Finally, DH and I have found a pizza place dishing up Neapolitan style pizzas that taste as good as the ones we ate in Italy.
When DH and I first tried Neapolitan style pizza, it took some getting used to and I wasn’t really a huge fan. I learned to appreciate it more when places kept popping up offering this wood oven style pizza, but I never truly loved it. Then during our first night in Italy this past summer, DH’s cousin took us to his favorite Neapolitan-style pizzeria. One bite and I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t like Neapolitan pizza–I just never had really good, proper Neapolitan pizza.
The flavors I experienced that first night were so simple yet so mouth watering. Suddenly the soupy center and charred crust were no longer an issue. Since our trip, we’ve been searching to find pizza as good but have been pretty disappointed with the options in San Diego.
We had heard good things about Pizzeria Mozza and so it had been on my “to do” list, especially since they have a location in Newport Beach. Pizzeria Mozza is the joint collaboration of Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich. We previously dined at the more formal Osteria and thought the meal enjoyable but unmemorable. Pizzeria Mozza is a much more casual establishment.
The seating is a little bit crowded. The tables are decorated with interesting placemats. I forgot to take pictures but they kept us entertained. Mine showed all the inventions I could thank Italians for. DH’s was teaching him various Italian words.
Upon being seated, we were provided with breadsticks completely wrapped up in brown paper. I don’t know why but I loved the idea of eating crunchy breadsticks while waiting for my food.
There were so many appetizers I wanted to try, but only two of us, so we only chose one to share.
Prosciutto di Parma & mozzarella di bufala
Since this doesn’t come with any accompaniments, we also ordered some garlic bread.
There was plenty of proscuitto on our plate and the Mozza group is known for their delicious fresh cheeses. I enjoyed this combination but next time I’ll opt for a warm appetizer. It seemed a little plain to just being eating these two items alone.
The garlic bread we ordered was absolutely massive. I like thick toast, but this was maybe a little too much. We basically had to break off little pieces at a time. There was no way to really pile proscuitto and cheese on top and eat it together.
Margherita with mozzarella, tomato & basil
I used to enjoy a lot of different toppings on my pizza, but I’ve found that I prefer the simpler ones when it’s Neapolitan style, really letting that tomato sauce shine through.
One bite and we were transported back to that first night in Italy. The crust was paper thin, as it should be, with the center unable to hold its weight. The crust was slightly charred around the edges, but the middle of the crust remained fairly char-free. It was messy and required a lot of napkins, but every bite was delicious. I loved the cheese, the basil and the bold tomato sauce.
Bacon, salame, fennel sausage, guanciale, tomato & mozzarella
We knew we wanted a meat topped pizza for our second one, but we couldn’t decide on what meat choice we wanted. This one is basically a meat lover’s pizza. We pretty much guessed that it would be too salty, but we went ahead and ordered it anyway so we could try all the meat toppings available and get a sense of what we would want on our next visit.
I was surprised by the meatball-sized fennel sausage chunks. On the one hand, it made it sort of impractical to eat, but there was also a caveman-like appeal to them. I ended up just rolling them off the pizza and eating them solo. Out of all the meats we preferred the fennel sausage, so next time we’ll probably try a fennel sausage topped pizza.
Coconut Sorbet Pie
For dessert, we shared a coconut sorbet pie. It was like a mud pie, but filled with coconut sorbet instead. The sorbet was quite rich and creamy, but other than that the dessert didn’t really impress me. Next time, I’ll have to try their butterscotch budino.
We left really really happy with our meal and I’ve been talking about returning ever since. I’ve already planned out my order for our next visit, which hopefully will be soon.
800 West Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663