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Best Italian Restaurants in Costa Mesa | 18 Must-Try Places

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Costa Mesa is a city that inspired us to embark on the simplicity of life. 

This city is known for its thriving arts and culture scene. While we were there, we expanded our art knowledge and became more artistically knowledgeable. 

There are some really good Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa. The city in general is focused on best: Italian from scratch. We enjoyed  handmade pastas and pizzas, created with seasonal ingredients and inventive flavors. We also tried  different signature dishes, prepared with fresh flavors from the garden, farm, and sea. 

When I recall all the memories from my trip to Costa Mesa, I felt like I was transported to Italy through the food served in the seven amazing restaurants we visited, while we had unforgettable time in this dynamic and diverse city in Orange County. 

Italian Restaurants in Costa Mesa

No matter if we are talking about Garduno’s Ristorante Italiano where simple yet high-quality ingredients show the importance of food in daily life; All Forno Cafe offering regional Italian wines alongside classic antipasti, pastas, entrees & pizza.

Pasta Connection with the unique experience of savoring the Italian pasta;  Filomena’s italian kitchen & market, a lovely exhibition kitchen that brings the pleasure of enjoying homemade pasta.

IL Dolce Ristorante with its neapolitan pies & other upmarket Italian fare and Trenta Pizza & Cucina that shows why Italy is the birthplace of pizza, with the thin, crispy crust and simple toppings like tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil, this city has the power to transport you directly in Italy.  

From trendy eateries to traditional Italian restaurants, Costa Mesa offers an experience  that celebrates the magic of the Italian cuisine in this charming city. 

My Top Three Picks of the Best Italian Restaurants in Costa Mesa

RestaurantTop PickOur Rating
Trenta pizza & cucinaLinguine Pescatore5/5
Al Forno CaffeGnocchi Sorrentina
4.5/5
Garduno’s Ristorante ItalianoQuattro Stagioni pizza 
4/5

The 8 Best Italian Restaurants in Costa Mesa

Garduno’s Ristorante Italiano

 298 E 17th St A, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States  +19496455505

Garduno’s Ristorante Italiano in Costa Mesa is a hidden gem that truly captures the essence of authentic Italian cuisine. 

From the moment you walk in, you are enveloped in a warm and inviting ambiance that sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience.

One of the standout features of Garduno’s is its commitment to using fresh, high-quality ingredients. The menu is a culinary journey through Italy, offering a wide range of dishes that cater to various tastes and dietary preferences. 

Whether you’re a fan of traditional pasta dishes, wood-fired pizzas, or fresh seafood, you’ll find something to delight your palate.

Quattro Stagioni pizza

Their wood-fired pizzas are another must-try. The crust is perfectly crispy, and the toppings are fresh and flavorful. The Quattro Stagioni pizza is a personal favorite, offering a delightful combination of artichokes, olives, ham, and mushrooms.

I loved the garlic bread and lasagna together with vegetable lasagna and gamberi al diavolo. 

The Spaghetti with Meatballs were cooked to al dente, meaning it’s tender yet still has a slight firmness when bitten. The long, thin strands of pasta provide the perfect base for the meatballs and sauce to cling to.

Dessert is not to be missed at Garduno’s. The Tiramisu is heavenly, and the Panna Cotta is a silky, delicate treat that rounds off your meal beautifully.

From the charming ambiance to the delectable dishes and exceptional service, this restaurant is a true gem in the world of Italian dining. Whether you’re seeking a romantic dinner or a family celebration, Garduno’s is sure to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and your heart.

Al Forno Caffe

1525 Mesa Verde Dr E, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States  +16572320100

Al Forno Caffe in Costa Mesa is a delightful dining establishment that combines the best of Italian and Mediterranean flavors to create a truly memorable culinary experience. This charming restaurant has quickly become a local favorite, and it’s easy to see why.

From the moment you step inside Al Forno Caffe, you’re greeted with a warm and inviting atmosphere. The interior is cozy and exudes a Mediterranean charm with its rustic wooden furnishings and soft, ambient lighting. 

The menu at Al Forno Caffe is a celebration of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, showcasing a wide range of delectable options that cater to a variety of tastes. 

From homemade pasta dishes to wood-fired pizzas and a diverse selection of appetizers, you’re sure to find something to tantalize your taste buds.

Grilled lamb chops

Their pasta dishes are a highlight. The pasta is prepared to perfection, with a variety of sauces that are both rich and well-balanced. The Gnocchi Sorrentina, for instance, is a creamy and flavorful dish that is a must-try. 

