The long-awaited Pizzeria Mozza opened its fourth outpost—and first in San Diego—in November at The Headquarters at Seaport District. Reviews have been hot and cold, with some gripes about the 130-seat restaurant feeling too cramped and other raves over the famous crust coming out of its wood-burning ovens. Eater's seen a notable difference between the pies that have been emerging lately to those that debuted with the first launch; happily, the pizzaiolos seem to have found their groove.
It's much more than a pizza parlor, however; San Diego's locale has a beefed up entree selection that includes porcini-rubbed rib eye, grilled orata, steak tagliata and pan seared trout. And don't miss the desserts, the housemade gelato is some of the best found in town.
Here's a look at what the critics, Yelpers, bloggers and commenters across the internet have been saying about the famous LA brand birthed by food pros Nancy Silverton, Joseph Bastianich, and Mario Batali.
The Cheesy News: Kirbie's Cravings did a direct margherita comparison with its Newport Beach sister, pictures and all, and it seems the northern sibling won this round. "The pizza was dry and lacked serious amounts of cheese and sauce. I wanted to drop everything and drive up to Newport Beach…this pizza was practically all crust." [Kirbie's Cravings]
The Underwhelmed News: Chowhound checked out Pizzeria Mozza soon after opening, and while the margherita "was OK," he was disappointed the pie didn't get his toes curling. The pizza pregame wasn't great either: The meatball app came out "lukewarm." The reception area was timid, but service was good. [Chowhound]
The Baller News: Meatballs are "cooked to perfection" and had a nice surprise of herb buttered toast on the side, says one recent Yelper. The caprese was creatively done, with plump cherry tomatoes served on the stem with a "yummy" pesto. While the wine by the glass is "pricey," the Sangiovese went well with the meatballs. [Yelp]
The You Got Burned News: This Facebooker has some beef with the food, service, and resto partner Mario Batali: "Mediocre food quality with an arrogant staff. What we should expect from a TV star's restaurant?" [Facebook]
The Piping Hot News: The high-temp oven creates a crisp, puffy rim on pies, reports the U-T. Ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms cloaked in a delicately fried tempura batter was a big hit, they noted, as was the insalata mista tossed with a "light, lemony" dressing. "Swoon worthy" sweets like its signature butterscotch budino with a thin layer of caramel "will draw you back." [U-T]
The Come Inside News: Don't judge a book by its cover, says SD Mag. "Mozza San Diego may not look like much (a rustic Red Lobster is about right), but the fennel sausage pizza with panna and red onions is the only thing you should be looking at." (Unless, of course, Brad Pitt's dining there.) [SD Mag]
The Pizza Party News: Toast piled high with chicken liver paté "sets off alarms," while the pizza crust "might as well be laced with heroin for all the difficulty in not overdosing on," states SD Reader. The only food complaint? "Every dish seduces the palate by way of fatty, salty goodness." Translation: Careful not to OD on olive oil. Design wise, it feels a little jammed with too many tables inside. [SD Reader]
The Just Go With It News: Don't go in expecting the same hip and trendy vibe as its LA counterpart, warns this Trip Advisor. It doesn't get more touristy than sitting in the center of San Diego's HQ at Seaport. Main dishes like rib eye ($75) are sky high, but they stuck with the basics (pizzas that had anything but a "usual run-of-the-mill" taste). [Trip Advisor]
The Negative Nancy News: This Yelper went as far as calling his dining experience a "disaster," with "terrible" wine, "soggy" pizza, and "charred" octopus, equating it to a "more expensive" and "much less tasty" California Pizza Kitchen. "I don't really like that place but at least they don't pretend to be high end and you know what you are getting there." [Yelp]