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Making up my own mind about Mozza

Pizzeria Mozza turns out to be another gem at Headquarters

Pizza alla Benno
Pizza alla Benno
Place

Pizzeria Mozza

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

I’m not much of a Yelper, but when I was searching to verify the address for the new Pizzeria Mozza restaurant at the Headquarters two weeks after it opened, Yelp was the first site that popped up. I clicked because I was surprised at how low the ratings were, and I needed to know what the perceived problem was. I had been to Mario Batali’s Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, and remembered it fondly. How could the same concept do so poorly here? There were some complaints about the prices, a few about the simplicity of the plates, but the overwhelming consensus among Yelpers was that the service was terrible. These findings squelched my urge to race over there in the first month.

Primavera Rosso, a refreshing rum cocktaiil

Weeks went by, and I had completely forgotten about my hankering to check out Mozza for myself until my foodie friends Hannah and Allard told me they loved the place so much that they dined there at least once a week. Because I trust my friends more than Yelp, I grabbed David and headed to Mozza for lunch.

We arrived at the tail end of lunchtime, so the restaurant was only about 20 percent occupied, and we were seated immediately. My concerns about the service were quickly quelled by our informed, attentive, and friendly server. It was a lovely summer afternoon, the perfect atmosphere for a refreshing cocktail. I ordered the Primavera Rosso, with rum, strawberry, mint, and Velvet Falernum, the staple liqueur in most Caribbean cocktails.

Huge slices of well-oiled bread
Scrumptious meatballs al forno

There were little breadsticks on the table, but they were hollow and tasteless (I remarked they were probably there for decoration instead of eating), which was fine, because we were ordering bread anyway, along with the meatball appetizer. The bread was soaked in olive oil, a little too much for my tastes, but the dough itself was delicious and well-textured, and the meatballs were so yummy that David and I cut the last one in half to make sure we each had our fair share, then we used the bread to sop up every bit of the marinara.

Deliciously refreshing labneh bruschetta

The bruschetta with labneh (spreadable cheese made from Greek yogurt), fresh peas, mint, and lemon — a mixture of garden-fresh flavors — momentarily transported me back to the Mediterranean.

Of course, we weren’t going to visit a pizzeria without sampling some pizza. And we chose wisely. The Pizza alla Benno comes with tomato, mozzarella, speck, pineapple, and jalapeño. But unlike the pineapple pizzas of my past, rather than little fibrous chunks, this pineapple was sliced and layered like the speck atop it, which gave it a satisfyingly chewy texture. All pineapple on pizzas should be prepared this way.

We had no room for dessert, but there’s plenty of time for that in the future, as we will most certainly be back to mangia more at Mozza.

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Pizza alla Benno
Pizza alla Benno
Place

Pizzeria Mozza

789 W. Harbor Drive, San Diego

I’m not much of a Yelper, but when I was searching to verify the address for the new Pizzeria Mozza restaurant at the Headquarters two weeks after it opened, Yelp was the first site that popped up. I clicked because I was surprised at how low the ratings were, and I needed to know what the perceived problem was. I had been to Mario Batali’s Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles, and remembered it fondly. How could the same concept do so poorly here? There were some complaints about the prices, a few about the simplicity of the plates, but the overwhelming consensus among Yelpers was that the service was terrible. These findings squelched my urge to race over there in the first month.

Primavera Rosso, a refreshing rum cocktaiil

Weeks went by, and I had completely forgotten about my hankering to check out Mozza for myself until my foodie friends Hannah and Allard told me they loved the place so much that they dined there at least once a week. Because I trust my friends more than Yelp, I grabbed David and headed to Mozza for lunch.

We arrived at the tail end of lunchtime, so the restaurant was only about 20 percent occupied, and we were seated immediately. My concerns about the service were quickly quelled by our informed, attentive, and friendly server. It was a lovely summer afternoon, the perfect atmosphere for a refreshing cocktail. I ordered the Primavera Rosso, with rum, strawberry, mint, and Velvet Falernum, the staple liqueur in most Caribbean cocktails.

Huge slices of well-oiled bread
Scrumptious meatballs al forno

There were little breadsticks on the table, but they were hollow and tasteless (I remarked they were probably there for decoration instead of eating), which was fine, because we were ordering bread anyway, along with the meatball appetizer. The bread was soaked in olive oil, a little too much for my tastes, but the dough itself was delicious and well-textured, and the meatballs were so yummy that David and I cut the last one in half to make sure we each had our fair share, then we used the bread to sop up every bit of the marinara.

Deliciously refreshing labneh bruschetta

The bruschetta with labneh (spreadable cheese made from Greek yogurt), fresh peas, mint, and lemon — a mixture of garden-fresh flavors — momentarily transported me back to the Mediterranean.

Of course, we weren’t going to visit a pizzeria without sampling some pizza. And we chose wisely. The Pizza alla Benno comes with tomato, mozzarella, speck, pineapple, and jalapeño. But unlike the pineapple pizzas of my past, rather than little fibrous chunks, this pineapple was sliced and layered like the speck atop it, which gave it a satisfyingly chewy texture. All pineapple on pizzas should be prepared this way.

We had no room for dessert, but there’s plenty of time for that in the future, as we will most certainly be back to mangia more at Mozza.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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