San Clemente: Pizza Port

Pizza Port: The Carlsbad. Photo by: Brittany Ritzi

I always like to start with clarity. I am NOT talking about Pizza Port inside of Disneyland, so please disregard your initial thoughts of cardboard covered in greasy cheese and keep reading. The real Pizza Port is of the finest quality of pizza, not at all reflecting the overpriced junk located inside the happiest place on earth. In fact, when it comes to southern California Pizza, this has had my winning vote since the first time I was lucky enough to eat it around three years ago.

For this blog, I like to hit on eateries that are, essentially, off the chain. I decided that I would draw the line between chain restaurants and local spots with multiple locations at the number five. Less than five locations and it’s probably a great restaurant that has succeeded to the point of expansion. More than five locations and it’s pretty close to chain status in which food quality inevitably goes down. Pizza Port rests comfortably under the line at four locations in southern California: Carlsbad, San Clemente, Ocean Beach, and Solana Beach.

Pizza Port names several of their specialty pizza’s after the southern California beach cities they reside in. My personal favorite is the Carlsbad. The Carlsbad is not the typical marinara sauce and mozzarella pizza. Instead it comes with pesto sauce, chicken breast, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and feta cheese. I customize my own pizza by asking for their whole-wheat beer-batter crust and both feta and mozzarella cheeses.

It seems whenever I suggest the Carlsbad to Pizza Port newbies, they object with reasoning that they prefer marinara sauce over pesto. However, once the pizzas are delivered to the table and they taste mine they always say they made the wrong decision by ordering a marinara sauce pizza. Don’t get me wrong, Pizza Port’s marinara pizzas are still delicious, but the pesto is just out of this world.

Of course, great pizza only gets better when paired with a craft beer. Lucky enough Pizza Port is also home to a brewing company, Port Brewing. Their menu displays several quality in-house beers.  One of my favorites that my “Beer Connoisseur” friend Ricky introduced me to is Santa’s Little Helper. It’s an imperial stout that is rich with flavors of chocolate, coffee, and caramel. It’s a darker beer with a higher alcohol content than your average domestic beer so don’t be shocked if you’re feeling it after a beer or two.

Definitely, worth your time. And for those ranch lovers out there, like me, who normally love to douse their pizza (and pretty much anything else) in ranch… the Carlsbad has so much flavor you wont even think about needing to add any other flavor to it.


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