Neapolitan Pizzeria & Birreria brings the flavors of Naples to Laguna Beach.
By Micaela Myers | Photos by Jody Tiongco
Thinking of a traditional Americanized pizza place is not the way to think of Neapolitan Pizzeria & Birreria. This self-described “authentic Italian eatery” is a far cry from most pizza places. To start with, the made-from-scratch pizzas are created using 00 fine flour from Naples and cooked in a 900-degree Stefano Ferrara Napoli oven—not your run-of-the-mill stonefire oven. The wood used is fruit wood cut thin, and the pizzas are topped with sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes and top-quality mozzarella. Then comes the final star of the show: seasonal, locally sourced, high-quality produce. “I’m going to show my produce off,” chef Frank DeLoach says of his cooking. “It’s important to me to have great product.”
That exceptional produce helps create beautiful and tasty salads, small plates and, of course, pizzas, in a menu that constantly adjusts to showcase what’s in season. All of the items on the menu are designed for sharing.
On our recent visit, we started with some phenomenal crostino topped with California burrata, salt roasted beets and hazelnut arugula pesto. (I could have probably eaten pounds of them!) Next we sampled the delicata squash with agrodolce, cilantro, gorgonzola and toasted seeds before our main course: the Il Mercato pizza featuring marinated kale, beet tops, lemon vin and garlic. Now, mind you, this pizza has no meat or cheese. I’m not a huge fan of kale, so this is not a pizza I normally would have ordered, but it was delicious. And now that I’ve had it, I would definitely order it again. I didn’t even miss the cheese. That’s one lesson it’s important to learn before ordering at Neapolitan: Try it. Chef Frank says many customers want to adjust their orders to what they’re used to before trying the items as designed. While you may not be familiar with the combinations, you likely won’t be disappointed.
During our meal, we sampled drinks from Neapolitan’s awesome list, which includes California micro brews, Italian and California wines, and craft cocktails. For dessert, we had the ice cream sandwich, combining various textures and flavors for a sweet and delicious concoction made with LA Creamery honeycomb ice cream, fresh honey and orange reduction on house pizzelle.
We will definitely be back to Neapolitan, ready for more fresh flavors and unexpected (but tasty) combinations. LBM
Neapolitan Pizzeria & Birreria
31542 S. Coast Hwy.;949-499-4531; nealaguna.com
Hours: Noon – 10 p.m. daily
Price: $7 – $18 (desserts – pizzas)
Tip: The menu adjusts every two weeks to showcase produce at its best, so no two visits will be exactly the same. Dine indoors or out year-round, with heaters available on the patios.