Pizza D'Oro Is the Golden Pizza

Mark your calendars for Nov. 10, gentle readers: That's when the Weekly teams up with KCRW-FM 89.9's Good Food With Evan Kleiman to present our second Happy Hour in Orange County. It'll be at Mesa (725 Baker St., Costa Mesa, 714-557-6700) and start at 7 p.m. Expect more of what we featured at our previous event together—giveaways, drink and food specials, hundreds of fellow foodies, great music, and me rambling like a madman.

We decided to hold it at Mesa, not just because it's an excellent restaurant with one of the cooler settings in our fair land, but also to highlight its eponymous city. Over the past decade, Costa Mesa has surpassed Laguna Beach and Newport Beach to become the second-best dining city in Orange County (sorry, folks, but I'll always have a hometown bias for Anaheim). Whether it's the high-end restaurants at South Coast Plaza, the young guns at Old Vine Café, the vegan stalwarts at Avanti, hidden surprises à la Rick's Atomic Cafe, or holes-in-the-wall such as Super Pollo, Costa Mesa truly does offer a little bit of everything to anyone needing something to grub. And yet when it comes to comfort food, and I'm not feeling like going to the TK Burger near the Weekly world headquarters, I usually head to the original Pizza D'Oro, that trio of checkered-tablecloth Italian restaurants that has stuffed eaters in Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley for more than 40 years.

You can recite the menu from our collective Italian-American memory: the tangled network of spaghetti (served all-you-can-eat on Wednesday for a preposterous $4.95); the subs with enough girth to knock a baseball out of Angels Stadium; the garlic bread buttered until it's nearly sopping but still crispy; parmigiana of the veal, chicken and eggplant varieties that crunch like a chicken-fried steak. About the fanciest thing here are the baby clams with linguini, tart bivalves that nevertheless lose their subtlety under a mountain of yummy linguini. Pizza D'Oro isn't looking for foodie buzz so much as to fill you for the next three days.

On that note, the main reason to visit the place is for the legendary Giant Slice of pizza. This goes beyond truth in advertising: For about five bucks, you get something as big as your face, so gargantuan you can't even fold it properly. Put this on your OC bucket list—better yet, hang out with us freaks and geeks at Mesa Nov. 10, and let's head to Pizza D'Oro afterward to soak up the booze. See you there!


This column appeared in print as “The Golden Pizza.”

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