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What's Your Favorite Italian Restaurant In San Deigo

I think I have it narrowed down to three , Bencotto, Cucina Urbana and Buona Forchetta. First time in SD, staying in LJ for 8 nights and
we have a car. We live in Brooklyn NY and nobody can beat Moms Meatballs. But I'm not looking for Mom and pop type places, or high end. Cucina Urbana looks like the kind of place We like to eat in NY. Would like to here you Favorites.

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  1. All those are good.

    I'd add Modo Mio for Sicilian.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Fake Name

      Your comment about Modo Mio sounded interesting and I looked for the first time on their menu - not really sure why this should be Sicilian cuisine. There are many dishes from throughout Italy (and a few have hints of Sicilian influences) and it might be very good restaurant but don't really see this as a Sicilian restaurant

      1. re: honkman

        Then I'd suggest you don't go there.

        1. re: Fake Name

          As I said before the restaurant might be great and I was just curious what are the sicilian dishes

    2. Could you define what is Italian for you. As much as I like for example Cucina Urbana I wouldn't call it Italian. It is mainly Californian cuisine with some Italian influences and quite different from for example Bencotto

      3 Replies
      1. re: honkman

        I only went through the menu quickly, I was looking more at the reviews. I recently Sold my Italian Restaurant, I always had Italian chefs from Ischia, Bari and Naples . So I am open to different interprepations or influences of Italian. I'm really looking for great food and atmosphere.

        1. re: Joez63

          Just make reservations at least two weeks before for CU as it is very popular. They have some communal tables for walk-ins but I prefer their regular ones

          1. re: honkman

            I booked CU looking or a second choice Bencotto or Buona Forchetta

      2. Buona Forchetta. Ultra authentic. Forget the rest.

        1. Bencotto.

          Buona Forchetta is good when it's on, but for a place that specializes in pizzas, they're a bit too inconsistent with their oven work.

          As to Cucina Urbana, while I really like the place, it's not really Italian like honkman mentioned up above. It's sort of San Diego Italian, if you're ok with that, then by all means go for it.

          4 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            Bencotto sounds great, I was having a difficult time finding a Restaurant in Little Italy. We will be in SD for Seven nights, trying to find Seven really good Restaurants.

            I have no problem with SD Italian just looking for a great night out. Do you think Cucina Urbana is a good choice . We are Also looking for something in the Gaslamp , my 17 year wants to go .

            1. re: Joez63

              Cucina Urbana is one of my favorite restaurants in SD, for any cuisine.

              In Gaslamp, there's been multiple positive reports for Blind Burro, including this most recent one. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/908140

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Thanks again ipsedixit, I will check out Blind Burro. I also read about Cafe Chloe, not sure if the menu is to limited.

                1. re: Joez63

                  Cafe Chloe is by far the best choice for mid-priced food in SD, for any cuisine.

          2. Baci's, Piatti's in LJ Shores or Manhattan's in La Jolla. .

            1 Reply
            1. re: Beach Chick

              Thanks everyone for all the suggestions , I have become addicted to CH. Nothing worse than having a bad meal on Vacation.

            2. As an ex-NY'er myself, vote goes to Baci.

              9 Replies
                1. re: DoctorChow

                  We will be in SD from 7-19 to 7-27, I didn't realize Comic Con was taking place 18 -21st. What areas should we avoid and for how long.

                  1. re: Joez63

                    Gaslamp/East Village area..entire time CC is going on.

                    1. re: Beach Chick


                      Run, Forest, Run. It's a mess down there.

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Unless you like that sort of thing.... your 17 year old might love it. If I had to go to the Gaslamp that's when I think I would do it. (Generally I try to avoid the Gaslamp, but if you are going to do it might as well go when it is going full tilt).

                      2. re: Beach Chick

                        I live downtown and usually plan an out of town trip that weekend.

