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Dec 29, 2003 04:36 PM

Antica Trattoria

  • p

We had some alone time after dropping kids off at the mall, and decided to treat ourselves to dinner. Jim had never been to Antica Trattoria, and it's been a while for me, so that was an easy choice. I'd forgotten just how much I love this place. We started with their featured appetizer of portabello mushroom stuffed with crab with a wine sauce. It was enough for the two of us to share, and it was spectacular. The wine sauce was flavorful without overpowering the crab. So good, in fact, the bread came in handy to enjoy the remaining sauce on the plate. Jim ordered the Vitello Ai Carciofi (Veal Scaloppine sautéed with garlic, artichoke and diced tomatoes in a rosemary and chardonnay sauce) and I ordered the Gnocchi Chiara Isabella (gnocchi served with diced pears, mascarpone cheese, walnuts and dried tomatoes). The veal was sliced, and tender. The vegetables were roasted to perfection, maintaining their flavor. He doesn't even care for zucchini, yet ate every bit of it. My gnocchi was pure heaven. It was rich, with the dried tomatoes adding a bit of kick, and the walnuts giving it a more complex texture. I took half of it home, and made the mistake of giving my kids a bite. That was the last I saw of the gnocchi.

If you've never been here, it's worth the trip. It's located in a strip mall along with Outback and Vons, at the corner of Baltimore and Lake Murray in La Mesa. The ambiance is warm, the wine list is decent, the service is very good, and the food is absolutely wonderful.


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  1. Great report, Phee. Antica Trattoria has the best food east of the 805 and on their best days (IMHO), they're competitive with any Italian in San Diego.
    . . jim strain (on vacation) in la mesa.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Jim Strain

      I love this place and since it is 1 mile from the house, my wife and I eat there quite often. I also sneak there for lunch whenever I can. The wine list is limited, but Franco, the owner/chef always has some gems that are around $30. (very nice Valpolicellas)

      1. re: 4wino

        Wow, this is an old thread! Still, I'm amazed at how spot on the OP was all these years later. Love Francesco and we consider his food to be the best Italian in SD. They do have a nice selection of well-priced Italian wines which we occasionally have when we don't bring our own. Fair corkage pricing too.

        1. re: mimosa

          It IS an old thread, but nice to have a restaurant that's been consistently turning out great Italian with no drop in quality or service. We still go there and are always more than satisfied. And I STILL love that gnocchi!

          1. re: phee

            I love the gnocchi there as well, but I don't think they still offer it on the menu with that preparation. Sounds delicious though.

            1. re: JRSD

              It was, as are the two they currently offer. Can you tell I'm kind of a gnocchi junkie? ;-)

    2. Renewing this thread.

      We dined at Antica Trattoria last night. We loved it and will definitely go back.

      We started with the Carpaccio appetizer. Excellent. A perfect deployment of wonderful peppery arugula to frame the meat.

      We split the Caesar salad. Fresh croutons and not overdressed, YAY.

      I had the short ribs and Husband had the crab stuffed salmon. Both were EXCELLENT. Special mention goes to the bit players: the string beans, squash, and carrots. Ordinarily these actors are forgettable, but when a restaurant gives a damn about quality, even the spear carriers shine.

      I have been reading about this place on Chow for years and now I am kicking myself for not having dined there earlier. The service was spot on, the overall ambience was lovely, and the food was delicious.