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Nov 18, 2007 11:47 PM

Italian San Diego


I'm sure this has been done to death but I'm in search of a nice American-Italian place to get some pasta or a steak or both and some wine with the family and kids, etc.

What are people's favorites? I'm not looking for too cheap or too expensive either, like a nice family style Italian place that we may have overlooked. Jersey style.

Probably not to be found in "Little Italy."

Thanks CHOW, you do me right.


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  1. Barolo in Renaissance Center by UTC.

    The Godfather in Kearny Mesa. Haven't been there in years, though.

    Lorna's in UTC/Clairemont is also a decent mid-scale Italian restaurant.

    Gemelli's (part of the Busallachi clan) in Banker's Hill does a very acceptable Bolognese and Puttanesca, but their entrees I've tried have been disappointing (esp. their fish), they may do an acceptable steak, but that's one entree I haven't tried. When we go now, we order Bolognese/Puttanesca/Finnochio salad and that's pretty much it.

    Aside from Gemelli's, I haven't been impressed with other Busallachi clan restaurants, especially recently.

    Pernicano's in Scripps Ranch used to be decent, but I haven't been in decades.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mikec

      Thanks for the list, it looks great.

      I think the Godfather looks just about right. Very NJ. Is it kid-friendly?

      I agree with the Busalacchi opinion too.

      1. re: stangoldsmith

        "I think the Godfather looks just about right. Very NJ. Is it kid-friendly?"

        My feeling from being in the place (also a few years back) is that kids would be welcome if they were seen but not heard. :)

        1. re: RB Hound

          I was there a few years ago with my fairly young cousins (they were about 9 and 7, I think) and RB Hound's feeling is spot-on. The kids were well behaved, but I remember something that had to do with the fried zucchini appetizer... I think the kids were just eating it messily. The server gave them the stink-eye.

          It's not kid-friendly, but not kid-unfriendly, either. Personally, I would rather go somewhere where you didn't feel you had to keep shushing the kids or making sure they were eating neatly, etc.

    2. Frankie's Italian Deli (on the southwest corner of Mira Mesa Blvd and Black Mountain Rd) is a pretty good Mom-and-Pop kinda place. Very kid friendly- in fact, you'll probably meet one of the grandkids when you're there. My parents are from New Jersey (as am I, technically speaking), and they love the place.

      Fillipi's Restaurants, with all their faults, would fit the bill as well. They're not the best place in the world, but they are family friendly, not too expensive/too cheap, with decent food.

      I second the Godfather, though that's more of a special occasion kind of a place. Very dark, very quiet, with really good food.

        1. re: menuinprogress

          This place always looks unwelcoming from the outside. What's it like in there?

          1. re: dustchick

            It is a friendly, family-run operation. They've been there forever.

        2. I recently had a great dinner at the Godfather, I would not classify it as kid friendly however. It is not kid-unfriendly, jsut not kid oriented.

          Bacci on Morena is great and pricey., on the more formal side. I love their stuffed clams.

          Olde Triste can be good, men must have a jacket- great veal.

          On the less expensive side, and child oriented is the very informal DeMilles on Adams Ave.

          1 Reply
          1. re: normalheightsfoodie

            comment on Old Trieste..I reviewed it a month or so ago.. no jackets anymore.. a guy was there in jeans and a Hawaiian shirt...

          2. Trattoria Antica in La Mesa might fit the bill.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Alice Q

              One place that I do not see mentioned much here (or maybe I'm the only one who likes it) is Trattoria Romantica in La Jolla Shores. I am not quite sure what qualifies as "New Jersey" Italian, but if that is something like FIllipes, then this might not fit the bill because I get the sense that itis more Italian Italian food as opposed to American Italian. Regardless, everyone we have taken there loves it. The pumpkin ravioli special a few weeks ago was fantastic. Not exactly kid friendly, but it seems to be family run and I'm sure kids would be welcome.

              1. re: pooch

                Love this place.. I was just thinking what the heck is the name!!! Would fit the occasion