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NEIGHBORHOOD EATERY

In the Market For Italian?

October 08, 1992|SUZANNE HOUGH

Place your order at Cortina's walk-up counter, then visit the connected Italian market. You'll probably be so distracted that you'll miss the call announcing your food.

You might lose yourself among the rows of imported pastas, the shelves of olive oils or the cases of deli meats and cheeses. Maybe the smell of the fresh-baked bread will get to you, or it might be the case of Italian cookies that will cause you to lose control.

This is a market that offers a little of everything--sausage casings, many types of marinated olives, dozens of meats and cheeses in the deli, pizza dough and sauces to go. You'll probably find yourself eagerly buying fixings for dinner, along with a bottle of Chianti and a crusty loaf, before you remember to get back to the dining room to claim your order.

But you'll be glad you returned for the food. The pizza ($4.95 for a small, plus $1.10 for each topping) was about a 12-inch round, heaped with my chosen toppings of mushrooms and green peppers. There was a lot of cheese, a lesser amount of good, light-tasting sauce and a crust that was crusty and thick.

Equipped with just plastic knives and forks, it was hard to cut the pizza. Paper plates, paper napkins and plastic cups also didn't do much for the eating experience. But TVs, pinball machines and overhead fans tell you that this is a casual place.

The meatball sub ($3.45 for a regular size with cheese) was a winner, with big, flavorful meatballs on a toasted roll with a good balance of cheese and sauce. The lasagna, at $5.35 a portion (including garlic bread), was a steal--a generous helping of imported pasta layered with cheeses and sauce.

Cortina's offers beer, wine and 25-cent refills on soft drinks.

My favorite dessert here? The almond biscotti, loaded with nuts and very crunchy.

Cortina's, 2175 W. Orange, Anaheim. Open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday till 9 p.m., Saturday till 8 p.m., Sunday till 4 p.m. Closed Tuesday. (714) 535-1741.

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