I am posting this as a public service for those who may be venturing to Orange County, California and looking for good pizza. Here are my top five pizza places in Orange County as of May, 2012:
1. Mozza (PCH near Dover in Newport Beach). Fantastic, world class pizza. Thin, perfect crust, with a billowing, delicious cornicione which is shatteringly crisp on the outside yet tender on the inside. Amazing. All toppings are first rate. Maybe the overall experience at Mozza is a too salty, but that is a small criticism. It's my favorite pizza in or out of Orange County. Nancy Silverton is a goddess.
2. Bistango (Von Karman between Campus and Dupont, Irvine). Not known as a pizza restaurant, but their pizza is really excellent (as is all the rest of the food). Thin, absolutely delicious crust, quality toppings, comes out hot as blazes. It's fantastic.
3. Ecco (In The Camp, Bristol at Baker, Costa Mesa). Really nice, thin crust pizzas in a super cool, easy atmosphere. This is really more of a restaurant than a pizzeria, but the pizzas are good. Nice ingredients too.
4. Il Dolce (19th and Harbor, Costa Mesa) A proper Neapolitan pizza made with Caputo 00 Italian flour. Very chewy, softish crust. If you don't like the middle soggy (I don't), ask them to cook it a bit more than usual. Service and atmosphere is "meh", but the pizza is good. Owners are from Argentina of all places.
5. Pizzeria Ortica (650 Anton Blvd. near South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa). They go to great lengths to make good pizza here, and it is good. Somehow it seems it should be even better than it is. Very true to the Neapolitan style, which means soggy in the center. Ask them to burn it a bit if you don't like that soggy center. Toppings are first rate. Very nice atmosphere. Full bar, and plenty of other things to eat. Try the pizza with an egg cracked onto the middle as it comes out of the oven. Pretty delicious.
Those would be my top five pizza places in Orange County at the moment. Please note that there is another highly rated place in Rancho Santa Margarita called Pane e Vino, but I haven't had chance to go there so I don't feel I can include it here. But many knowledgeable pizza lovers say it's great. Also, if you need a pizza quick and don't have time to get to one of these places, try Z Pizza, a chain that has its roots in the OC. It's pretty good for a chain.