Have you ever been driving through Orange County and wondered, “Where in the Hell am I going to eat?” A great place to keep tucked into your mental rolodex is David Myer’s casual Italian restaurant Pizzeria Ortica. Centrally located at South Coast Plaza, it’s a breath of fresh air. The interior is bright and sunny and the staff friendly and helpful. But it is the food that shines here. The Roman artichokes with ricotta salata were buttery and rich. The wood-roasted vegetable with buratta and basil oil, while a little too heavy on the peppers, especially shishito, was still a satisfying and creative starter. The pizzas here are stellar. They start with a 300 year-old starter (a ‘biga’), hand stretch the crusts, top, and bake in a wood-burning oven. The results are fantastic; moist, malty, crispy, and burnt in a few spots. The margherita was excellent, but the Milanesa stole the show. Topped with fontina, asparagus, Parmigiano Reggiano, and a fried egg, it was a perfect balance of topping and crust. I love a fried egg on pizza. You often see this in France. When the egg is cut, the yolk oozes over the pizza and creates a rich carbonara as it cooks slightly adding complex character. The entire table agreed that this was one of the best pizzas we’d had in a while. Pizzeria Ortica is well worth a visit. Although David Myers may be having some difficulties north of the border, in OC he’s still thoroughly in control.
650 Anton Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 (714)445-4900