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May 14, 2008 11:04 PM

Barolo in UTC San Diego

I had lunch today at Barolo's in UTC based on Honkman's suggestion (next to UTC Mall in La Jolla) and will definitely go again. Photos included. The lunch prices are about $12 an entree, and it's impressive at its price point for being in San Diego (and especially UTC). Having gone there a few years back, I'd consider this my #2 goto for Italian in San Diego after Piatti. I work in west Mira Mesa, and for a nice lunch this would be on the top of my list along with driving to Convoy. I'd recommend it for dinner if it's in your area and you like Italian. Like Honkman I'd also recommend Piatti.

They serve bread with olive oil and basalmic vinegar - simple and good.

I went with a friend, and we ordered these two dishes:

Farfalle al Gorgonzola e Pollo - Bowtie pasta with gorgonzola and chicken in a light cream sauce

Ravioli di Pera - Homemade ravioli stuffed with pear and parmesan with a sauce of marscarpone cheese, pear, walnuts and sundried tomatoes

I had the ravioli, and it was good. Great aroma, wonderful filling and sauce, good texture. There were crushed walnuts that were fine but the dish is just as good either way. I didn't have the dried tomatoes they added as they don't suit me. If you have this, I'd recommend you ask them to leave that out. This isn't their best dish but it made for a satisfying lunch.

I'd recommend the Farfalle more because it's exceptional in my opinion (I had a sample of my friend's dish). The sauce was remarkably good - gorgonzola melted into an alfredo sauce. The chicken was cooked tender and flavorful. Not everyone is pleased with good simplicity so this is just my impression.

Their website is:

This restaurant is good compared to San Diego, and one of the few good Italian places I'd recommend. It's also close to Mira Mesa which is a plus in my book - I'll drive 20 minutes to Convoy for lunch sometimes because there's few good places in west Mira Mesa. If I made a top five list of Mira Mesa, Soup Plantation and Inn and Out would make the list to give you an idea. A Croutons recently opened up and it's great for what it is.

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    1. Thanks for the review. I used to work in west MM as well and I agree the lunch options were pretty sparse. My biggest gripe is that most of the restaurants are on the east side near the 15 and it takes a good 15-20 mins to drive down MM blvd. It takes the same amount of time to drive to Convoy.

      Couple decent places in MM that I used to frequent are Spices Thai Cafe (cheap and good for the price) although that place gets pretty busy during peak lunch hours. Of course the Vietnamese food in MM is pretty good, I like Pho Ca Dao and Pho Ho Cali Express. Never tried Lucky Pho but I heard its pretty good. Unfortunately there seems to be a lack of decent Japenese and Chinese restaurants. Mr. Wasabi and Oshii Sushi are both pretty bad.

      Does anyone know of a good philipino restaurant in MM? It seems that most Phillipino restaurants serve steam table greasy fast food. I'm wondering if there are any sit down cook to order type places worth trying.

      6 Replies
      1. re: mliew

        Yeah Spice Thai is great for Mira Mesa. Now that you mention it it's probably the best sit-down place in MM. There are better Thai in San Diego, but this is still good and at a great price point - we're talking about a reasonably priced oasis in a desert here. =)

        I also like an occasional Vietnamese meal like at Po Ca Dao, and have had other Vietnamese food when I didn't want to drive far. I agree about Japanese and Chinese - there are not terrible places but nothing I'd recommend. The list applies to most cuisines including Indian.

        1. re: royaljester

          "I also like an occasional Vietnamese meal like at Po Ca Dao, and have had other Vietnamese food when I didn't want to drive far. I agree about Japanese and Chinese - there are not terrible places but nothing I'd recommend. The list applies to most cuisines including Indian."

          Is the Black Mountain / Miramar Road area outside of your "drive too far" list, or are you saying you'd not recommend anything there?

          I went to Barola soon after it opened (I remember when it was a decent Afghan place - Chopahn? - before that), and it seems they've managed to stay consistently decent all this time. I might have to figure out a way to get there for lunch once in a while...

          1. re: royaljester

            RJ, I think there are a few restaurants in MM and its vicinity which might be interesting:

            - Wired: In the same mall as Barolo. It's a good french style cafe with good breakfast, very good lunch and decent dinner.