The pizzas are equally impressive, with a thin, crispy crust and fresh, high-quality toppings. The Diavola, with its spicy salami and fresh basil, is a standout.

Al Forno Caffe also boasts an impressive selection of Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Their grilled lamb chops and seafood dishes are cooked to perfection, and the flavors are a delightful departure from the Italian classic

In conclusion, Al Forno Caffe in Costa Mesa is a culinary gem that captures the essence of Mediterranean and Italian cuisine.

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving exceptional food, Al Forno Caffe is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Pasta Connection

1969 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States +19496463484

Pasta Connection in Costa Mesa is a hidden gem that has been serving up exceptional Italian cuisine for years.

The restaurant’s interior is simple yet charming, with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The aroma of freshly cooked pasta and the sound of bubbling pots in the open kitchen add to the authentic Italian feel of the place. It’s the kind of restaurant where you immediately feel at home.

The variety of sauces and toppings available allows for endless customization. Whether you’re a fan of traditional spaghetti and meatballs, a seafood lover who enjoys dishes like linguine with clams, or a vegetarian craving a flavorful pesto pasta, Pasta Connection has you covered.

garlic bread

Other dishes we truly enjoyed are Garlic Bread, Spaghetti Bolognese and Empanada.

We must highlight the fact that their spaghetti feels homemade so good and the chicken Alfredo pizza was delicious. 

To complement your meal, there’s a selection of wines and other beverages, as well as tempting desserts like tiramisu and cannoli.

Pasta Connection in Costa Mesa is a wonderful restaurant that excels in the art of pasta. From the welcoming ambiance to the exceptional dishes and excellent service, it’s a place where you can enjoy a truly authentic Italian dining experience. 

Filomena’s Italian Kitchen & Market

2400 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States  +19493596303

Filomena’s Italian Kitchen & Market in Costa Mesa is a true culinary gem that brilliantly captures the essence of authentic Italian cuisine. 

The pasta dishes at Filomena’s are a revelation. From beloved classics like Spaghetti Carbonara and Lasagna to more adventurous options like handmade Gnocchi with truffle cream sauce, each bite is a testament to the care and passion that goes into the cuisine. The portion sizes are generous, ensuring a satisfying meal.

Their wood-fired pizzas are equally impressive. The crust is thin and perfectly crispy, acting as the canvas for an array of fresh, flavorful toppings. 

The Margherita, with its simple yet exquisite combination of tomato, mozzarella, basil, and olive oil, is a standout choice.

Caprese salad

In addition to the exceptional pasta and pizza offerings, the menu features a variety of delightful appetizers, mains, and daily specials. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty Osso Buco or a light and fresh Caprese salad, Filomena’s has something for every palate.

Service at Filomena’s is both attentive and welcoming. The staff is well-versed in the menu, providing expert guidance and recommendations. 

Filomena’s is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on your taste buds and your heart, so do yourself a favor and visit this restaurant. 

IL Dolce Ristorante

1902 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States  +19492009107

Il Dolce specializes in Italian cuisine, and I must say that it was a delightful experience from start to finish.

Along with a variety of pastas, salads, patrons can select from a number of pizza menu options. Inspired by authentic pies made in Naples, each pizza at Il Dolce is prepared in a wood-fire oven, giving it an authentic, smoky flavor.

This restaurant has a comfortable environment where pizza enthusiasts can watch their pies being prepared. It was a moment that we lived for, such an artistic moment that gave us real blessing to our souls. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil leaves, and a drizzle of olive oil that the pizza with the most beautiful name offered to me, a flavor that was unique and unforgettable.

The margherita was out of this world. And the slices of pepperoni, with tomato sauce as a topping made me truly admire the Italian fare that dominates in this unbelievably great restaurant. 

Margherita

We enjoyed a glass of wine, beer and a delicious cocktail. 

We also opted for the Osso Buco, a classic Milanese dish of braised veal shank served with a rich gremolata and saffron risotto.

The meat was incredibly tender and fell right off the bone, while the risotto was perfectly creamy and bursting with flavor. My dining companions enjoyed dishes like the Fettuccine Alfredo and the Gnocchi Gorgonzola.

Dessert items along with a special gluten-free menu are also available.

IL Dolce Ristorante is a hidden treasure in Costa Mesa, offering an authentic Italian dining experience that is not to be missed. With its charming ambiance, impeccable service, and a menu filled with delectable dishes, this restaurant has earned its place as a must-visit for lovers of Italian cuisine.

Napa Valley Pizza & Pasta 

 2278 Newport Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States +19495747522 

Napa Valley Pizza & Pasta in Costa Mesa offers a dining experience that beautifully marries the heartwarming flavors of Italian cuisine with the welcoming ambiance of California. 

