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Settebello Newport

I was able to secure an invitation to a private party / soft opening at Settebello Newport this evening. As regular readers know, I'm a huge fan of the DOC at the Pasadena location. Tonight, the crust was on point, the sauce was on point but, the buffalo mozzarella was lacking. In Pasadena, the buffalo mozzarella melds with the sauce to create this pink crack sauce. In Newport, the buffalo mozzarella did not meld with the sauce at all. Additionally, the beers on tap were all flat with no carbonation. They need to work on their delivery system for their tap beers. Parking was a bitch. The room is spacious and beautiful.

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  1. Parking was a bitch? It's a strip mall. If you parked by the Trader Joe's, the most you could possibly have walked was 5 minutes!

    Anyways, I also went tonight. What an amazing deal! Free food and drinks. As much as you want of everything. We did four appetizers and four pizzas.

    I myself did not order the DOC so I cannot comment on the mozzarella. I wonder why yours didn't meld. Temperature? Different cheese? Who knows. I split the settebello, the regular margherita, and the carbonara. All truly superb.

    Truly is a gorgeous space. I fear that it is so wonderful that it may soon have a very Javier's vibe to it.

    If you're in the OC, they are having another friends and family night tomorrow. I called them tonight at 8:30 and they accommodated us wonderfully, although we were not on the list yet. I imagine you could do the same thing tomorrow.

    Logistically, they are opening for real on Monday. But won't be doing lunch for a week or two according to our waitress.

    1 Reply
    1. re: set0312

      Yes, parking, in the strip mall, was a bitch. Including the area in front of Trader Joes. Walking was not the issue. Finding a spot was. I was there at 7:15. You were obviously there later and the parking had apparently improved.

    2. In hindsight, I wonder if perhaps they just got our order wrong and we didn't receive the buffalo mozzarella at all but, received the regular Margherita instead.

      1 Reply
      1. re: JAB

        Here's a couple photos from last night. The DOC marg is unfortunately not very visible in the first photo but it is the bottom pie.

      2. I also went last night as part of the free dinner deal. Had a blast! I was really impressed that there seemed to be no limitation on what we could order as part of the promotion. Our table enjoyed a well-made Old Fashion, a Stone IPA (it was a bit less fizzy than normal as noted by JAB), a cucumber/gin cocktail, the DOC Margherita, the Settebello pizza, 4 apps (polenta bites, duck crostini, Roma salad, foccacia) and an order of zeppole to finish off.

        The foccacia was a tad too salty and the zeppole was a bit chewy and tough (like the batter over-mixed) but everything else kicked ass. This was my first time at a Settebello so I have no prior experiences with the chain to which I can compare the DOC margherita pizzas. Was it as good as the special margherita at Tony's Pizza Napoletana in SF? Not IMHO, but it was delicious nonetheless. Flavorful and chewy crust, bright sauce and fresh ingredients. For me, Pizzeria Ortica now has some serious competition in the OC Neapolitan pizza department. Plus, the space is very open and nicely designed. I like the trees located throughout the restaurant.

        My SO and I were impressed and will definitely return. With our toddler. It seemed very family-friendly, which is not always the case for the other dining options in the Crystal Cove shopping center.

        Parking was tough but we lucked out and found parking almost in front of the restaurant.

        1. Any recent CH visits? Few reviews on Yelp and TripAdvisor have not been great?

          4 Replies
          1. re: josephnl

            I only note 2 reviews on Yelp with one of them being a 5 star review (the other is 2 stars). There are two reviews on Trip Advisor with one of them being a repeat of the 2 star review that is posted on Yelp. The second review on TA is a complaint about "wet" and "soggy" pizza, which is probably a complaint on Neapolitan styled pizza in general.

            I went again last weekend and found the DOC pizza solid but in need of a bit more basil. Enjoyed the salad and Vicco pizza in addition to the DOC. The service could be quicker but I still like the place. I feel like the room was a bit empty when I went on a Sunday afternoon but that could have been the timing. Based on the dearth of online reviews, however, I fear that the Newport/OC crowd is too carb conscious for this place to succeed. I really hope it does succeed.

            1. re: Searching4Dunny

              searching4dunny-- Some of the waiters/waitstaff are fantastic and some of them not so much. One of the waitresses was actually the manager at the Pasadena location--she is awesome.

              I talked to her about how they were doing and she was 100 percent confident they would succeed. I hope she's right.

              1. re: set0312

                Good to know. Thanks for the info. Yes, I hope she is right too. I plan to patronize the place often.

