I admit, I’m kind of a pizza snob. Frankly, there are only a few places I’d eat pizza at and Orange County isn’t by any means the epicenter of great pizzerias. This is why, when I tried the pizzas at the newly opened Pitfire in Costa Mesa, I was really impressed by how cool the restaurant looked, but more importantly, by the quality of the pizzas and especially, the prices. Some seriously cool things of note in the decor includes Volkswagen cushions on the banquettes, surfboard-inspired tabletops, Volkswagen headlights which ‘spells’ out Pitfire in braille and the nautical theme in general due to its proximity to the water. The attention to detail brought a smile to my face. The restaurant is fast casual — you order up front and find a place to sit, but by no means is this some ordinary establishment. The staff are attentive, you can bring the kids, but you can also enjoy adult moments by savoring in some funky cocktails such as The Flamin’ P with reposado and jalapeno, an aperol infused Neroni, “The Duke” which has the sweetness of cherries or The Crystal Cove garnished with a stick of rosemary. The sangrias were my favorites though. There is a traditional, which they carry at all times, and then a rotating one depending on season. Right now they are serving Apple Pear Sangria ($4.50/$16 pitcher) which was a little sweet for me — I loved the traditional and had a couple of glasses of it — WOO HOO. We started with some Flatbread & Ricotta ($6) — crispy flatbread topped with parmesan, parsley and a brush of garlic oil served with herb ricotta topped with diced tomato and olive with a drizzle of California extra virgin olive oil. Nice accompaniment with my drink, but I wasn’t filling up on this. I was here for the pizza and I needed to leave room to try as many as I could, however, I don’t have room for everything so I’m going to highlight my favorites. I’m a huge fan of burrata so The Burrata Pie ($9.95) was definitely one I kept my eyes out for. Topped with tomato sauce, caramelized onion, creamy burrata, wild arugula, hazelnuts for crunch, and a pesto drizzle made a very interesting combination. I loved the marriage of creamy and crunch! For pizza traditionalists, the Margherita ($9.50) will definitely please. Fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, California extra virgin olive oil and torn basil make for a very simple pizza. My son is a meat fiend so Sausage Party ($11.95) was a huge hit. Huntington fennel sausage, Zoe’s bacon, salami and prosciutto, tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and a dense balsamic drizzle finished off this nice salty concoction. From the seasonal menu, Brussels Sprouts & Bacon ($11) was a huge hit with my son and I both. Brussel sprouts leaves, cream, bacon, garlic, parmesan — what’s NOT to love??? This possesses everything we love and I really didn’t want to share. Right now, the Tuscan Pie is available — the 10th anniversary special pizza pie — for a mere $7.95. Along with the pie comes an anniversary t-shirt to commemorate this event (passed out while supplies last). Red onions, grilled chicken, roasted rosemary potatoes, mozzarella, pesto and gorgonzola makes it the bet deal ever. It’s not on the menu so if you want it, make sure you ask for it. Veggie Platter ($9.95) was a generous plate of kale with golden raisins and pine nuts, fall squash with honey and mint, farro salad with roasted mushrooms and hazelnuts, roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic parmesan dressing served with heirloom beans. Everything on the plate was absolutely delicious. My mind was rolling around thinking I could pick this up to serve at dinner and it would be an absolutely fantastic addition. For those looking for anything other than pizzas or salads, well, let me tell you there’s something for everyone. We tried the Handcrafted Chicken Meatballs ($6) which were tender and perfectly textured. I’m very fussy about marinara sauce and I had no criticism on the one here — it was spot on! My son adored the Chicken & Mushroom Cavatappi ($10.95) and the kid doesn’t even like mushrooms. He does however love wild arugula and this was wilted into the pasta and worked very well with the porcini lemon cream and parmesan. I’m happy that Pitfire is not far from me. This is a great place to pick up a pizza or two for dinner and for me, I can choose my own and not have to compromise on toppings because my son wants something else. We can both have our own pizzas — although I have a feeling we’ll both end up with the Brussels sprouts one!
Pitfire Artisan Pizza 353 E 17th Street Costa Mesa, CA 92627 Tel: 949-313-6333