Come for the authentic Napoli pizza and stay for the unique ambience at Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana.
By Kirsti Correa | Photos by Jody Tiongco
There are eight Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana locations spread across the western United States, from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas—but the brand’s latest eatery, which opened in late August at the northern end of the Crystal Cove Shopping Center, seamlessly blends in with the surrounding area of Newport Coast.
Floor-to-ceiling windows open up to a lounge area on one side, a patio in the middle—surrounded by a row of planted olive trees—and a formal dining area to the right. The ceiling is open, with large umbrella-type structures shading the ends of the room. Each section is impressive in its own right and attracts a diverse clientele, from large groups celebrating a special occasion to intimate parties enjoying a casual meal.
Happy hour also invites those looking for a quality drink with friends. In addition to an extensive wine list and beers on tap, the bar offers craft creations: Try the Newport Coast cocktail, a blend of raspberries and lime juice with Flor de Caña rum, Campari and St. Elizabeth allspice dram.
While the bar and lounge area sees a steady flow of visitors throughout the day, a favored spot for the evening crowd is the dining room, which features views of the kitchen. A wood-fired oven imported from Italy is on display, signaling the authentic tastes to come in the Napoli-style pizzas on the menu.
“The best pizza we make is the margherita,” says chef Laramie Bradbury. Prepared with handmade dough in the Italian way—meaning no tossing it in the air—it’s then topped with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and aged Parmigiano. Cooked less than a minute in the blistering hot oven, the pizza is soft, foldable and meant to be eaten with a knife and fork. Other popular options are the namesake Settebello pizza, which is layered with pancetta, sausage, mushrooms and toasted pine nuts, and the Quattro Formaggi, a combination of fontina, Gorgonzola, mozzarella and Parmigiano cheeses.
The menu also features signature salads, crostini, and cured meat and cheese boards that can be shared at the table prior to the main course. An aesthetically appealing and satisfying salad is the involtini, which wraps prosciutto crudo around baby arugula sprinkled with goat cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a balsamic reduction. For a more substantial appetizer, Laramie recommends the mortadella board. A staple meat from Bologna, Italy, mortadella is arranged on a wooden board along with the Italian-made Rosso di Langa cheese and house-made bread.
“We try to get everything from Italy when we can,” Laramie explains of the ingredients used in all the dishes and pizzas. “It provides an authentic experience for diners.”
Even the dessert menu features an indulgence with origins in Italy: Nutella. The bombolini is a serving of deep-fried pizza dough balls injected with the hazelnut spread and rolled in powdered sugar. To end the meal with a lighter treat, order the torta della nonna. The lemon pastry is made in-house and topped with pine nuts, almonds and powdered sugar for a refreshing, sweet finish.
Settebello Pizzeria Napoletana, 7864 E. Coast Hwy; 949-715-2072; settebello.net