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Apr 8, 2008 07:57 PM

Apertivo San Diego

I want to try this restaurant so bad, but I am wondering how big the tapas can actually be and how good the quality is when the prices are so cheap. Also what dishes do you reccomend me getting there when I go?

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  1. Their quality is good....I have had and enjoyed the ceasar salad, chicken piccata, and pasta with mizithra cheese (same recipe as Old Spaghetti Factory--yeah, I know, but I love mizithra cheese). Fair wine selection with wine flights nightly.

    1. The dishes are small and, as El Chevere mentioned, the quality is good. One person could make a meal out of about 3 dishes or so. Try to go when it's not as busy, like early evening. When they're slammed, the food takes a really long time to come out and the noise level becomes deafening.

      I haven't really had a terrible dish there. Some are meh, but some of good ones include the calamari steak with chives and the shrimp fra diavolo.

      7 Replies
      1. re: geekyfoodie

        You can get a fabulous lamb shank there for $7 (I don't even think I could get it from the store for that!). I also highly recommend the Caesar and the caprese- somehow they give you a ball of fresh mozz for $5. The atmosphere isn't anything special, but you can't beat it for cheap, quality chow.

        1. re: popandkate

          How would you compare it to some of the better quality italian restaurants in town?

          1. re: lovesfood11

            Food wise, its pretty well mid-tier. The food won't blow you away, but its not the red and white table cloth kind of place either.

            I don't really think of Aperitivo as an Italian restaurant, but rather, a wine bar that serves Italian food. To that end, its a success.

            1. re: jmtreg

              I agree. The prices are decent for most stuff, it isn't real fancy and not real trashy. Wine choices by the glass can be a bit sketchy though. I have been a few times where it seemed like every Red they offered (by the glass) had been sitting next to the furnace for storage - harsh.

              The lamb shank is definitely a great selection, I second it.

              1. re: MrKrispy

                Does everyone think its a place worth going to? I mean if I can cook better italian food at home I don't think I would want to go.

                1. re: lovesfood11

                  It's a great little spot for very affordable, quite edible food. The plates are big enough to share so you just order up family style. Nice, well chosen wine list. Nightly specials are whatever Ken (owner/chef) feels like cooking. We had an awesome bean soup the other night, as well as crab cakes and ribs that were off-menu items. All quite tasty, When they first opened, the Osso Bucco was a special, it's now on the list. No fanfare, just a perfectly cooked leg o'lamb on a plate, meat falling off the bone. Steak is served the same way - but cooked to order (and they even get it rare!).

                  We're always stunned when the bill arrives. We're completely full and the check is always surprisingly small - guess since nothing on the menu is over $8 and we're not used to seeing such fair pricing.

                  So yes, it is definitely a place worth visiting. No reservations and they get crowded, especially when Ray@Nite or other events are happening in North Park. If you do R@N, I recommend hitting them early or plan to wait.

                  1. re: mimosa

                    I agree absolutely. Aperitivo is definitely worth a try. The food is good quality, pretty cheap, and serves as a great counterpoint to the wine.

      2. Apertivo is no Baci, but then again you won't be paying Baci prices....if you are in the mood for good, inexpensive Italian food then this place will satisfy your urge (just as I wouldn't compare Mona Lisa, which I also like, to Baci). Believe me, I would have no problem telling you to save your money if the food did not taste good--whether it was inexpensive or expensive. Just depends upon your mood, if you need to impress someone, etc.....agree with above poster about noise factor--best to go during midweek.

        1 Reply
        1. re: El Chevere

          Apertivo is very good for the price and a fun night out. I too will echo the mid-week suggestion as when they are busy you can't hear yourself think.

          Sunday has some nice wine deals however...

        2. I will add that I would choose Apertivo over most of the overpriced, mediocre quality Italian restaurants in the Gaslamp area--not that Gaslamp area is the standard against which I measure restaurants.

          1. Unless they run out, they always serve hot, braided breadsticks, and I think they're wheat. I like the turkey tetrazzini and the gorgonzola capellini with pecans.