Friday, 16 September 2011

The Newly Opened Pizzeria Mozza in Newport Beach, California

Without any fanfare, but just from the tweeted messages of the principals of this place, people flocked to the opening of Pizzeria Mozza, on West Coast Highway in Newport Beach, in So. California. That was two weeks ago. This new place - the hottest place for food and wine enthusiasts among the Newport Beach crowd and Orange County residents, is the brainchild of three renowned personalities: Nancy Silverton of La Brea Bakery and former co-owner of Campanille, Mario Batali  - the New York chef who brings us "simplicity and freshness" in his Italian cuisine on the food channel; and Joe Bastianich, a restauranteur.

With their flagship location in Los Angeles born in 2006, there was much excitement for a branch to be opened in Orange County. On a Wednesday early evening, we took our chance and dared to join the line at Pizzeria Mozza. It was 6:45 p.m., and we got as far as being  listed down and given a notice of a two-hour wait. We decided to go somewhere else for an appetizer, with the intention of going back.
We did go back after an hour and were delighted that we were seated quite fast, way less than the other hour we were supposed to wait.
This venue has a very simple architectural design and the wow factor was this wall, herb garden. This is a certified green restaurant.
We easily identified the rosemary, coriander, the variegated sage, and the squash plant.
This was the first noticeable scene as we entered the restaurant, where the people were standing, seating and socializing while watching the kitchen activities.
A chef prepares multiple pizza orders
After stretching the dough to make a thin crust, oil is dabbed in random parts before anything else is added. Then the creativity begins ... like adding the petals of the squash flower, and so on. 
A chef checks on his pizzas cooking in the stone oven
These were not your typical pizza varieties. With very little mozzarella cheese, and sometimes even without the use of tomato sauce, the pizzas had very distinct flavors.
Chilled wine sitting on the kitchen-bar counter
Once we were seated, we discussed our tasty interests for the evening, as we perused the menu. Here are the food concepts that whet our appetites.
Fried Squash Blossoms with Ricotta
A delicate flower to hold the filling, then battered for deep frying, tempura style.
Bone Marrow al forno
Something Different! On a buttered or oiled toast, spread the garlic, some grilled bone marrow, and sprinkle some coriander leaves ... so rich and flavorful!
 Piatti del Giorno Mercoledi: Bacalá al forno with tomato, chick peas, and fried rosemary (salted cod-fish)
This was the specialty of the day, for Wednesday.

For our puffy, thin-crust pizza selections:
Pizette: Ipswich clams, garlic, chiles, oregano, Parmigiano and Pecorino
Bacon, Finnochiona, fennel sausage (freshly made) guancile, tomato, mozzarella,  and Shiitake mushrooms were added upon our request
Squash blossoms, tomato and burrata (cheese)
Mama mia! These were all so tasty and delicious.

For the finale, we had to have our dolci.
(Left) Sorbetti/Gelati: Tahitian Vanilla, Olive Oil, Melon
(Right) Butterscotch Budino with Maldon sea salt and rosemary pine-nut cookies
The unique ice cream and sherbet flavors turned out to be most pleasing,  complemented by the butterscotch pudding, topped with salted caramel and those mini cookies.

We ended up eating family style, sharing everything. For five people, this turned out to be a lot of food. Era tutto molto buono! 

While my friends and I came here to eat, some come to have a drink or two, with good company.

With their remarkable talents, Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton, and Joe Bastianich have teamed up with a passionate commitment  to "product, environment and hospitality." We gave them excellent marks for all three and were more than satisfied with their food concepts, the ambiance, and the service.

Be it in Los Angeles at 641 North Highland, or in Orange County, going to Mozza is a food trip extraordinaire. Buon appetito!

Pizzeria Mozza
800 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach
Tel. (949) 945 1126
Open daily except on Mondays, 12:00 noon to 11:00 p.m.


  1. I have to go to this place. It really looks delicious. Thanks....

  2. Be sure to make a reservation. It is now a 4 to 6 week wait, I hear.



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