Highly rated by culinary publications, the pizzeria ortica claims they are obsessed with creating the finest pizza, and that claim I am not so sorry to say, is a bogus claim. From the locale being in a highly exclusive area you can tell you are going to pay above average prices for their food. That would be okey if the food was as good as the die hard loyalist had boasted.
Our experience with the place happened yesterday, 10-18-2012. I had read in the Los Angeles Magazine that this was a superior pizza in more ways than one, and of course like an innocent trout, I took the bait and went for it. I invited two lovely ladies hoping to impress both with my culinary knowledge of where the best was located, figuring if we indeed had a delicious culinary treat, I would score points of some kind. Regretfully that was not to be and pretty soon remarks where being thrown about how hard and chewy the dough was, etc.
This is my take, blow by blow: Arrived at 6:45 having made a reservation for 7:00PM at the insistence of the one who answered the phone. Better be safe than sorry, we did.
The place was half empty and we were seated in what you would call the ghetto part of the restaurant, right by the door where all the dirty dishes went in. This, in itself, was not enough to deter my enthusiasm, but did give me pause. The waitress, a young woman of petite nature dressed in black, was very efficient and prompt. She gets 4 Stars and it show on her tip.
She recommended, and I am sure it had been strategized before we arrived for all eaters, the meatballs appetizer that cost $9. She said it was made with chicken and beef, very new and delicious. We ordered it. 2 meatballs arrive, with two fragments of toasted bread, and some drops of marinara sauce. Very bad beginning, meatballs had no special qualities worth mentioning and the amount was (an indication of what was to come) ridiculously small. 2 Stars.
2nd appetizer: Roman styled braised artichokes, shaved ricotta a salata. What came to the table was one artichoke heart, no more, sprinkled with whatever I mentioned above, and it cost $12. Artichokes we do love, quantity we did resented. 3 Stars.
Of course all expectations were for the pizza of Pizzeria Ortica. We ordered:
Salsiccia: House-made sausage, caramelized fennel, mascarpone, red onion. Parmigiano Reggiano at $18 for what in any other setting would be smaller than a small pizza. This is where the baloney took a bitter turn: First of all the pizza only had a minimal amount of toppings and it was all concentrated in the center, while all the rest was dried dough (of which apparently they are very proud to serve) and with a total of 4 slices it was like chewing bread with a hint of anything else. 1 Star.
Next Pizza: Milanesa: Fontina, asparagus, Parmigiano Reggiano, and fried egg? The only decent topping was the egg, which I admit I did not even read it would be part of this pizza but it was there. The topping once again were so minimal that most of the surface of this high praised pizza was once again their famous dough, that by this time it reminded me of a bread they sell a a local greek market that taste exactly the same but costs 90% less. What a pompous kitchen that can send such a meager pizza and pretend it avant grade, that one should be honored instead of pissed off! Price? $16 for more bread basically. 1 Star.
Last and never to return for pizza: Calabrese: San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, rapine, Calabrian chilies, bottarga. Sounds good, doesn't it? The same serving. 5% topping, 95% dough, which by the way is Not all that! $18
Sad and rejected, we left the place with the solemn promise never to set foot on again. Be advised, nice world travelers, that not because the media claims this is the pizza to eat, does not make it so. Expensive, meager servings, in no way memorable, we paid full price to find out. Total bill? close to $100 buckaroos, sad day for the american dollar!