I’m sure you’ve heard of the Midas Touch before. That’s how I feel about Chef Ryan Adams in that everything he touches turns to gold! We’re staunch fans of his 370 Common, and he’s taking that crazy good fried chicken to another level when he opens Buttermilk in a few weeks. For now, his Parallel Pizza in Dana Point is making a HUGE splash. The eatery has only been open a few weeks, and to say it is good only undermines how exceptional it really is.
Step inside the mostly minimalist dining room where you’ll find 70s and 80s vintage skateboards, regional surf images, and punk band flyers along with splashes of 70s East Coast grit. Combine that with the East Coast style — specifically New Haven, Connecticut — oblong shaped thin-crust pizzas, and a handful of appetizers to boot and the result is an all-around winning combination of tasty fun.
When it comes to pizza, everyone has an opinion. Food is super personal, so before you start bombarding me with comments on why I’m right or wrong, all I can say is, these are my opinions and mine alone.
But before we get started on the pizzas, we begin our meal with tender and delicious Housemade Meatballs ($7.95) bathed in marinara, and sprinkled with parmesan. They’re also served with some of the most fabulous garlic bread you’ll ever eat.
Never one to forego chicken wings, these Sweet & Spicy Wings ($6.95) are beyond good and super hard to resist. These crispy bites are enveloped in a glaze made with honey, chile, thyme, lemon, and hot sauce. Wait, am I here for pizza or chicken wings? It’s a blur because I want it all.
So many pizzas to choose from, but I’ve only limited stomach space. If I am only to choose one pizza, it’s definitely going to be Clam ($$22.95 one size only) which is topped with little neck clams, bacon, pecorino, onion, garlic, chile flake, olive oil, and parsley. If you’ve watched that pizza episode on Ugly Delicious, you’ll recognize famed New Haven pizzeria Frank Pepe and its third generation owner Gary Bimonte. Chef Ryan consulted with Bimonte on the clam pizza, so you know it is legit! — possibly my favorite pizza at Parallel.
I didn’t think I’d like Stinger ($17.95/$25.95) when I read its ingredients. I was skeptical about the wildflower honey simply because I was afraid it’d be too sweet. Of course I was wrong! This full bodied pie brings together red sauce, pepperoni, jalapeno, parmesan, garlic, olive oil, and chile flakes, and a drizzle of wildflower honey. The spicy, sweet, salty combination is tantalizing on the palate and is strangely alluring. If you like spicy foods, this is definitely the pie for you.
Another favorite was Killer Dana ($17.95/$25.95) comprising Italian chicken sausage, sweet peppers, garlic parmesan, chile flakes, and cilantro pesto.
I was intrigued by the offering of cauliflower crust (+$4) — for gluten free customers — and tried the White & Green ($18.95/$27.95) with prosciutto, parmesan, ricotta, garlic, arugula, chile flakes, and cilantro pesto. Chef Ryan reveals that there is cheese in the cauliflower crust which results in a crispy and highly flavorful base. Personally, I’d stick to the regular crust, but if you’re medically unable to eat it, then this is a decent substitute.
Of course, everyone has his or her own preference but for me, the crust is the most important factor to a good pizza. I like thin crust pizza. Neapolitan style is preferred although I’m not a fan of wet pizza.
If you’re looking for something other than pizza, there are other items on the menu as well such as the Hoagie ($9.95). The sandwich is packed with meat, mozzarella, tomato, lettuce, olives, onions peppers and drizzled with vinaigrette. It’s a simple yet solid sandwich!
At Parallel Pizza, the crust is thin, not soggy, and when combined with the right mix of toppings, the flavor profiles created are what makes for a stellar pizza. Chicken wings and pizza — now that’s what I call comfort food! If you want a sandwich, that’s fine too, but seriously though….. get a pizza!
34255 Pacific Coast Hwy, #101
Dana Point, CA 92629
(parking available behind building)