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Johnny’s Real New York Pizza – Passed the NYC Taste Test?

Johnny’s Real New York Pizza – Passed the NYC Taste Test?

Authentic New York Pizza in Orange County?

“Tommy… there is not an authentic New York pizza served  in Orange County, you hear me?” This was the reaction of my New York native coworker , when I told him that there is a new pizzeria in Orange County that serves authentic New York pizza. 

Johnny's Real New York Pizza

Did Johnny’s Real New York Pizza pass the native New Yorker Test?

The day before ,  I attended a media event at a new pizzeria called Johnny’s Real New York Pizza in Newport Beach. On my first bite, it reminded me of the thin crust pizza that I fell in love while vacationing in New York. Did  my coworker  think Johnny’s pizza was authentic? Find out later in this post.

Johnny's Real New York Pizza

Johnny's Real New York Pizza SignJohnny’s Real New York Pizza is owned by Johnny Younesi, a Queens native, who moved to Southern California to pursue Law. Discovering there is more in life than courthouses, Johnny and his associates opened Johnny’s as a passion project and bring a little slice of his beloved New York to Orange County. I personally think he opened up the restaurants so that he could get easy access to great New York pizza 😉

Johnny's Real New York Pizza

Johnny Younesi, a Queens native, knows his New York pizza. He made it his passion project to bring NY pizza to his current home of Orange County.

Here is what I tasted at the media event:

Appetizers and Pasta

Big C’s Best Eva Garlic Knots – They get their pizza dough and twist it into knots and cover it with olive oil and garlic. After they come out of the oven they are chewy and full of garlic flavor. I bit into a knott that came fresh out of the oven and the steam rose into my nostrils carrying the delicious aroma of fresh garlic and fresh dough. They are awesome with ranch and pizza sauce!

Johnn'y New York Pizza Garlic Nots

Johnny’s EVO Garlic Nots – Punched full of yummy garlic

Johnny’s Hot Wings – I consider myself a hot wings aficionado and Johnny’s made them to my liking. They were meaty and had a pleasant vinegary tang, with the and the right amount of heat to make you crave another. I also liked the semi-crispy texture of the wings, such that they provided a nice texture difference between the skin and meat.

Johnn'y Real  New York Pizza Buffalo Wings

These were great Hot Wings, with the right tang and spice

Authentic Italian Mozzarella Sticks – In the words of one of my fans who saw my instagram post of these mozzarella sticks, “the proof is in the mozzarella sticks, if they get the sticks right, then they will get the pizza right.” He was right. The mozzarella sticks had a nice stringy texture from the cheese and crunchy exterior. The sticks had a really nice flavor when dipped in pizza sauce.

Johnny's Real New York Pizza Mozzarella Sticks

The mozzarella had just the right elasticity and the crust had a perfect crunch.

Penne Bolognese –  I used to work in a spaghetti restaurant and became stuck  when it comes to meat sauces, so I rarely eat  meat sauce at a restaurant. Johnny’s Penne Bolognese is one of the rare exceptions to this rule. Bolognese is a meat and tomato sauce that is easy to make wrong and difficult to make right. Johnny actually used his 100 year old family’s recipe for this dish and the love showed in the flavor. I liked the balance of braised beef to tomato sauce, creating a very hearty sauce that played nice with the penne pasta.

Joohnny's Real New York Pizza  Bolognese

Their Bolognese used a 100 year old recipe. Rich and hearty. This was a great tasting sauce. 

The Real Test, Pizzas

20130723_185300Johnny’s puts a lot of effort into their dough, as it is the heart of making an authentic style New York pizza. They make their dough fresh daily using flour that is high in protein and specially filtered water that emulates the mineral rich and soft water found in New York. In the New York tradition, they actually toss their pizza dough high in the air, thus stretching out the dough nice and thin. During his opening comments, Johnny told us that he “I just didn’t want to make good pizza, but good food using great ingredients.”

