the same question. Not a huge deal, but slightly annoying by the third time. On it's own that would have been just odd, but that level of unorganized and amateurish service continued throughout the meal. Our appetizer was not what we ordered, the pizzas arrived over 30 minutes after the (correct) appetizer was done, after the pizzas arrived no one ever asked if we liked them or needed anything, after telling the waitress we needed to be on our way soon she left with my credit card and didn't return for about 15 minutes. Etc etc. This was not in a packed restaurant. It was maybe 1/4 full and there were probably more staff than customers.

                                                                                                                    I was hoping I could at least like the pizza, but it was one of the most poorly made pies I've ever had. The crust was so thin you could literally see through it. Not like a cracker crust thin, but more the consistency of a boiled cabbage leaf.

                                                                                                                    The final insult is of course the price. For two people our bill was $80 before tip. Add to that the outrageous parking fee. I felt ripped off. And I never feel ripped off. The day before we'd spent $90 at Churchill's and I felt like I got plenty of value.

                                                                                                                    Honestly one of the worst dining experiences I've ever had.

                                                                                                                    1. I think maybe I’m the last kid on the block to try this place, but today I was in a pizza mood and so had lunch at Mozza downtown. The place was almost deserted, so I encountered no problems with seating, and of course got good service. Unlike ElC, who referred to it as "designed by Ikea", I rather liked the simple, minimalist setting/décor, but could easily have done without the cutsie printed paper placemats; plain ones, or some with a stylish logo maybe, would have been more in keeping with what I was expecting to find.

                                                                                                                      I ordered the Napolitana pizza, which came with a thin layer of tomato sauce and anchovies, and was topped with halved grape tomatoes, capers, some very good tiny brown pitted olives (don't know what kind they were), blobs of buffalo mozzarella, and herbs. All of the ingredients were clearly first class, and the combination was intensely flavorful.

                                                                                                                      The crust on this $22 12" pizza was a huge disappointment, though. The puffy outer rim was about one and a quarter inches wide, meaning that the flat area in the middle where those delicious toppings were was maybe 9-1/2 inches in diameter. Of that, the crust in a five inch circle around the center was completely soaked through and mushy, and could only be eaten with knife and fork. The remainder of the flat part was firm enough to be manageable by hand, but still not at all crisp. Just firm enough to not flop down when I picked it up by the outer crust. The only really crisp part of the crust was that big, wide, puffy, outer crust. That part was good; perfectly baked.

                                                                                                                      I won’t be going back for more. That’s a steep price to pay for a fresh-baked crispy bread ring (the puffy outer crust), plus an extremely thin, mushy-to-just-manageable nine inch flatbread and a few toppings (howbeit very good toppings).

                                                                                                                      Not nearly enough value, IMO. I was "underwhelmed", as ElC said in his original post.

                                                                                                                      I left kind of unhappy, so I was gladdened when I was able to take home some Chebris, a sublime French Pyrenees sheep and goat cheese, from Venissimo next door.

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                        Mozza pizza is a not made to be eaten by hand and will always flop down. Napolitean style are always "soggy" in the middle ( but I also heard that they are still not up to the same level of quality as their original location)

                                                                                                                        1. re: honkman

                                                                                                                          "Mozza pizza is a not made to be eaten by hand and will always flop down."

                                                                                                                          Well, that's gross, and it's not pizza.

                                                                                                                          1. re: y6y6y6

                                                                                                                            Than I guess you will find Napolitean style pizza (even though Mozza is not exact this style) gross.

                                                                                                                            1. re: y6y6y6

                                                                                                                              I can't eat the center sections of Bruno's, Cafe Callabria, or Buon Forcetta's pizzas either....I guess you should march in there and proclaim they are not serving pizza either. Then fly to the Italian region that created the pizza, and in your khaki short, white socks, and sandals, proclaim to every Italian in earshot that what they make is not pizza.

                                                                                                                              1. re: MrKrispy

                                                                                                                                No, Bruno's, Cafe Callabria, and Buon Forcetta do not have a center section where the crust has the look and consistency of an over-boiled cabbage leaf.

                                                                                                                            2. re: honkman

                                                                                                                              Well, OK. I'll defer to your expertise. But that's not my personal preference. I like a thin, crispy/chewy crust. I'm very happy with a sorta-soggy center -- on top -- but not with a squishy, deteriorated "crust". If a slice sags/droops a little after it's been at the table for awhile, ok, but I'm talking completely structureless here. Even as I sawed through the mushy "crust" with a knife, it mushed up more. That just wasn't what I was craving or expecting.

                                                                                                                              I think two things could have come into play here:

                                                                                                                              First, I'm speculating, I don't know, but I don't think the pie was brought to my table immediately from the oven. It was warm but not hot, not even the outer crust. If so, that would give the liquid more contact time with the crust. A pie like this in a place like this should be brought to the table with no gap in time whatsoever after baking.

                                                                                                                              Second, I think that a pie that has "liquidy" toppings like halved fresh grape tomatoes should only be sliced moments before it's carried to the table, maybe even sliced right at the table by the server. That would reduce the amount of liquid that gets under the crust. Maybe they did that, again I don't know. Just a thought.

                                                                                                                              Anyway, for my $22 + tip, I was expecting something much more. Not a little more, MUCH more. The toppings at Mozza were great. The end-to-end "product", meh, not worth it -- not for me. That's IMO and for my money, but it's why I won't be returning.

                                                                                                                              1. re: DoctorChow

                                                                                                                                DrC, you are trying your best to be graceful but, it sounds like the pizza just wasn't good. I can't stand a soggy dough, it just takes away from the whole taste/texture thing. I try to limit the toppings especially where they may add moisture to the top of the pizza. IMO, the dough has to be crisp on the edges and, most important, the bottom.

                                                                                                                          2. So I finally tried Mozza on Saturday, and had a few thoughts:

                                                                                                                            1. Unlike Troy Johnson's review, the service was okay. The waiters interrupted a bit, but they were attentive and knowledgeable.

                                                                                                                            2. The cocktails were good, but expensive (a common theme).

                                                                                                                            3. The pizzas are sort of a Neapolitan/New York hybrid. The pizzas are small (10 inches), and the crust was more like a New York or New Haven style pizza - crunchy. Also, there was a char, but not a lot of smokiness. Also, the pies are expensive.

                                                                                                                            4. The salumi was phenomenal. My SO and I split the pane pomodoro with burrata and speck, and then I had a pizza with finocchina (salami with fennel) and Fresno chilies. Both were excellent.

                                                                                                                            5. The butterscotch budino was great, but had a bit too much salt - I wanted a bit of saltiness at the beginning, and then have straight butterscotch. Instead, there were layers of salt in the budino. Good dish, but expensive.

                                                                                                                            Overall, Mozza is very good, but if you want true Neapolitan style, Bruno's, Buona Forchetta, or Caffe Calabria have better pizzas. Still, it would be awesome if any of these places had a full liquor license.