There's nothing quite like Italian food prepared, cooked and presented just right, the kind that makes you jump out of your seat, spill your Chianti, and yell a joyous and hearty, "Mamma Mia" with each savory bite of a fork full of homemade pasta. Let's face it, you aren't likely to get this type of joyous Italian cuisine food exaltation from some chain restaurant such as Olive Garden or some other bland, by-the-numbers Italian restaurant. No, this type of food Nirvana comes from dining joints that are serious about offering rich-in-flavors Italian cuisine, those that taste like they were concocted with love, straight from the motherland, from ancient recipes passed down through generation to generation. Some might argue that Italian cuisine is a welcome food coma, one that places you in food heaven, if for just that shining moment in dining joint time.
Bencotto - Little Italy
Located in the heart of Italy, one bite and you can taste the heart and soul that goes into their hand crafted, freshly made pasta and Gnocchi. Fans of Italian Seafood soup will find much to savor slurping the Cioppino Bencotto, a generous seafood soup brimming with cod, salmon, calamari and shrimp in a light, spicy sauce with bread croutons. Order a bottle of wine and pare it with a taste of aged Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, stinky but oh so good cheese that's been aged for 24 months and 40 months with balsamic vinegar crème!
Salvatore’s Cucina Italiana - Downtown San Diego
Take your sweetie out on a romantic date and splurge a little at Salvatore's Cucina Italiana in Downtown San Diego - it'll be well worth it as your taste buds feel like they're out on a date too! Personal favorites include the fresh and moist Lasagna, that is so light, you'll forget you're eating a hearty Lasagna dish. Thanks to its thinly pounded veal loin medallions breaded with a mix of soft fresh breadcrumbs, black truffle and speck finished in a fondo bruno brandy sauce, the aptly named Scaloppine del Rey is fit for a King!
Caldo Pomadoro - Carlsbad
Located in the Village of Carlsbad, Caldo Pomodoro is a local and tourist favorite thanks to its homemade southern Italian and Sicilian inspired cuisine. Try the Sicilian Style Eggplant Parmigiana featuring eggplant baked with cheese, breadcrumbs and marinara sauce served with pasta. Take it up a notch and ask for the spicy marinara sauce.
Antica Trattoria- La Mesa
I found myself out in La Mesa during a recent Gnocchi binge. Good thing I spotted Antica Trattoria. One bite into their soft and tasty Gnocchi and a swig or two later of the sweet Riesling and my nerves and cravings were satisfied for at least another week. Thanks to delectable menu items such as the Cioppino Alla Livornese, a main course meal featuring Mussels, clams, fresh assorted fish, calamari and shrimp in light tomato herb broth cappers & green olives, you don't have to go to Little Italy or Downtown to find some truly authentic Italian cuisine. Tip: There are some Vegan menu items, so bring your Vegan friend!