Little Italy San Diego Restaurants
As the only hotel located in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy, La Pensione Hotel is the perfect gateway for savoring the splendid flavors and European-inspired exuberance of this hip, trendy neighborhood. Little Italy’s best cuisine - from mom ‘n pop pizza parlors and casual sidewalk cafés to romantic bistros and award-winning fine dining restaurants – is just a short stroll from our front door.
We’re Steps to These Italian Restaurants
Located on the bottom floor of La Pensione Hotel, NaPizza serves up “pizza al taglio” (pizza by the cut) and Italian dishes with a local, organic twist. They believe that raw ingredients are the key to great food, and they only work with sustainable and organic suppliers
Located on the bottom floor of La Pensione Hotel, Caffe Italia is a one-of-a-kind Espresso bar and café serving the perfect blends of robust coffee, cappuccino and espresso made with Lavazza coffee beans imported from Italy. At lunchtime, they offer a made-to-order selection of salads, Italian panini sandwiches, and more.
This cozy and popular trattoria serves up rustic Italian flavors and genuine Italian hospitality. The restaurant’s three owners honed their cooking skills in the “University of Mama’s Kitchen” and combine the best of Cucina Italiana with the latest in Italian nouvelle cooking.
Davanti is a lively neighborhood gathering place serving up an exceptionally-priced menu of small and large plates enjoyed in the stylish dining room or out on the patio. With its exposed brick walls and communal tables fashioned from re-purposed farm wood, Davanti is reminiscent of the rustic cottages dotting the Italian countryside. Drawing a young, hip crowd, it’s one of San Diego’s more fashionable eateries.
COOKBOOK is San Diego's first Tavola Calda (casual, Italian self-serve eatery) offering real homemade, fresh, contemporary-style Italian dishes in a setting that reflects modern culture. At COOKBOOK, you can make your own selection among hot and cold entrees, side dishes and Italian desserts.
Filippis Pizza Grotto
In 1950, Italian immigrants Madeleine and Vincent DePhilippis moved to San Diego, where they opened Filippi's Cash and Carry, a deli grocery on India Street. This was the beginning of what was to become a successful line of family restaurants. This location holds the distinction of being one of the first eateries in Little Italy.
Mimmo’s Italian Village
At Mimmo's, the Tuscan architecture and scenic courtyard transport you straight to Italy. It offers an extensive menu, from sandwiches and subs to gourmet pizza to fluffy gnocchi and pastas. Wine aficionados can sip and savor in Mimmo's wine bar or reserve a private table in the wine cellar for a special romantic occasion.
The folks at Po Pazzo believe that eating out should be a multifaceted experience: part entertainment, part theater, and of course, all fun. Their menu is filled with great appetizers, ample steaks, superb salads and unique side dishes.
Enjoy a taste of Sicily with an assortment of fabulous pasta dishes and wood-fired pizzas. The rustic dècor features a relaxed country-style feel throughout the restaurant, including the delightful patio.
Feel transported to Italy at this intimate little wine bar, where fabulous vintages and helpful service do the motherland proud. The quaint setting, highlighted by rustic walls, ornate chandeliers and a sunny patio, helps make it perfect for date night or girls' night out.
Joe and Frank Busalacchi created this Italian Cafe'-style concept, and you'll find that this delightful setting gets attention around the clock. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily. Diners enjoy lingering over coffee and sumptuous desserts created by pastry maker Frank, who was trained by a Sicilian master. Whether you are in the mood for pizza, pasta, seafood, chicken, or veal, this is the place. Also, make sure you treat your sweet tooth to one of the sinful desserts.
Bencotto Italian Kitchen
Located in the new “Q” building in the heart of Little Italy, Bencotto is the ultimate Italian dining experience, drawing inspiration from the kitchens where Italians grow up, cook, and eat. Combining different experiences from the restaurant business in Milan, Modena, San Diego, and New York, Bencotto offers a unique take on Italian cuisine. The traditional menu is untraditionally “designed-to-share” so that guests can casually pick and choose dishes while enjoying either an “aperitivo” or a full course meal
Isola Pizza Bar
Come to Isola Pizza Bar, where pizzas are thin and delicious. Wines are brought in from the owner's family vineyard in Piemonte, Italy and everything is cooked in an oven imported straight from Italy.
Visit Monello for a comforting weekly lunch or casual dinner, or meet up after work for their signature Milanese Aperitivo. On Saturdays and Sundays, enjoy their savory Farmer's Market Brunch, locally sourced from the neighborhood Little Italy Mercado; or traditional Italian breakfast, featuring housemade pastries.
Little Italy’s Fun Mix of Non-Italian Restaurants
Craft & Commerce
Craft & Commerce is Little Italy’s cool and clever gastropub serving up local craft brews, modern comfort food, and clever design.
JUNIPER & IVY
Helmed by Top Chef All-Stars winner, Richard Blais, Juniper & Ivy touts airy space, modern warehouse design, and an adventurous seasonal menu ideal for a group of friends or family.
IRONSIDE FISH & OYSTER
Located on the next block over from La Pensione, this gorgeous renovated warehouse space houses a stunning large oyster bar offering crab claws, seafood platters, crudos, and their much-talked about oyster flights and a seasonal seafood menu.
This is the dessert destination for San Diegans! The stylishly designed 7,000-square-foot space has garnered plenty of architectural awards, but it’s the desserts, foods, and drinks that keep their customers coming back. The menu changes daily and features homemade tortes, fruit tarts, cookies, creme brulee, cobbler, bread pudding, mousses and ice creams. They also serve delicious paninis, gourmet salads, and have a gourmet cheese bar every Wednesday night.
Princess Pub and Grille
San Diego's original British Pub was established in 1984. Serving fine European ales and ciders plus local craft beers and a full bar, plus the best fish and chips in town. Enjoy happy hour and live entertainment in a traditional pub ambiance.
Puerto La Boca Argentinian Restaurant
Voted San Diego’s best steakhouse in 2010, Puerto La Boca serves up Argentinian style grilled steaks. Their centerpiece beef dish is the parrillada, a symphony of beef cuts, sausages, sweetbreads, and chicken. Sliced tomatoes in a creamy Roquefort sauce are the perfect starter, or consider the Bombonera pizza with prosciutto, heart of palm, and olives.
Waterfront Bar & Grill
San Diego’s original tavern and the first to open after Prohibition is an Old Little Italy institution, drawing an eclectic crowd of bikers, surfers, professionals and more to enjoy inexpensive drinks and fine burgers in relaxed, dive-like surroundings.
Fabrisons Sweet Cafe and Creperie
A 2nd floor restaurant located just across the street from La Pensione Hotel, Prep Kitchen takes a “back to the future” approach to cooking by working with seasonal and farm-to-table products and taking the time to make most of their food from scratch.
This Little Italy tribute to the Japanese noodle house serves up ramen, high-quality sakes and craft beers. The intimate space has communal tables where diners sit after ordering at the counter, and prices are affordable.
Combining a lively south-of-the-border cantina ambience with a hipster aesthetic, this “super cocina mexicana” serves simple, traditional fare like open-face street-style tacos, enchiladas, and burritos created from local, organic products. Vegetarian dishes are available.