i hate happy hour because they’re usually between 5-7, when most people are still working. when you actually get there, you slide in during the last 15 minutes and try to flag down the waiter, only to be told “sorry, happy hour’s over…”
pizzeria ortica by the south coast plaza shopping center is awesome because they do a reverse happy hour where the specials are 8-10pm Mondays through Thursdays (Sunday 8-9). it’s at the bar area only, and the specials include $7 pizzas, discounted beer, wine, and cocktails.
usually Hiroki will get a Birra Moretti ($3) and a glass of prosecco for me, and then we’d snag a pizza margherita (the simple stuff is amazeballs here). the pizza at ortica is neapolitan style, meaning a chewy, SUPER THIN crust: the kind that you have to fold over or eat with a knife and fork. when we first came here in 2009, we thought that the soggy thin middle part of the pizza was the grossest thing ever… but now we’re hooked and will miss this place so much when we move away. we love the pizza here so much that the last time we were here, we were snorgling our hands because the wood fired aroma from the pizza stuck on. WE WILL MISS YOU PIZZERIA ORTICA.
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Arancini (6). This was a special the last time we went. cheesy risotto balls, deep fried, then plopped on a pool of marinara sauce. so good.
Arugula, treviso, endive, apples, gorgonzola, candied walnuts (11). We have been subbing the gorgonzola for parmesan because I am pregnant and am not supposed to eat unpasteurized cheese. But it’s great with blue cheese too!
Hand-cut tagliatelle spinach pasta, traditional meat sauce, Parmigiano Reggiano (15). THIS. this is Hiroki’s favorite bowl of pasta ever. we once mistakenly ordered a different pasta dish and he was sad for days (it was good, but it wasn’t his beloved tagliatelle), so we had to return the next week to get him his fix. simple, easy on the tomato and super meaty.
they also have a great dessert menu, but I like their ever-changing gelato selection. if you ever run into the chocolate orange one, GET IT. it’s heaven.
650 Anton Blvd Unit J
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
bonus! photos from 2009!
(note: i don’t remember much about the dishes except that the budino was delicous. but then again budino is hard to mess with.)