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Newport Beach Blog

Italian Dining in Newport Beach

April 23, 2015

Italian cuisine speaks to everyone. From pizza to pasta, we have grown up knowing some of the wonderful creations and flavors that are a huge part of the Italian culture. Newport Beach is home to some noodle slurping, sauce dripping, garlic crazed eateries and some of the best in Orange County.

Il Barone Ristorante­ Facci ri Veccia
Many people have trouble deciding which dish is more amazing from this influential Italian destination, but everyone knows how to start. Facci ri Veccia, a layered appetizer with paper thin focaccia stuffed with crescenza cheese topped with Prosciutto and white truffle oil, is the only way to begin a meal at Il Barone. Chef Franco Barone has been bringing more than exceptional Italian fare to Orange County for years, but still in humility and integrity keeps his restaurant truly beautiful and inspired. His wife, Donatella Barone, make certain the warmth from the heart of the kitchen is translated through the welcoming service, and if you come a second time (which I am sure you will), she will remember you like it was yesterday. For the traveler missing their family, you will find that same love here.

For the same hospitality and food quality, but less “date night” feel, visit Il Barone on Balboa Village at Il Barone Pizza e Pasta.

Mama D’s ­ Meatballs and Pink Sauce
Grandma opened the sauce pot, and out came all the secrets. This New York family transplanted here to move closer to the beach and brought with them recipes that have a core of Italian flavors. What seems to keep this little joint packed to the brim, is its Pink Sauce. Now, what pink sauce is, and how much of what is in what is for you to decide, but I gather it is a combination of white and red sauce making a perfectly creamy yet bright sauce concoction. Find your favorite movie star photo on the wall while you “lady and the tramp” some spaghetti and pink sauce. If 3 thousand yelpers say its good, it might be worth trying.

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The Original Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store ­ Pinwheels and Garlic Knots
Not all Italian has to be serious pasta fare. The Original Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store brings gluttonous creations to life. Most famously their Pizza Pinwheel, think a pizza rolled up and then cut into slices,. for someone like me who likes an even ratio of gooey and bready, its a perfect fit. Those pinwheels with some garlic knots are the a fast track to a food coma, but what a ride it would be.

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Sabatino’s ­ Stuffed Pasta Roll
Sabatino’s is a staple of the Newport Beach community with sausage is their biggest claim to fame. Then, to take that most famous product, wrap it in lasagna noodles and top it with marinara and alfredo sauce, you are sure to have everything you need for a successful dinner. The history of the Sabatino family is deeply rooted in Sicilian culture, and over a hundred years of serving their family recipes, they hold all the ingredients of success.

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Canaletto Ristorante Veneto ­ Salted Caramel Gelato
For the fashionista and finer fare folk, Fashion Island is host to a grandiose Italian kitchen. Canaletto takes you on a regional culinary journey that changes with each visit. Wine and food specials that highlight the splendors of regional Italian fare monthly, and the high ceilings and open space invites an incredible sense of Italian luxury. End your journey with the Salted Caramel Gelato, it’s something to write home about.

Modo Mio Cucina Rustica ­ Sauteed Mushroom
To get gifts when its not even Christmas? I don’t even understand. Modo Mio is bringing a much more relatable dining adventure to the Newport dining scene. With a very traditional menu and a close proximity to the beach, this is a prime dining spot for Newport diners. In true Italian fashion, filling your day with hospitality is a staple practice here, and their complementary sauteed mushrooms have now become a local trademark of their love for their guests.

Barolo By the Sea ­ Tiramisu
“Bobby! Where do I find a great Tiramisu?” Obviously, “Italy” is my first response. A close second would be the Tiramisu at Barolo by the Sea. The special touch of having Eldy the owner serve it to you with a giant smile, only adds to the charm of this establishment. Tell Piedmonte, you would rather eat here anyway.

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Pirrozi ­ Butternut Squash Ravioli
Alexander Pirrozi brings another top rated Italian spot in Orange County, luckily for the people of Newport Beach, it’s right in their backyard. Pirrozi has owned several restaurants in the area, and is known to bring his bright personality to each of the spots he owns in the beachside cities of OC. A long standing tradition of fall menus in Italian restaurants are the famed Butternut Squash Ravioli with sage butter sauce. Chef Alexander Pirrozi’s Ravioli dish brings in fans from all over the county, you’re next.

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Pizzeria Mozza ­ Three Meat Lasagna
There was about a year of my life that I lost one dinner a week to Pizzeria Mozza, and it was on Lasagna Friday. The flavors rich, delicious, creamy and succulent. The excitement of visiting a new restaurant is often much more exciting to me than repeating a restaurant. This dish had me waking up and wishing everyday was Friday. Not because of weekend plans, or the end of the work week, but because lasagna. Now, from what I hear, they offer this incredible dish throughout the week, but I think I’ve eaten enough for all of our lifetimes.

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Main Slider Image Photo Credit: Pirozzi

Written by @visitnewportbeach

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