I’ve long been a fan of Nancy Silverton. Her eponymous La Brea Bakery was my go-to before quality, artisan bread became available here on Oahu. So when we went to Costa Mesa last September, I made it a point to give Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach a try.
To be honest, my primary target was Osteria Mozza. However, given our itinerary – and the issues I developed in Vegas – this wasn’t going to happen. However, seeing that a Pizzeria Mozza was relatively close to our hotel in Costa Mesa, I decided to give them a try by doing take-out.
Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach Location
The Newport Beach location of Pizzeria Mozza is along the main drag – West Coast Highway. It’s a busy area that, ironically, is right next to a Mcdonald’s. Parking, I should note, is difficult. If you can’t find a stall in the restaurant’s tiny lot, you have to hunt for street parking. That, of course, is also extremely limited. My suggestion is to catch a rideshare or taxi here if you can.
Pizzeria Mozza Newport Beach Menu
As its name suggests, Pizzeria Mozza is a pizza-centric restaurant. There is, however, a large antipasti menu and a smattering of insalate, primi, piatti, and dolce options. Naturally, Mozza also has an extensive wine list.
What we Ordered
We kept things lite for our order and got just two items – the Ocotopus al Forno and the Margherita pizza. Hilariously, the ocotopus antipasti was more expensive than the pizza – $24 verus $19.
Octopus al Forno
The ocotopus is a cross between a seafood dish and a salad. Here, you get hunks of ocoput cooked in the wood-fired oven with cucumber, avocado, fennel, arugula, and greek yogurt. It sounds weird, but the combination works well. I love how the meaty, smokey, tender octopus matches with the cool, refreshing, herbal elements. The yogurt ties everything together with a light creaminess and some acid, while a light sprinkling of chili flakes add some pleasant heat.
My one complaint about this dish is that you get relatively few pieces of octopus. It also doesn’t look so nice when taken to-go.
As you all know, I love quality pizza. What’s more, I always make it a point to order a Margherita Pizza when initially visiting a pizzeria to judge them all on an even playing field. Given Nancy Silverton’s pedigree, I had HIGH expectations here. Now, she doesn’t proclaim her pizza to be Napoli-style, which is an important distinction. If that’s what you’re expecting, you’re going to be sorely disappointed here.
You see, Pizzeria Mozza’s crust is a lot thicker than Napoli-style. It’s also a lot more crisp and chewy, which isn’t a bad thing, but, again, doesn’t fall in line with Napoli-style. That said, despite the pizza still being warm when we dug in, we found the crust to be on the tougher side, which is disappointing. The sauce was also on the spicy side, while the thick pads of cheese weren’t even cut through.
Despite Mozza’s use of a brick oven, you’ll notice that there’s no leopard-spotting at all. There’s barely any charring under the pie too. Bummer
Perhaps I hyped up Mozza too much in my head? Unfortunately, I wasn’t a huge fan of their pizza. I much prefer the Margherita Pizza from Brick Fire Tavern or Fatto a Mano back home. And that’s too bad. But, it wouldn’t be the first time a dish disappointed me at a restaurant I’ve long wanted to try. However, my disappointment combined with the difficulty involved with dining here, I’m very unlikely to return or recommend the place. That said, I do still want to give Osteria Mozza a try someday.