I recently had the pleasure of dining at this restaurant, and I must say it exceeded my expectations in many ways.

We started with the Caprese Salad, a classic appetizer of fresh mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, and basil drizzled with high-quality balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The flavors were vibrant and harmonious, setting a promising tone for the rest of the meal.

Fettuccine Alfredo

For the main course, I tried the Linguine Pescatore, a seafood lover’s dream with generous portions of shrimp, clams, mussels, and calamari tossed in a deliciously flavorful tomato sauce. The pasta was perfectly cooked, and the seafood was fresh and succulent. My companions enjoyed the Margherita Pizza and the Fettuccine Alfredo, all of which were met with equal satisfaction.

Dessert was the proverbial cherry on top of an already wonderful meal. We indulged in the Tiramisu, which was light, creamy, and exquisitely balanced in flavors. It was the ideal conclusion to a memorable dining experience.

Based on my perfect experience I had at Napa Valley Pizza & Pasta, I can guarantee that this lovely place  will provide a memorable experience. I wholeheartedly recommend savoring the flavors of Italy in the heart of Costa Mesa.

Trenta Pizza & Cucina

1661 Superior Ave ste d, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States  +19492706652

Trenta Pizza & Cucina in Costa Mesa is a hidden culinary gem that combines the flavors of Italy with a modern and inviting atmosphere. As a passionate tourist in Costa Mesa, I had the pleasure of dining at this establishment, and it proved to be a delightful and memorable experience.

From the moment I entered Trenta, I was immediately struck by the restaurant’s contemporary and chic ambiance. The interior is stylish, with a combination of sleek furnishings, warm lighting, and an open kitchen where you can watch the talented chefs at work.

Calamari Fritti

The menu at Trenta is a culinary journey through the diverse regions of Italy, offering a wide range of traditional and contemporary dishes. 

To start, we ordered the Calamari Fritti, which was perfectly crispy and accompanied by a zesty marinara sauce. The flavors were balanced and left us eager for what was to come.

For our main course, I chose the Gnocchi Sorrentina, which was a true highlight of the meal. The potato gnocchi was light and tender, served with a rich tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil. The combination was both comforting and flavorful. My dining companions enjoyed dishes like the Tagliatelle al Tartufo and the Osso Buco, all of which were met with enthusiastic approval.

With its contemporary ambiance, attentive service, and a menu that showcases the best of Italian cuisine, Trenta is a must-visit for anyone looking for an exceptional dining experience. 

North Italia

2957 Michelson Dr, Irvine, CA 92612, United States // +19496297060

Nestled in the heart of Costa Mesa, this Italian gem transported me straight to the charming streets of Italy. From the moment I stepped into the restaurant, I was greeted by a warm and inviting ambiance that set the stage for a delightful culinary journey.

The menu boasted a diverse selection of authentic Italian dishes, each crafted with precision and a commitment to quality ingredients. To start, I indulged in a plate of bruschetta that was a perfect blend of crisp bread, ripe tomatoes, and fragrant basil. The appetizer was a tantalizing preview of the culinary delights to come.

For the main course, I opted for a classic pasta dish, and I was not disappointed. The pasta was cooked to perfection, al dente, and coated in a rich, flavorful sauce that showcased the chef’s mastery of traditional Italian flavors. The menu also featured a variety of other enticing options, including seafood and meat dishes, ensuring there’s something to suit every palate.

Tiramisu at North Italia
tiramisu on a brown plate in a cafe a piece of cake. High quality photo

The attentive and knowledgeable staff further enhanced the dining experience. They were happy to offer recommendations and provide insights into the preparation of each dish. The service was prompt, and the waitstaff demonstrated a genuine passion for ensuring guests felt well-cared-for throughout their visit. We invite you to call us for a reservation.

The dessert menu was a sweet finale to an exceptional meal. I couldn’t resist indulging in a classic tiramisu, and it was a decadent treat that left me longing for more. The dessert selection showcased the same commitment to authenticity and quality that permeated the entire dining experience.

In terms of ambiance, the restaurant’s decor reflected a perfect blend of rustic charm and modern sophistication. The subdued lighting and tasteful décor created an intimate setting suitable for both romantic dinners and family gatherings.

While the price point may be higher than average, the overall experience justifies the cost. This Italian restaurant in Costa Mesa is a culinary haven for those seeking an authentic taste of Italy in a welcoming and elegant atmosphere.

