Best ‘real’ Italian pizza in South OC, CA???

So my wife is coming home from two weeks in Italy (Rome, Sorrento, Florence, Venice, Tresa) and has been raving about how amazing the pizza has been there, particularly the tomato sauce. I know this will start a ‘thing’ here but I could really use some help in seeing if there’s anything local, Irvine and South necessary for takeout, that comes close to what she’s been experiencing. She’s been raving especially about the tomato sauce and the thin crust.

We’ve been to Mozza but long ago and, obviously, before her trip. Her favorite local pizza is at Peppino’s in Aliso Viejo, but I don’t think that’s the same thing.

I’m hoping to avoid what I’d expect to be a free-for-all here, so I’d appreciate input mostly from people who’ve been to Italy and know what she’s describing.Thanks in advance. I

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I assume that your wife has been eating a lot of Neopolitan soupy center pizza in Italy. If that is the case then your best bets are Fuoco in Fullerton and Angelina’s in Irvine. They are both VPN certified. In order to be VPN certified you need to follow a pretty strict guideline of where you source the ingredients, thickness of the pizza, type of oven, etc… As close as you can get to Italy without being there?

Another suggestion but more along the lines of Mozza style pizza is Folks Pizzeria. This place is legit and was recently written up at Eater. There will be lines. You can walk down the street to Green Cheek for a nice pint while you wait. Wine Lab is next door as well.

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She hasn’t mentioned “soupy”, just that the sauce has been “amazingly fresh and tomato-y”. Angelina’s is close enough and seems to be on the side of the Spectrum that isn’t a challenge to get to (I’m not a fan). Kinda pricey compared to what we’re used to but hopefully worth it.

Have you tried 1245 in Costa Mesa? It’s not really an Italian restaurant but the pizza is supposed to be very good.

Thank you!!

Did you mean 2145 in Costa Mesa? I have not been but several friends told me that the pizza at Folks Pizzeria is significantly better. Did not ask about the actual Italian food.

The neopolitan style is a little soupy in the center. It’s generally a knife and fork operation vs the fold in half NY style. I prefer Fuoco by a hair over Angelina’s but Angelina’s has a more diverse menu. Plus a much better bar program. And its closer to you and not in the Spectrum which is the parking situation from hell. Hopefully this hits the spot.

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Sorry, but not all piizzas in Italy are VPN certified, nor even trying to be VPN certifiable.

There are so many different types of pizza, esp. if we are talking about the places OP’s wife has visited, i.e. Florence, Italy, Venice, Rome, etc.

It’s like sort of asking where do I get an American style pizza, when we have NYC slices, Chicago thick crust, Detroit style, etc. Impossible to answer.

Same with pizza in Italy. Italian pizza (real or otherwise) is not so homogenous.


Yes, Costa Mesa. And thanks, a closer look shows Angelina’s is on the other side of the 405, near Whole Foods it looks like. All the better. Fuoco would be in the ‘occasion’ category due to distance. My wife works at South Coast Plaza so Folks is a takeout option. We likely will try all except Fuoco……. unless the others disappoint, which doesn’t seem likely.

Good point. I was just assuming and you know what happens when you assume.

I’ve had plenty of bad VPN pizza in the U.S. (and once in Italy).

It’s just like Champagne. There can be bad Champagne, when for the same price you could get much better sparkling wine.

We’ll just have to do the research!! :laughing::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I’ve only visited Italy once, and that was ~20 yrs ago. I had a slice of pizza my first day there in Rome, and the closest we have here is probably something like a flat bread w/ toppings. The tomato literally tasted as if someone had picked it that day (the day before?) at the peak of ripeness.

I’ve never seen or tasted anything like that here. Even if the form factor were similar, I don’t think the taste itself would be that easy to replicate.

Does your wife have a picture of her favorite pizzas from Italy? That might be helpful.

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Went to Angelina’s a couple of nights ago. My wife’s take on the pizza (buffalo mozzarella, olives, artichokes, prosciutto, basil) was that it looked pretty much like most she had in Italy, if a bit larger, but the sauce wasn’t as fresh/bright as in Italy. She thought maybe, next time, we‘d order a plain Margherita so the sauce could stand out more. As in Italy the pizza wasn’t pre-cut and took a bit of effort, with one small piece winding up on the floor as a result of the difficulty cutting through the edge. :woozy_face:.

For me, I thought the pizza was basically good but almost room temp and pretty bland-tasting. I’d guess this would have been countered by an amazing flavor in the sauce. She brought home some canned ‘pizza sauce’ and our son has promised to make some pizza using it in his outdoor Ooni oven when it stops raining here (whenever that may be)…

Overall, to be fair to Angelina’s, the meal and service were very good overall. A Negroni, beet salad, pizza, Brunello, and Panacotta couldn’t really be anything else. The inside area was full at our 7PM res time, and my wife’s first comment was that the acoustics/sound level was far louder than any of the 20 or so restaurants she’d dined at in Italy. Not fair to Angelina’s to be compared to a once in a lifetime travel memory.


I’ve used the Cipriani brand plain (100%) tomato pulp my wife got at work as a sauce in some TJ’s butternut squash ravioli and she’s loved it. All I added was a bit of good olive oil and finished with some of the dried seasoning blend she brought home from her trip. I’m thinking that the lack of garlic is letting a really good tomato flavor shine here.

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