            - Chicago on a bun: I know people from Chicago will complain about not being authentic and as good as something in Chicago (I often react similar to other kinds of food, e.g German food and complain that Tip Top Meat is just lousy and has as much to do with German food as Olive Garden with Italian food) but I think it is a decent place. Same mall as Barolo. And there is also Viva Chicago on Miramar which is similar to CoaB

            - Punjabi Tandoor: On Activity Road, close to the Indian center on Black Mountain. Perhaps the best Indian restaurant in SD. Very small and only a few tables but very good.

            - El Maguey: Mexican taco shop/restaurant in the mall at the corner of Black Moutain and Mira Mesa. I really like their lengua and carnitas taco. Their tripe taco is also good.

            - Golden State Seafood: Chinese restaurant in the Ralph's mall at the corner of Mira Mesa and Westview. Not as good as chinese restaurants on Convoy but our standard take-out chinese close to our apartment.

            - Pamir Kebab House: It's in Poway and about a 10-15 minutes drive from Mira Mesa but an outstanding Afghan restaurant. In the same mall as North Park Produce (corner of Pomerado and Poway). I have some other posts about the restaurant. If they would be in a better location it would be always packed.

            - Spicy Pickle: It's a chain but I really like their paninis and pizzettis. Also in Poway and close to Pamir.

            - Bale French Sandwich: In the same mall as Lucky Seafood. Excellent Banh Mi. They had some quality problems at the beginning but they are now better than the one in Linda Vista.

            - Amarin Thai: On Mira Mesa Blvd. in the SDCCU mall. Decent Thai on the same level as Spices Thai. The Indian place in the same mall (Indian Tandoor ?) has also good food.

            - Miramar Cafe: On Miramar Rd. Had surprisingly good gyros, the best I had in SD (even though that doesn't mean much and still would kill for a somehow decent Doner Kebab).

            - Winesellar & Brasserie: On Mira Mesa Blvd. Best upscale restaurant in Mira Mesa.


            1. re: honkman

              I prefer Surati Farsan to Punjabi Tandoor. Punjabi Tandoor has been good when I've gone but I've never loved it or been blown away. Surati Farsan Mart on the otherhand, absolutely love the flavors and heat they bring to all their vegetarian dishes. Watch out that they're closed on Monday's though.

              Opera Patisserie is going to be opening a new bistro in about a month in the little center where Croutons is. I'm curious and have hopes for it.

              1. re: honkman

                Thanks for all the ideas, I'll definitely try some of these.

                Chicago's good for what they serve, and it's worth trying. It's also a safe place to take coworkers to. In the same mall they've opened a grill of some kind - didn't get a good look but it wasn't there last year.

                I've tried Wired and it's good except they can get very busy. One time there was only one waitress and it took 10 minutes just to order. Not her fault, just something to watch out for if time is any issue. I heard they had good tiramisu but haven't tried it.

                I'm going to try out Punjabi Tandoor. I think Ashoka's lunch buffet is worth trying if you want to take a coworker who's afraid of trying Indian. But if Punjabi is better that's a good sign.

                My sister was just recommending Winesellar.

                I used to like Amarin Thai years ago, but since they've remodled and changed their menu I haven't found dishes I like. A number of people do like Amarin Thai, and it's definitely more popular after the remodel. It's also convenient for take out. I've tried about five times since and surprisingly a coworker might like the same dish I didn't like. So it's definitely personal taste. Nothing was bad, I just wouldn't return for the dishes I ordered. In my opinion Spices is a better value if you're willing to sit down, and most people who like Amarin like Spices as much or more. Just a suggestion for anyone who hasn't been to either.

                It depends on traffic, but from west Mira Mesa you can get to Convoy in 20 minutes compared to east Mira Mesa in about the same (15 with no traffic, 20+ if it's bad). If that's your plan, I'd recommend Tajima's lunch special or Do Rei Mi for Korean.

                Next time I go, I'll be reviewing Do Rei Mi (next to Cheetah's on Clairemont) - simple, clean, and authentic Korean for a reasonable price. It's nothing you haven't had if you've had Korean, except it's either better or cheaper than the alternatives and consistent.

                Thank you!

                1. re: honkman

                  After writing about the tripe taco at El Maguey I looked at some food blogs and found this great post about cooking tripe. One of the best posts on a food blog ever.