I've definitely had my eye on this spot for awhile. My brother wanted pizza so I suggested trying this out. As we were on the road, I made a reservation for 8pm. This was just 30 minutes prior to arrival through Open Table, but the time was available so we took it.
We arrived just about 10 minutes before reservation and the house was packed on a Friday night. There were no tables open so they suggested we hit the bar while we wait. Brother gets a Manhattan and I get an Old Fashioned. We chatted up for a good 30 minutes before we were seated at a table. Once our table was ready, we switched over. I wasn't sure if we needed to close out or if the bill transfers, but typically the bills are separate. Fortunately, they made an exception and combined our drinks with the final bill!
After a long wait at the bar, we were hungry. We took some time to finalize our decisions and made some modifications after hearing the daily specials. Boyfriend got the calamari to share and had the 8oz filet mignon steak. My brother and I chose to stick with the main menu - Saporita & Penne al Sugo con Polpette.
The calamari was lightly tossed in batter and served with two choices of sauce - spicy marinara and an aioli. The boyfriend's steak entree was the first to arrive. Dressed with carrots and potatoes, the steak was cooked in garlic to offer its aroma.
The penne al sugo con polpette combines the best of both worlds - pasta and Angelina's popular meatballs. My original intent was to try the Polpette con Sugo, which is the meatball in a tomato sauce, but felt it wouldn't be substantial enough as an entree. The price difference wasn't too significant, so the added pasta was a nice added value. The penne was al dente, but a bit harder than I'd like. The tomato sugo had a nice balance of sweetness and sourness from the crushed tomatoes. Meatballs were phenomenal and I can understand the hype behind them. It was tender and juicy with seasoned flavor, which I'm sure they are kept secret as a house recipe!
Brother chose the Saporita, a pie topped with Napoletana-style sausage, Gorgonzola cheese, Mozzarella di Bufala, San Marzano DOP pomodoro sauce, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil. The crust has some nice wood fire blisters on the edges, but the middle was incredibly soggy and runny, as if the moisture of ingredients pooled to the middle or it didn't get enough love from the wood fire oven. It was a little disappointing.
Although we came through with the intent to have pizza, the end result did not live up to our expectations. I would like to come back to try another pie option to see if results vary, but until then, catch ya next time!
Angelina's Pizzeria Napoletana
Los Olivos Marketplace
8573 Irvine Center Drive
Irvine, CA 92618