10 Great Pizzerias In Orange County

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We'll start at the end of the mystery, like the film Memento: Why didn't I include your favorite in this list of 10 great pizzerias that we Weeklings love? Because that's what the comments section is for, dear reader. Without further delay, here are 10 great pizzerias in Orange County!


10. Pepz Pizza

Pepz2.jpg
Pepz' pastrami pizza with pickles


We Weeklings chose Pepz Pizza as 2011's Best Restaurant to Take the Kids To, so naturally, it makes this Best of the Best list. Your kids' love of pizza has to begin somewhere, so why not in the deep end, with Pepz's pastrami pizza shot through with mustard and pickles? Is it okay for pizza to be born this way? Lady Gaga, as well as our own Anne Marie, would say yes.

Pepz Pepperoni's Pizza, various locations in Orange County; www.pepzpizza.com.

9. Pizza D'Oro

Pizza D'Oro
Flickr user boutmuet


Speaking of pizzas kids love, pick up an outsized pizza from Pizza D'Oro to go. At its Costa Mesa location, several takeout pizza boxes decorate the wall to illustrate how massive a pizza you can order, all the way from a "small" 12-inch pizza to a 30-inch behemoth that would make a memorable hit at any kids' pizza party.

Gustavo wasn't kidding when he wrote, "Pizza D'Oro isn't looking for foodie buzz so much as to fill you for the next three days."

Pizza D'Oro, 1145 Baker St., Costa Mesa, (714) 549-0685; 10585 Slater St., Fountain Valley, (714) 963-0227; 8468 Indianapolis Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 536-9383; www.eatatpizzadoro.com.

8. Pizza Port

Vegan Pizza
Flickr user apple apple
Pizza Port's vegan pizza


While taking the kids to their favorite pizza place is well and good, sometimes the priority is a quality beer to go with Mom and Dad's dinner. Few pizza restaurants brew their own beers as tasty as Pizza Port in San Clemente, which won our editorial 2010 Best Beer Selection. This San Diego-based brewery/pizzeria features guest beers as well as in-house brews to pair with a selection of flavor-boosted topping combinations in the thick, chewy, gourmet, all-American style of pizza.

Pizza Port, 301 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, (949) 940-0005; www.pizzaport.com.

7. Tony's Litte Italy

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Tony's Litte Italy deep dish pizza

What's that? Deep-dish pizza gets you salivating? There are precious few practitioners of the Chicago-style deep dish here in Orange County, and the best example is Placentia's Tony's Little Italy.

Anne Marie chose Tony's for her top pick in 2011's 100 Favorite Dishes, saying the "pizza is a retrofitted Italian masterpiece, beginning with a flaky yet sturdy crust as its base. No schmaltzy thin layer of dough overseeing this project. Tony's can withstand and protect precious cargo from the high winds of Chi-town neighborhoods. And how about that layer of mozza? Oozing enough chewy, stringy goodness to spur an oil well. Tomatoes are strewn over like a red badge of courage."

Tony's Little Italy, 1808 N. Placentia Ave., Placentia, (714) 528-2159; tonyslittleitaly.com.

6. A Slice of NY Pizza

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ProfessorSalt.com

Pizza from the Second City is great, but America's love of pizza began in New York, where Italian immigrants settled. Where do you get a NYC-style pizza in OC? For those in North County, we have Seal Beach's A Slice of NY Pizza, as authentic a slice shop as any in midtown Manhattan. And its second, soon-to-open location in Huntington Harbour we reported back in July? Still soon-to-open, supposedly in January.

A Slice of New York Pizza, 142 Main St., Ste. B, Seal Beach, (562) 493-4430; and soon, 16821 Algonquin St., Ste. 101, Huntington Beach; asliceofnewyorkpizza.net.



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80 comments
Kit Hope
Kit Hope

Marri's was my favorite when I was in college.

godard17
godard17

there should be only a pizzeria on this list: fuoco pizzeria napoletana in downtown fullerton.  i am an italian national and this is the absolute best pizza i have had outside of italy.  my thoughts about your list, especially the insufferable and overpriced mozza: want some pineapple with that monstrosity?

Michael Moon
Michael Moon

From 'Do the Right Thing': Mookie: Dago, wop, guinea, garlic-breath, pizza-slingin', spaghetti-bendin', Vic Damone, Perry Como, Luciano Pavarotti, Sole Mio, nonsingin' motherfucker. Pino: You gold-teeth-gold-chain-wearin', fried-chicken-and-biscuit-eatin', monkey, ape, baboon, big thigh, fast-runnin', high-jumpin', spear-chuckin', three-hundred-sixty-degree-basketball-dunkin' titsun spade Moulan Yan. Take your fuckin' pizza-pizza and go the fuck back to Africa.

thunderpants16
thunderpants16

The list has great places but the BIG problem is that you have very different styles of pizza that comes down merely matter of preference. You have the Mozza, Ecco, etc which is Neopolitan thin. Then you have the others like Nicks which is old school traditional which is what I like most because it's so damn hearty and satisfying.