Whether you’re a seasoned aficionado of Italian cuisine or a newcomer eager to explore its flavors, this restaurant is sure to leave a lasting impression.

10 Best Italian Restaurants In Costa Mesa: To Visit List

1. Garduno’s Ristorante Italiano

  1. Cuisine: Italian
  2. Location: 298 E 17th St A, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.7 out of 139 reviews 

2. Trenta Pizza & Cucina

  1. Cuisine: Italian
  2. Location: 1661 Superior Ave ste d, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.8 out of 438 reviews 

3. Vitaly

  1. Cuisine: Italian
  2. Location: 2937 Bristol St Suite B100-B103, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.4 out of 455 reviews 

4. Pizza D’Oro

  1. Cuisine: Italian, Pizza
  2. Location: 1145 Baker St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.6 out of 670 reviews 

5. Ciao Pizzeria Bar

  1. Cuisine: Pizza
  2. Location: 2336 Harbor Blvd, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.6 out of 248 reviews 

6. Ruscello

  1. Cuisine: Italian
  2. Location: 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.3 out of 171 reviews 

7. Doria’s Haus of Pizza

  1. Cuisine: Italian, Pizza
  2. Location: 1500 Adams Ave #108, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States 
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 901 reviews

8. Al’s New York Cafe

  1. Cuisine: Pizza
  2. Location: 1673 Irvine Ave, Costa Mesa, CA 92627, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 308 reviews

9. Old Vine Kitchen & Bar

  1. Cuisine: Italian
  2. Location: 2937 Bristol St a103, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. review:4.4 out of 329 reviews 

 10. Maggiano’s Little Italy

  1. Cuisine: Italian
  2. Location: 3333 Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 3800 reviews

FAQ

What kind of Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa can we expect?

This is a quiet important question and our goal is to answer you precisely. In Costa Mesa, you can expect a diverse range of Italian restaurants that cater to various tastes and preferences. Traditional Italian  restaurants frequently focus on serving authentic Italian cuisine, often prepared with traditional recipes and methods.

You can expect dishes like pasta, risotto, gnocchi, and classic Italian entrees such as osso buco, veal piccata, and eggplant Parmesan. Pizzerias in Costa Mesa offer a variety of pizza options, from classic Margherita to more inventive and gourmet toppings.

Wood-fired pizza ovens are a common feature, ensuring a crispy crust and quality ingredients. Some Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa offer Italian-American cuisine, which includes dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken Alfredo, and lasagna, embodying the fusion that makes them among the best Italian restaurants in Southern California.

These restaurants often have a more casual and family-friendly atmosphere.

Are these restaurants expensive?

The price range of Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa can vary depending on factors such as the type of establishment, the location, and the overall dining experience offered. For those wondering whether you’re looking for an affordable outing or a fine dining experience, Antonello Ristorante caters to all.

While some Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa May be more upscale and higher-priced, there are also plenty of options available for more budget-conscious diners. There are Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa that offer more affordable options, including casual trattorias and pizzerias that serve traditional Italian comfort food at reasonable prices.

These establishments often provide a relaxed and laid-back atmosphere, making them ideal for casual outings or family-friendly dining experiences. On the other hand, there are also upscale Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa that offer a more refined and elegant dining experience.

These restaurants often feature upscale décor, a higher level of service, and a menu that showcases premium ingredients and sophisticated culinary techniques. As a result, the prices at these restaurants can be higher.

I’m a vegetarian. Will I find good options?

Some Italian restaurants offer gluten-free or vegan options to accommodate dietary preferences or restrictions.

No matter what type of Italian restaurant you choose in Costa Mesa, you can expect to find a wide range of delicious and satisfying dishes that celebrate the flavors and traditions of Italy.

This can include plant-based pizzas, pasta dishes, and more.

Wrapping Up: The 8 Best Italian Restaurants in Costa Mesa

Italian restaurants in Costa Mesa offer a variety of dining experiences, ranging from casual and family-friendly restaurants to upscale and refined venues, making them some of the best Italian restaurants in southern California. Costa Mesa is home to several upscale Italian restaurants that offer a refined dining experience.

These establishments often feature elegant décor, attentive service, and a menu that showcases high-quality ingredients and culinary artistry.

Fine dining Italian restaurants may offer a range of classic and contemporary Italian dishes, prepared with precision and attention to detail. They may also have an extensive wine list to complement the flavors of the food. Our wine list is regularly updated to ensure the best pairings.

Whether you are in search of a traditional trattoria with homemade pasta, a pizzeria serving creative fusion pizzas, or an upscale fine dining experience, Costa Mesa has something to satisfy every Italian food lover’s palate.

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