                      3. re: Joez63

                        Suggest as the others have that you avoid anything within a mile of the convention center downtown while Comic Con is on. If you're looking for excellent Italian that isn't outrageously expensive, I still recommend Baci -- just stick with pasta dishes if you don't want to go over $20. Couldn't agree more about Cucina Urbana, which is absolutely positively worth visiting if you have the time. Both places should be "safe" while CC is happening, but everywhere up to Del Mar will probably be busy. The Gaslamp will be a zoo.

                      4. re: DoctorChow

                        Even though I like Baci, Bencotto, and Piatti, I have to say San Diego is not exactly my favorite dining city for Italian cuisine....I do travel a fit and routinely anticipate--and receive--good Italian cusine elsewhere (i.e. Michael's on Naples in Long Beach; Delfina and Caffe Sport in SF; and Caffe Mingo and Serrato in Portland).

                        I should add Salvatore's to my list here in San Diego--right up there with Baci.

                        1. re: El Chevere

                          I'd also recommend Salvatore's, but maybe not for joez63. I don't know if the Comic Con crowd oozes that far over or not, to be honest, but it might. Salvatore's itself would be peaceful if they can fight off the half-washed masses and get there.

                    2. Pomodoro in Point Loma takes it for me.

                        1. re: jmiyazawa

                          Interesting. Never been. Wow, two recommends from people who definitely know what they're talking about! But La Mesa would be a really long drive for joez63 since their hotel is in LJ. Also, I haven't looked at their website so don't know if it fits the requested criteria, but they want quality Italian of the kind they're used to in NYC, but don't want to break their budget, as I understand it. During Cartoon Week, La Mesa would be an uncrowded place to go, though.

                        2. Actually, forgot to give high praise to Veladora at the Rancho Valencia Hotel in Rancho Santa Fe....quite good also.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: El Chevere

                            Only place I've been in Rancho Santa Fe is Mille Fleurs, which I find wonderful but a tad bit intimidating. Probably because I only own two cars and neither one costs $200,000.

                            1. re: DoctorChow

                              To me, that's the beauty of the Rancho Valencia Hotel--yes, it is in a ritzy zip code but it is very quaint, warm, and inviting. Having lived in snooty Orange County for years, I hate snobbery and there is not an ounce of that at this place.

                              1. re: El Chevere

                                Agree completely, It is a little piece of heaven.

                                1. re: foodiechick

                                  more Marin County-ish than FauxCal, I mean So. Cal.

                              2. re: DoctorChow

                                No reason to be intimidated. The restaurant doesn't care what car you are driving or how rich you are. If you show some real interest in food chefs are often actually more interested to make you some great dishes than some rich guy how could care less if he is eating caviar or a McD burger.

                            2. Thank again everyone, So far I have Cucina Urbana booked for Sunday, Café Chloe Monday. Tuesday we are going to take a drive up the Coast maybe laguna Beach, Wednesday Bencotto and not sure about Thursday and Friday night Suggestion would be appreciated.

                              The first night we want to eat in the House, it has a Rooftop deck overlooking the ocean in LJ. I would like to get take out, thinking of Sushi Ota and some seafood from Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill or Pacific Beach Fish Shop or El Pescador Fish Market .

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Joez63

                                Since you are staying in LJ you should visit Georges as it might be currently the best restaurant for what SD cuisine can stand for if well executed in terms of sourcing, cooking, creativity. Additional nice option would be Urban Solace (or their sister restaurant Solace in Encinitas) for some good modern comfort food with a twist.

                                1. re: honkman

                                  Thanks honkman, booked Urban Solace Menu looked Amazing. One night to go. Any presences between Blue Water Seafood Market & Grill ,Pacific Beach Fish Shop or El Pescador Fish Market for take out.

                                  1. re: Joez63

                                    I can't speak to "preferences." However, you should be aware that Blue Water usually has a line out the door at the lunch and dinner hours. Probably and hour wait or more.

                                    I get dinner there once or twice a week, so I love the place. But I usually show up five minutes before closing. I don't think I would eat there if I had to wait on that godawful line.

                                    Moral of the story: if you choose Blue Water, especially for take out, phone in your order.