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2.5 Stars For Pizza, Not Atmosphere at Pizzeria Mozza

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Today Sher treks down to Orange County where she is mostly won over by newly opened Pizzeria Mozza, handing out two and a half stars. While the food, especially the pizza dough, receives high marks, she isn't as taken with the atmosphere, even though the restaurant is a dead ringer for its LA counterpart:

Not just the logo, everything else looks familiar too. The Roman red walls. The milky glass light fixtures. The bare wood tables. The pounding rock music track. And the brown paper place mats printed with Italian cartoons or diagrams of office products in Italian. The menu itself is virtually identical to that of the original locale, which is what we all were hoping, isn't it?
Everything on the menu is uncannily similar in taste. Close your eyes and you'd be hard-pressed to identify a dish as coming from this locale as opposed to Los Angeles. That's due to Silverton's fanatical attention to detail. But you can't bottle an ambience or feeling, and that's where the new restaurant differs from the first one...the Newport restaurant is not a perfect replica. The setting feels wrong. The room is overscaled and feels more corporate than personal. The layout isn't as cozy. The lighting is bleary. And the big pizza oven with copper surrounding it has that overblown, chain restaurant look.
Ouch. SIV goes on to state that, nonetheless, "this is still the best pizzeria in Orange County, measured on every level," but she wonderings if "the Newport Beach branch needs more time to develop its own mojo." [LAT]

Jonathan Gold enjoys the Dal Rae at Christmas: "a pulsing, meat-scented wonderland of dark wood and smoked mirrors and shrimp cocktails as big as spaniel pups, Old-Fashioneds pulsing with sugar, tiny lightbulbs of such profusion and such blinking complexity that it can feel as if you are trapped on the inside of a vintage Rock-Ola." [LAW]

The Elsewhere: Eat: LA tries Forage, kevinEats at Prive Molecular Pop-Up Restaurant at Tiato, LA & OC Foodventures samples caviar at Petrossian, LA Snark picks Luna Park, Squid Ink eats a sandwich at Baco Mercat, Midtown Lunch considers Kabab Mahaleh, Refined Palate does Villetta, and Sinosoul hits Papilles.

Pizzeria Mozza

641 North Highland Avenue, , CA 90036 (323) 297-0101 Visit Website

Pizzeria Mozza

800 West Coast Hwy Newport Beach, CA 92663

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