 

Don't get me wrong, Pizza is my #1 food and I enjoy the likes of Mozza and Grimaldi's but not sure if it's because growing up in N and S Ca kid that  I'm drawn to the thicker fuller pizza's like Nick's and 1st Class in Irvine.

 

So I would say you really have to have a top ten list for NY and Neopolitan and another for Ca pizza.

TheBC
TheBC

If Il Dolce isn't on this list at No. 1 or 2, what the heck? Did we also miss Ortica? Hmm. "Come on Man." (// have had the very good fortune to have tried DiFara's and Grimaldi's in Brooklyn, high-rec Neopolitan pie in Naples, Gino's East of Chicago (love it, but it's hardly "pizza"--I think Bourdain called it "Lasagne w/ a cornmeal crust"--funny..) / as reference.

mark goodley
mark goodley

Right.... give me a freakin... break... Antonucci's, Mission Viejo is THE clear Winner, by a neck,with Allessa's, Newport Beach coming in a very close second... pretenders/fast food/charlatans to the others... Who PAID you guys...?!? mdg

Kaavik
Kaavik

Got to put in a plug for Nick's in CM. great old style pies, but not artisanal or hip.

Nappy
Nappy

There's a parlor in Fullerton, Two Saucy Broads, kinda new sonic not surprised they weren't mentioned... They consider themselves "New York style with a CA gourmet twist"

Great crust thin crust without being crackery... Try the pestopalooza or the bronx bomber - Holy Delicious! ...great sandwiches too

Herb Toker
Herb Toker

Your top three places suck.  BTW - I know you guys at the weekly like hipster/artsy/fartsy stuff, but come on fellas.  What about First Class Pizza in Irvine on Sand Canyon? 

Josh
Josh

It is splitting hairs but there is no way Ecco is better than Pizza e Vino for pizza.  None. 

Pat
Pat

I'll be in Naples next week for the first time and this whole conversation reminds me of the hundreds of discussions online of the "Best" pizza there. http://pizzasforsale.com/ This guy takes a practical approach... try them all. Anyone up for the challenge in OC? I'd be sure to read your exhaustive thoughts on the subject.

Bobhuntsman
Bobhuntsman

Somehow you overlooked Rocco's in Fountain Valley.

MikeHs
MikeHs

I really appreciate this list, and the added places in the comments.  Might "you all" possibly consider making a Top 50 list, (or doing individual lists for SAFII contributers)?  Costa Mesa looks to be pizzatown of OC (more or less) but it's hard to get over there as much as I'd like for the great places listed for there. 

Brooklyn
Brooklyn

uh...no.6. Cucina Alessa5. Nick's in CM4. Al's in CM3. IL DOLCE2. Pizzeria Ortica1. Johnny's Real NY in CdM

Steve Martin
Steve Martin

I've had the Chicago Deep Dish at Tony's Little Italy in Placentia. It's the real deal. I drive up once every other week from San Clemente to get it. It's worth every drop of petrol.

Can't wait to try Mozza.

Thanks!

Mr. Rosewater
Mr. Rosewater

If you're talking chain pizza joints, I'll take a large from Lamppost with pepperoni, meatball, green olive (more places need to carry this topping so I don't have to add it myself, damn it), mushroom, and jalapeño, thank you, though I'm uncertain whether a mere handful of locations qualifies this place as a "chain."

I'm returning to California tomorrow after spending nearly the entire year in Taiwan and China, so I'll probably eat at every restaurant on this list. Thanks...I think.

cBc
cBc

strange, I posted my comment about Il Dolce not being on this list, and it was removed?edit:oh, duh..it's still here. And now I'm hungry for pizza

andrew c
andrew c

wow... edited out. i'll comment again to see if it sticks. il dolce is better than ecco. so obviously. and it is (and was in the referenced article about the top napoli style pizzas) inappropriate to group mozza in with them. as my italian friends say, "mozza is great. it's not pizza, but it's great." and there's way too much oil in that crust for it to be a napoli variant. don't get me wrong: it's fantastic, and dollar-for-dollar il dolce (and certainly ecco, too) has/have a hard time competing given the refinement and execution of the food at mozza.

oc is having a beautiful renaissance in artisanal pizza. your list does it no justice. 

Shaun
Shaun

Years ago I stumbled into a place called Dino's in Westminster... they claim to make all sorts of Italian dishes but the pizza is amazing!

Newportblue65
Newportblue65

I'll vote for Mozza's..........Very old country style..........

