I cheated on my mom and hung out at Diana's parents house instead, drinking wine with Diana's Significant (m)Other and Father instead, while Diana and I pondered where to dine. It just so happened that we were able to get reservations at Pizzeria Ortica that night, no problem.
We are here!
I can't help to compare this experience to those of my Pizzera Mozza experiences, since Mozza has set my standard for serial killer smile inducing pizza. Pizzeria Ortica has a more institutional feel than Mozza, with ultra high ceilings and what looked like Thomasville chairs and tables.
Diana examining the menu
We started with a glass of robust 2007 Sicilian Frappato ($9) which our waiter recommended. I liked the undertone of raisin this wine had. Why all the hating on Sicilian wines?
Frappato, not coffee based, just from Sicily
The Polipo e patate ($8) was amazingly tender and perfectly charred, complimented with celery hearts and leaves. Every bit of tentacle was consumed.
Octopus + Potatoes
And then bread, which we kind of had to ask for, arrived. It was a fresh sourdough varietal with olive oil and balsamic poured on delivery.
Bread. Ask for it.
Our first pizza baby arrived, per recommendation of our waiter: the Salsiccia ($16) with house-made sausage, caramelized fennel, mascarpone, red onion, and buffalo granna. On first bite, Diana and I look at each other dead in the eye with a stuffed-mouth smile nod.
It's better than Mozza.
Doughy yet thin crust, intense sausage, red onion burst, cool mascarpone. WOW!
My favorite of the two was the Calabrese ($18), a tangy hot pie with San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, rapini, Calabrian chilies, and salty bottarga. The glorious pools of melted mozzarella, sweet tomatoes and the sea-salty dabs of roe made it one of the most memorable pizzas I've ever had. Diana was feeling more meat and cheese that night and preferred the sausage pie.
Caviar pizza? Yes!
We added some greenery with a side of Cavolini di Bruxelles ($7). These are the best brussel sprouts I've ever had! The golden tinged sprouts dusted in bread crumbs, chunks of hazelnuts, and lemon zest made for perfection.
For desert, I chose the Babà al rhum ($7), a Rum-soaked brioche topped with pistacchio gelato and candied orange peels. Upon hearing "pistachio gelato" I had to order this, being a pistachio ice cream feign. The baba had the perfect amount of syrup soaked in - not over bearing and not disfiguring the brioche upon forking. I insisted DTAB take a bite of my dessert and immediately her eyes lit up followed by a frown looking down at her Budino.
DTAB got Budino di Cioccolato ($7), a fancy looking chocolate crème layered with caramel that our trusted waiter insisted was one of her favorites. Unfortunately it tasted like Bill Cosby's favorite after school snack, despite the rustic-sheik adult looking pudding cup. Diana traded her desert for a Babà al rhum and the smile came back.
Our waiter informed us of a happy hour at the bar 3-6 with $6 Margaritas.
650 Anton Boulevard
Costa Mesa, CA 92626