Johnn'y New York Pizza tossing dough

Cheese Pizza – “The Best in the City” 

When I try a new pizza restaurant, I always order the cheese as it is the litmus test for the quality of their pies. I like to taste the quality of the crust, sauce and cheese (the holy trilogy of pizzas) in their pure form to see who the components taste together. I think Johnny’s did a great job with stringy cheese, crunchy crust and slightly acidic sauce. I liked how they sprinkle the top of the cheese pizza with dry basil, providing an extra flavor layer.

Johnn'y New York Pizza Cheese Pizza

Their giant 16 inch cheese pizza. A pizzeria is my litmus test for the quality of their pizza

The Fontaine – “The Best Pepperoni You Eva Had”

The Fontaine was is a classic peperoni pizza made with just tomato sauce, mozzarella and peperoni. I liked the flavor of the pepperonis and the amount on the pizza, such that I was able to get a taste in every bite without being overwhelmed.

Johnny's New York Pizza

Johnny’s Pepperoni Pizza

ANDOLINI – “The True Sicilian”

This is a real meat lover’s pie made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, house made meat balls, sweet Italian style sausage, genoa salami, fresh herbs. This pizza was very savory with the flavors of the meat popping on this dish and taking center stage on the palate . The sauce provided enough acidity to keep the palate fresh. I liked how the crispy crust went perfectly with the salty meats and herbs.

Johnny's Real New York Pizza -  Andolini

The Andolini is a real meat lovers pizza

“The Bambino”

This pizza was made with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, pepperoni, green bell peppers, onions and of course some fresh garlic. If you are ever looking for a grown-up version of the classic pepperoni, this pie is perfect. The peppers, onions and garlic added a couple different flavor layers that provided flavor diversity, while keeping the pizza’s flavor light.

Johnny's New York Pizza -  The Bambino

The Bambino – I loved this pizza’s balance of flavors

A couple days after the media event, I took my New Yorker co-workers to Johnny’s to test if my assumptions about the pizza’s New York authenticity were correct. As he took his their first slice I watched his  faces relax from a  from skeptical frown to a smile. I asked them if the pizza stood up to his strict standards, his response was, “it is close.”  I pushed back and asked him what could have been done differently to make it more authentic. His response was, “if I ate this pizza at the corner of 7th / Bleeker St, then it would be authentic”.

I will take that as a nod of approval.


Two Locations:

Newest Location : 1320 Bison Avenue, Newport Beach  (The Bluffs Shopping Center) – Just opened up!

Original Location: 2756 East PCH, Corona Del Mar


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Johnnys Real New York Pizza on Urbanspoon

Johnny's Real New York Pizza on Urbanspoon

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. Yum making me hungery again, and it not even 9:00 am. If i ever get now to orange county i ll have to go to johnny’s and try the New York pizza.

  2. Looks authentic to me!!! Yum!

  3. It’s midnight here and I’m craving for these pizzas :)

  4. I’ve always heard it was the water that made the difference in the crust! It’s so cool to know that Johnny’s is here!

  5. There is nothing like NY Pizza! doesn’t matter what part of the state you are in, the Pizza is simply the best! The fact that you have something that is close says allot!!

  6. Oh Lord, I got to have some pizza now!

  7. Nothing’s better than getting an authentic meal somewhere other than where you’re from. It brings back memories and makes you happy. Pizza can do that.

  8. As a native New Yorker, I’ll have to check it out. Wonder if they import the water…. it’s what makes all the difference!!

  9. Oh it happened again! Everytime I read your blog, I want to eat some yummy stuff and I am on a strict food plan right now that won’t allow me to – yuck!

  10. Now I want pizza for dinner, but we don’t have one around here that looks as good as what you had! Amazing pics too!

  11. Savannah-Lin Dofa

    I LOVE PIZZA!.. this all looked great!.. yummers!

  12. Pizza pizza, I don’t know a person that doesn’t like pizza.
    So Pizza me please

  13. That’s NY eating!!!

  14. mmmm time to eat!

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