You Never Can Tell
You Never Can Tell

Tony's is a disgusting gut bomb (place, as well as product), not related to the several dozen deep-dish pizza pies sold in Chicago every year (I lived there for 20 years and didn't know anyone who ate deep-dish except when visitors came to town and demanded "authenticity"); Ortica is one of the best restaurants in OC, even including the pizza -- shame!; Mozza -- I've been to the OC location only once and had tough clams that tasted like they came from a #10 can and oily stuffed zucchini flowers, apparently fried on a putt-putt camp stove; Dolce is sweet and deserves to be on the list with Ortica; drop Pizza e Vino, which is OK but often sends improperly cooked pies into the dining room; etc. Salt, I'm shocked that the most-careful and -knowledgeable reviewer on the OC Weakly came up with this list. I will give you exactly 2,000,000 more chances.

Paul Valeriano
Paul Valeriano

YOU FORGOT TO PUT ,PIZZAMANIA WHITTER AND GONDLOAS IN LA MIRADA!! BUT ILL LET THE SHIZNIT SLIDE, THIS TIME!!

Jdaily09
Jdaily09

Hey Shuji...I agree with you a 100%...either the judges were in their early 20's or they like frozen pizza...they left out one of the best....Original Pizza in Newport

Psbarnett3
Psbarnett3

WHERE IS THE REALLY BEAST,  ROMA D' ITAILIA??? Tustin and Orange???

I.t. Burns
I.t. Burns

With all due respect, America's love for Apizza began in New Haven. Thank you.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Yeah, because Pizza D'Oro is SO hipster...your choice is typical Old Irvine blandness..

Yshabunov
Yshabunov

Mozza is by far the best and ortica Nneds to be mentioned. Jut tried Ecco and highly disappointed. Very mediocre.

Honeyman
Honeyman

That is an amzing blog link.  The guy must weigh 500 pounds minimum.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Costa Mesa does rule our local pizza universe! As for Top 50—hmm...

JOE
JOE

Gotta second the Nick's reference, and also mention Doria's Haus of Pizza IN cm

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Blame the commenting system... it puts things in weird places and on a mobile device it can be impossible to refresh. We don't delete comments!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Strange--I'll check, but there's no reason we'd take it down...

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

I love that we're having an artisan pizza boom. But our writers and readers also love pizzas that don't fall into that camp, so we're including some distinctly non-artisan pizzerias and squeezing out many very worthy candidates to winnow out the list to just 10.

Everyone, let's hear more of your favorites that I jilted.  Doria's Haus of Pizza with fresh garlic, anyone?

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

If you prefer Ortica, then you probably like your vera pizza Napoletana and use a fork and knife to eat it. Ortica and Il Dolce's crusts fall into that blast-baked style that comes out floppy, which is their style. Personally, not a fan of floppy crust, but if that's what reminds you of the street pizzas in Naples, then I can't blame you for loving Ortica.

 It's odd that the only VPN-approved pizza in Orange County is baked at Pizza e Vino -- is that why you say they make an "improperly cooked" pie?

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

99% of Americans outside Connecticut have absolutely no idea what apizza is, how to pronounce it, or why it's any good.

Also, this article is about Orange County, California.

Herb Toker
Herb Toker

I meant hipster in more of a general sense.  I haven't tried Pizza D'Oro.  As for the top 3... arugula, radicio, watercress, etc. do not belong on pizza... period!  And what is with your intolerable hatred of Irvine?  On a positive note - I tried Grill Masters after reading your review and I thought it was great.

JB
JB

...which is one reason why Costa Mesa was selected as the site of JB World Headquarters back in 2005, beating out Provo, Utah and Henderson, Nevada

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

I went to someplace named the "Haus of Pizza" in my early days in OC, on Garden Grove Boulevard, and was stunned by how bad it was—then I went to the "real" Haus of Pizza in CM and it was completely different (and far better).

cBc
cBc

no, gustavo, it is still there, seems the way the posts are sorted, it threw me off.Cheers

Sam
Sam

Being VPN-approved costs a fee, which is why some places aren't. They don't want to spend the "dough" to get the certification.

I.t. Burns
I.t. Burns

"Pizza from the Second City is great, but America's love of pizza began in New York, where Italian immigrants settled."  Sorry you didn't get a chance to read the article before commenting, Dave.

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

Don't like the Irvine of master-planned blandness and Great Park corruption; LOVE the Irvine of Wholesome Choice, Diamond Jamboree, and (gracias for going) Gourmet Grill Masters!

gustavoarellano
gustavoarellano

You also would've done well in the part of Fountain Valley near Joey's Luparello's and HB's own pizza corridor...

Dave Lieberman
Dave Lieberman

Apizza isn't available anywhere outside the New Haven area. America doesn't have a love for apizza, because nowhere besides Connecticut would it occur to anyone to have to specify "mutz" as a topping.

Don't get me wrong—I love apizza—but you ask 1,000 random people in Orange County what it is and maybe 3 will know.

Shuji Sakai
Shuji Sakai

Lombardi's and Totonno's opened decades before any of the New Haven restaurants did, so I stand by my statement.

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