It’s been a while since I last visited Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana (there’s one in Irvine, and another in Dana Point. I am surprised to see Chef Jonah Amodt helming the kitchen — Chef Jonah was previously with Andrea at Pelican Hill Resort — but thoroughly enjoyed our in-depth conversations around our favorite topic. Since my last visit over a year ago, new menu items have been added, with more to come.
My friend and I enjoy some cocktails while we peruse the menu. One of the standouts — which you can share — is from the Infusioni ($32) section of the cocktail menu.
We pick Il Dottore which consists of Purus organic vodka, lemongrass, honey, and ginger infused with lemongrass, ginger, strawberries, and lemon. We absolutely adored its stunning presentation bottle which is by Crucial Detail, called a ‘porthole’. You’ll get approximately three drinks from this, and trust me when I say, it is WAY too easy to drink.
Our server suggests Calamari Fritti ($18) and we see no reason why we shouldn’t start with these crispy, lightly breaded calamari rings and tentacles. I love the burnt lemon which imparts a beautiful citrusy hint, but without the extreme tartness from a just-cut lemon. I find fried foods to pair perfectly well with libations. Tartare and spicy pomodoro sauce accompany.
I’m a huge sucker for octopus, so Polipo ($18) is a must! This warm arugula salad is dotted with bits of octopus, shrimp, potatoes, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and mint salmoriglio (traditionally made with oregano and parsley). The chunks of octopus can be bigger, but flavor-wise, it is absolutely on-point.
One of the new items on the menu is Tagliatelle de Nere di Mare ($26) using house-made squid ink pasta, and tossed with a seafood melange of calamari, shrimp, and clams. Cherry tomatoes lend a hint of sweet/tart, while saffron lobster stock embraces the dish with bursts of umami.
I am also highly impressed by the sheer simplicity of Halibut de Stagione ($28). You get a piece of well-executed seared Alaskan halibut, paired with sauteed oyster mushrooms and baby leeks. Mushrooms are naturally umami-filled, and by combining baby leeks, the amalgamation of flavors is simply outstanding, albeit, in an understated way.
Who can resist pizza? Burrata pizza ($21) is a new offering with toppings of burrata, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, prosciutto di parma, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil. The creaminess of the cheese, coupled with the saltiness of the prosciutto, provide a playful savoriness on the palate.
I wasn’t interested in ordering Tiramisu ($8) but again, our server convinced us to do so. I’m glad we did because this is one of the best renditions I’ve ever eaten — and I’ve eaten this on four different continents. The lady fingers are perfectly soaked with espresso which gives them the ideal consistency when paired with the other ingredients: mascarpone cheese, eggs, and sugar. The texture is light and airy without extreme sweetness. In fact, it was the perfect amount of sweetness for my palate — I ate almost half the plate which is unheard of!
I can’t wait to return for a new dessert — zabaglione — that chef is adding to the menu. It is one of my all-time favorite desserts and judging from the tiramisu, I’m sure the zabaglione will be just as perfect as the tiramisu.
Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana
Los Olivos Marketplace
8573 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618
Monarch Bay Plaza
32860 Pacific Coast Highway
Dana Point, CA 92629