800 W Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Dining date: 5/5/13
After running 13.1 miles in the OC half marathon, a number of options were debated in which to offset our caloric deficit. Oxtail pho and Brodard’s famous nem nuong spring rolls were leading contenders, as well as dumplings and other comforting Asian soup noodles. However, in the end, Newport Beach’s own location of one of LA’s favorite pizzerias was the choice.
Much has been written about Pizzeria Mozza and its original location on Melrose & Highland in LA continues to be very popular. Opened in 2011, it’s actually the third location of the mini-chain, with the second being in Singapore.
Decor and menu are both very similar to the original, with the latter featuring a bunch of antipasti, a handful of meat, salad and panini dishes, and about a dozen pizzas.
Arancine alla Bolognese
Served hot and fresh, these were crispy and hearty with an underlying tomato flavor. Not the most exciting of the appetizers though.
Prawns with fagioli, tomato & oregano
Plump prawns were next, served with a sort of cool bean salad. Some acidity from the tomatoes brightened everything up.
Fried squash blossoms with ricotta
One of the restaurant’s more notable starters, the squash blossoms provided a very welcome crunch with a creamy, warm ricotta filling. Always satisfying.
Chicken wings alla Diavolo with spring onions
This may have been my favorite of the antipasti. The wings were hot and crispy with a great rub – salty and spicy with just the right amount of oily goodness, these were delish.
While Pizzeria Mozza does offer a few larger plates (and a meal can definitely be made out of the smaller plates), the focal part of the meal is clearly on pizza. We each ordered one.
Fennel sausage, panna, red onion & scallions
Funghi misti, fontina, taleggio & thyme
Bacon, salame, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato & mozzarella topped with egg
Pizza alla Benno: Speck, pineapple, jalapeño, mozzarella & tomato
Margherita with burrata, tomato & basil
I’ve had countless pizzas over the years from the LA Mozza; unfortunately, this location doesn’t have one of my favorites – the Ipswitch clam pizza. However, I really like the all-meat pie, it’s got a ton of meaty flavor but it’s definitely on the greasy side. It tends to make the crust rather soggy if not eaten quickly. I also enjoy the fennel sausage pizza; the sausage is delicious, and the onions provide a nice sweetness to go along. The mushroom isn’t my favorite, finding it a bit one-note. Good to share and have one slice, but I rarely am in the mood for more than that. Lastly, the classic margherita is always satisfying; here the mozzarella has been substituted for the ultra-creamy burrata.
While pizzas are the focal point at Mozza, it’s often a great idea to save room for dessert.
Meyer lemon gelato pie, champagne vinegar syrup
Refreshingly tart, the gelato felt like a relatively light way to end the meal. This dessert blended the sweet and tart pretty nicely.
Chocolate tartufo, olive oil gelato, sea salt
The combination of chocolate, olive oil and salt is one of my favorite in desserts (think Sam’s Sundae at Bi-Rite Creamery). The flavors came together very well here for a well-balanced dessert.
Butterscotch budino, sea salt, rosemary pine nut cookies
I think this is one of my favorite desserts in LA (and probably Orange Country too then). It’s a rather simple dessert, really, but it’s just excellent. The sea salt topping is so clutch, and the rosemary cookies are a really nice touch too.
I found the Newport Beach location of Pizzeria Mozza to pretty closely resemble the original. This is probably one of the most expensive pizza meals in the area, but the restaurant serves some very satisfying pies. The antipasti and desserts are just as strong as the pizzas (how often do you find that?), making for a good meal from start-to-finish.