Tucked away on the lobby level of a prime and trendy location near South Coast Plaza, lies a gourmet Italian restaurant called Pizzeria Ortica ran by owner and celebrity chef David Myers. This popular restaurant is in a choice location as it is walking distance to the Orange county performing arts theater, and directly across the street from the mall. Park in the structure that’s located behind the restaurant and Pizzeria Ortica will validate for you.
The overall vibe of this restaurant is really amazing. It was relaxed yet sophisticated and the servers were super friendly. I loved the decor inside. When I first walked in it reminded me of being inside The Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. The decor is modern and chic. Although narrow, the restaurant has beautiful high ceilings and a clean, uncluttered classy look. The floors are gorgeous too.
My dining partner and I started off by sipping on some delicious Negronis (gin, campari, and sweet vermouth). I really enjoyed the slightly bitter yet sweet flavor of this cocktail. Next came our appetizers or small plates as some people like to call it.
The first dish we tried was Charred Mediterranean octopus, Yukon Gold potato, celery hearts, and Sicilian capers . The crispiness of the Octopus combined with the tender potatoes was really pleasant. The presentation was quite appealing as well.
Our next dish was Braised free-range chicken and pork meatballs, marinara sauce and garlic crostino. The meatballs were hearty and moist and the sauce was by far the best marinara sauce I have ever had. I couldn’t help but wipe the plate up with the crostini. It was really THAT good.
Then came the Roman-style braised artichokes, with shaved ricotta salata. These were very tasty and the ricotta added a nice saltiness to the artichokes. For guests who want to sample several items on the menu this is a great way to go. The small plates are the perfect size for two people to share without filling up too quickly.
Now onto some meat!Here we had the lamb Bruschetta. It had lamb sausage, white bean ragu, and chilies. This was my favorite dish of the night. It was so savory.
Of course we had to follow that up with a nice sample of pasta. Chef Justin Miller concocted this amazing medley of Paparadelle pasta, cranberry beans, Zucchini, squash blossoms,pancetta, pecorino and grilled heirloom tomatoes. I highly recommend this.
Finally we ended with a Margherita Pizza. I was extremely happy to know that they use the same marinara sauce that I loved on their pizzas too. The Margherita pizza is made with San Marzano tomatoes, imported buffalo mozzarellaand basil. The pizza crust is simply amazing. It is thin without being too thin, and it has that wood-fired char on it. The crust also had a softness and delicious doughiness to it without being loaded with oil or cheese.
Ok, so maybe we didn’t end at the pizza. Instead we ended with a Budino di Cioccolato. This dessert is divine. It’s Chocolate crème layered with caramel and served in a cute little rustic jar. But be careful because this dessert may make you have an overwhelming urge to want to lick the jar clean.
Pizzeria ortica is located at:650 Anton Blvd
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Disclosure: I received one or more of the above items for free for the purpose of a review. I was not obligated to give this restaurant a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are of my own.