Pizza Capricciosa. Photo: Matt Cortina
Pizza Capricciosa. Photo: Matt Cortina

Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana
32860 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point

A wood-fired pizza oven does not guarantee great pizza—great ingredients and masterful technique do. The folks at Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana know this.

There are lots of examples on the pizza capricciosa that show how Angelina’s gets it. Start with the mozzarella di bufala (water buffalo’s milk cheese). Now a staple of “artisanal” pizza joints, mozzarella di bufala is slightly “healthier” than cow’s milk cheese, but its creamy mouthfeel and slightly sweet, slightly sour taste is what really sets it apart.

But the cheese is but one thoughtful adornment to the pizza. Pit-in Gaeta olives—which taste like, one assumes, foie gras from a duck that only drinks red wine—marry unctuous and earthy mushrooms, scorched fresh basil, firecracker olive oil and thin slices of straight-up ham baked in the oven. Then there’s funky-sweet artichoke hearts strewn about. And all of that is on a thin (though slightly thicker than other Neapolitan pies) and expertly charred, no-frills crust.

But all of that could be considered secondary to the simple sauce. Flash cooked and imported San Marzano tomatoes, still foamy from cooking, blend with the olive oil, basil oil and the fatty cheese to create nectar.

A lot of what you’ll see, taste and hear at Angelina’s is imported from Italy; but what makes their pizza great—a passion for excellence—only comes from within.

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