Il Dolce Vita
At first glance, the tiny 12-table restaurant is easy to overlook. Situated on the bustling corner of Harbor and 19th Street in Costa Mesa, the space is indicated only by a simple block-lettered sign. No flashing lights or obnoxious red decor, yet locals in the know and pizza connoisseurs are quite familiar with Il Dolce.
The quaint eatery emanates warmth. Maybe it was the unseasonably hot day or the heat radiating from the kitchen’s almond-wood-burning oven, but I’d like to believe the warmth had more to do with the family that owns Il Dolce. Husband-and-wife team Fernanda Masuero and Roberto Bignes spent years working together in the restaurant industry before they carved out a place of their own in OC six years ago. Bignes maintains the flame in the open kitchen, and Masuero entertains guests in the dining room. This year, the couple obtained their first liquor license and enticed their dashing 25-year-old son, Andre Bignes, to oversee the new bar program. While the restaurant gained rave reviews for its margherita pizzas and Argentinian-influenced Italian food, it’s Michael’s smile and his classic cocktails that caught our attention. He dabbles with some more modern libations, but for the fall he recommends sticking with the classics. Bring on the Old Fashioned.
1 organic sugar cube
2 dashes Angostura bitters
3 dashes of water (to taste)
1½ oz. bourbon
Large ice cube
Orange slice and maraschino cherry, for garnish
In an Old Fashioned glass, drop sugar cube and cover with bitters. Incorporate water and muddle until sugar dissolves. Then add bourbon and ice.
Garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry.
Il Dolce Pizzeria & Restaurant, 1902 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, 949.200.9107 :: ildolceoc.com