            2. re: josephnl

              I go a couple times a week. One hundred percent worth going to, although they haven't yet achieved the consistency with the pizza that they eventually will. With that being said, their good pizzas are still perfect--as good as the Nevada or LA locations.

            3. In a taste test, is there actually any difference between bufala and inferior mozarrella when it's melted down at such high temps? I love bufala, and I love Napoli pizza, but mozzarella loses all of its subtlety when melted.

              1 Reply
              1. Just had dinner at Settebello, Newport Beach for the first time. Overall, it was a good experience…but not without room for improvement.

                The atmosphere/ambiance is very attractive and pleasant. Interestingly, half of the restaurant and bar are totally uncovered, and with no way of covering them when it rains. I can see this working for the dining room where there is an easily enclosable dining area…but half of the bar is open to the sky with no protection. We'll see! Nevertheless, the area is very attractive and pleasant.

                We started with drinks, me a martini and my partner a negroni. They advertise themselves as serving "craft cocktails" and pride themselves on serving spirits from small producers and avoiding the more common brands. Therefore they did not have my favorite Bombay sapphire in the bar…but they did have Beefeaters gin, Tanquerey gin, and several very common vodkas…Ketel One, etc. This is a trend I cannot understand. Certainly it's fine to have spirits from small producers and encourage guests to try them, but when you know that many guests will want something as basic as Bombay Sapphire, it makes no sense not to stock it. OK…even if I can accept that, Settebello must serve the smallest, most measured drinks anywhere in Orange County. My $16 gin martini was the smallest I've been served anywhere.

                Our server was very pleasant and professional. The service was fine.

                The starter salads we had were good, but not outstanding. Certainly not is the same league as the excellent salads at P. Mozza. We did note some charcuterie boards, and bruschetta going by, and they looked better.

                The main attraction…the pizzas…were excellent. We had both a margherita and a diavolo pizza. They were both terrific. The margherita could have had more basil on it, but am sure on request they would have added extra. The diavolo, was spicy and delicious. The crust was perfectly cooked Neopolitan style, floppy in the center, chewy at the edges, and nicely speckled with brown at the edges and on the bottom. Really very good.

                I had a nice glass of excellent beer with my pizza, and my partner had a nice glass of red wine. The list is small, but has some good choices.

                We went at 5 o'clock and the restaurant was empty. By the time we left at 6:15, there were other customers there, but it was far from busy. The bar was pretty empty…but with the small drinks they serve, this was no surprise.

                There is major opportunity for improvement in the bar and with their salads, but the main act (pizza) is definitely solid!

                7 Replies
                1. re: josephnl

                  I very much agree with the small drink sizes. On two separate occasions (I went one time for drinks and not for food) I was served puny portions of the old fashions I ordered. I can give this a pass in light of the the main attraction (pizza) but something worth noting nonetheless.

                  1. re: Searching4Dunny

                    What you're saying about the portion size for the drinks really surprises me.

                    At the Marina del Rey settebello i often order a Fords gin neat, Eagle Rare neat, or a Chauffe Couer rum neat

                    They use a 2 oz measured pour.

                    A 2 oz pour of distilled spirits, to me, is not at all stingy.

                  2. re: josephnl

                    Great review and description of the pizza!

                    Would you say you prefer the pizza at Settebello, Oritca, or Sotto?

                    1. re: Porthos

                      I've only been to Sotto twice, and last time was several months ago, so although it was very good, I'm not sure how it fits in the comparison. I think overall, I enjoyed Settebello better than Ortica. I'm trying to think of only the pizza, but it's hard to ignore the fact that imho the ambiance at Settebello is much nicer, and also, there is a greater larger selection of starters, and also pizzas (although there is no pasta at Settebello). I do think that I enjoyed the pizza more at Settebello. At Ortica, the center of the pizza often seems wet. I don't mean floppy which I now realize is how Neopolitan pizza should be…I meat wet with either liquid or oil. At Settebello, the crust was perfectly cooked, floppy in the center, chewy at the edges, but it was not wet in the center. Ortica is very good, but I'd give my vote to Settebello…if only I could get a good Bombay Sapphire martini there...

                      1. re: josephnl

                        Haven't made it over there yet but will try to soon.

                        Thanks for the detailed description.

                        1. re: josephnl

                          maybe try a fords martini or a hayman martini?

                          (i vote for the fords)

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            I'll try Ford's next time, although Nolet's was very good...but for $16, I expect a reasonably sized martini. My drink last night might have been 2 oz., but seemed less. Nevertheless it was very small compared to the martinis made at most local OC spots. Hillstone's restaurants, Wildfish and most everywhere else in Newport Beach/Irvine/Costa Mesa pour at least a 3oz. martini