7448 E. Chapman Ave
Following up on a tip I received from a couple of readers, Mr. and Mrs. W, I headed down to a little trattoria the other night named Da Bianca. I knew that the restaurant was in the same parking lot as Pacific Ranch Market off of Chapman near Jamboree. What I didn't know was how hard it was to find. I drove around the parking lot and looked at all the storefronts. I drove back and forth in front of the market. I looked at the signboard out on the street. I found no trace of an Italian restaurant in this parking lot. Frustrated, I pulled out my iPhone, told it to locate me and then tell me where the nearest Italian restaurant was. Da Bianca popped right up on the screen. I called the number and someone answered the phone, "Da Bianca!" I asked where they were located and they gave me the intersection that I was currently at. I asked if they were in the same parking lot as Pacific Ranch Market. They told me they were right next to the market. I thanked them and hung up confused. I drove through the parking lot again and didn't see the restaurant. I then noticed that you could drive to the side and kind of behind the market. There it was. If I hadn't known this restaurant was there, I never would have found it. I have been in this parking lot many times and have never seen this restaurant. I'm glad I took the time to track it down though.
We entered the restaurant as a party of 5 around 6:30 PM on a Sunday night. The restaurant is pretty small with about a dozen tables. Half the tables were empty though, so we were seated immediately. The waiter brought over some menus and then propped up a white board with hand written nightly specials at the end of our table. A few minutes later he brought us a basket of fresh, warm garlic bread. It was very tasty and much nicer than just getting plain bread.
I decided to order one of the specials, the Lasagna Verde Al Forno ($15.95). V ordered the Spaghetti Pomodoro ($13.95), R ordered the Tortellini Alla Boscaiola ($13.95), S ordered the Farfalle Genovese ($14.95) and J decided to get the Cioppino ($21.95).
The food took a little longer to come out than at some other restaurants. This is probably a good thing though. This probably means that they are making everything fresh to order instead of just ladling pre-made sauce on to already cooked pasta, like I'm sure some high volume restaurants do. When the food finally came out, it was worth the wait.
My Lasagna Verde Al Forno was sheets of green (probably spinach) pasta layered with bolognese and bechamel sauce. The bolognese was a nice meaty sauce with mushroooms in it. The bechamel sauce was rich, yummy and much better than the ricotta cheese you find in a lot of lasagnas. I enjoyed this dish very much.
V's Spaghetti Pomodoro was made with spaghetti, fresh tomatoes and basil. V liked it a lot. I stole a bite of it and was amazed at how fresh the tomatoes tasted. It was fantastic.
J's Cioppino was made with mussels, clams, shrimp, fish and calamari in a slight spicy tomato broth. J thought that the Cioppino was very good. I tried some of it and thought that the broth could be a little spicier. Since J doesn't like a lot of spice though, she was happy with it the way it was. I also found the seafood to be a little chewy, but overall I thought it was a pretty good bowl of Cioppino.
S ordered her Farfalle Genovese with alfredo sauce instead of the pesto sauce it was supposed to some with. The farfalle was tossed with chicken breast and sun dried tomatoes. S really liked her dish as well.
R's Tortellini Alla Boscaiola was cheese filled pasta with ham, mushrooms and peas that was topped with a cream sauce. R enjoyed his meal. I stole a bite from R's plate as well and found it to be pretty tasty.
Overall, everyone was happy with their food. It's pretty rare these days for a party of 5 to go to a restaurant they haven't been to before, and all completely enjoy their meal. I was surprised that I also liked all the food I tried off of other people's plates. Good Italian food is very hard to find in Orange County. Da Bianca is definitely one of the good ones. My only problem with Da Bianca is the price. I felt that $15.95 was a little high to pay for a slice of lasagna. I might have felt better paying that if the meal had at least come with a side salad or something. In the end though, I decided it was worth it. I would much rather eat this yummy slice of $16 lasagna instead of two crappy slices of $8 lasagna. If Da Bianca had lower prices though, I'd probably start going there a lot more often. Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. W for the wonderful recommendation.