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Davanti Bringing its Iowa Italian to Del Mar

was walking around Del Mar Highlands Mall today and could not help but notice Davanti Enoteca (underwhelming Italian) will be opening there fairly soon as well as a sister restaurant, Mia Francesca next door. These are being built on the upper level next to Rimel's and close to the Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas

Speaking of the Cinepolis, has anybody eaten the food there?...worth it or stick to the $19 theatre tickets.

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  1. There are certainly things on Davanti's menu that are underwhelming, but I'd go back for:
    Foccacia di Recco
    Truffle egg toast
    Riccio di Mare

    3 Replies
    1. re: mikec

      I actually ate again recently at Davanti and I have to rate it higher than Bencotto.

      The burrata, cheese plates, prosciutto and ricotta with honey comb were all good.

      Plus, I went to Bencotto at 9:15 and the kitchen was already closed, which is ridiculous.

      Davanti was still serving at 9:20 (we were easily the last table).

      Since I prefer dining at 10:30 to 12:30 pm, when I am not in san diego, Davanti gets the nod from me for their kitchen hours.

      1. re: stevewag23

        Yeah. And for the record, I was pretty underwhelmed by their pizzas, pastas with red sauce, tri-tip and roasted chicken. Their lemon cake desert was good.

        1. re: mikec

          Interesting. I didn't try any of "pizzas, pastas with red sauce, tri-tip and roasted chicken" at Davanti.

          I think the key is to order out of the "bottle" on their menu (this makes sense if you are holding the menu in front of you.)

    2. not sure of the food at Cinepolis (I think someone posted about it last year) but I've heard from others that the waitresses walking around end up blocking your view of the screen and therefore, detract from the movie watching experience

      1 Reply
      1. re: daantaat

        I found the concept of ordering and eating food while movie watching better than the reality. The food I've tried has been fine, nothing special. Eating in the dark in a leather recliner is a little tricky (e.g., the fries come in a mini metal fry basket which is cute but impractical to balance on your armrest or lap, and even dipping in ketchup is a bit risky). The servers are a bit distracting but not terrible. The problem is how often they have to come to your chair -- they take your order, then deliver your food, then bring the check later which you have to sign under a small penlight. Cries out for a tablet-type solution where you order your own food, swipe your own credit card, and all they have to do is deliver it to you.

        I was very disappointed by the cocktails when they first opened (just not well made) and have stuck to beer and wine since. I love the recliners and sipping a beer during a movie. I'm not sold on eating much beyond popcorn and easy finger food.

      2. Caramel popcorn at Cinepolis was pretty good. Someone else will have to tell us about the rest of their menu..

        1. Sorry but I don't get the Iowa reference. I thought I'd heard that Davanti was a Chicago-based restaurant, no?

          10 Replies
          1. re: steveprez

            Iowa borders on Illinois, but geography aside, I think El Chevere's refrence was more about the safe and rather uncreative (uninspired?) food that seems to be the norm in "middle America" than about location.

            1. re: DiningDiva

              I can't see the three dishes I suggested as being uncreative or uninspired.

              1. re: mikec

                El Chevere will have to comment on that one himself.

                1. re: DiningDiva

                  Iowa Italian = Ronzoni pasta + Heinz Ketchup + Kraft Cheese.... Any Italian restaurant that has hamburger on it's menu ( happy hour or otherwise) not authentic Italian in my book.

                  1. re: El Chevere

                    I feel your pain...my parents were originally from Iowa, but we never ate that way.

                    However, my cousins from Omaha, Nebraska recently sent us this...Saturday Supper = pound of pasta, pound of bacon, 2 cans of tomato sauce...don't think I'll be in a hurry to try this no matter what day of the week it is...

                    1. re: El Chevere

                      I don't think they are going for authentic Italian (and I don't think they claim tobe authentic Italian). Similar to Cucina Urbana ( which also has a burger on its menu) they are Italian inspired at most.

                      1. re: honkman

                        And I'm not a big fan of Cucina Urbana either. Delfina in SF is not authentic Italian as well but the big difference vs Davanti and Cucina is that they put out good food.

                        1. re: El Chevere

                          CU is growing for us over time - it's not outstanding food (hardly any house made pasta, surprisingly bad pizza for an Italian inspired place) or one of the highlights of SD but it is a nice place to share 5-6 plates, decent cocktails and reasonable priced wine - something we don't have too much in SD.

                          1. re: honkman

                            Yeah, the key to a lot of these joints is to know how to "navigate" the menu.

                            1. re: honkman

                              I like the ambience and will go for cocktails.

              2. seeing as how the average san diegan's taste is closer to Iowa than SF or New York, I'd say that's a wise decision on Davanti's part.