Life in Little Italy – When looking for the location of the most authentic Italian cuisine in the United States without the 17-hour flight to Sicily, look no further than northwest of Downtown San Diego to Little Italy. The historic neighborhood flourishes with all of the bells and whistles of an Italian getaway plus the added pleasure of San Diego’s urban-harbor culture.
Little Italy is known for its abundant choice options in two areas: dining and community celebrations. As traditional in Italian culture, food is the form of art that brings joy and togetherness to all; Little Italy lives this mantra daily. Walking down India Street any night, guests pass classical Cucina Italiana restaurants one after another. The annual State of the Neighborhood Banquet of Little Italy invites local business owners and residents upon the rooftop of Nelson Photo for a social celebration among friends and fine dining of the community.
Although most of Little Italy’s restaurants specialize in Italian cuisine, each one displays custom style with a spin on the traditional offerings. Buon Appetito’s cozy Old World décor creates an inviting and warm environment to enjoy a plate of handmade ravioli. Family-owned Isola Pizza Bar, named after owner Massimo’s grandmother, handcrafts fine wood-fire pizzas and serves them paired with brother Paolo’s Pietro Rinaldi Italian imported wines. Where can you have gourmet grilled cheese ordered and delivers to your door after Midnight? Open until 2 a.m. Friday and Saturdays nights, the colorful Cookbook Tavola Calda is the one stop shop for affordable, delicious grub on the go.
Two special, hidden gems that should not go unrecognized are Extraordinary Desserts and Caffe Italia. Start your weekday morning off with man’s best friend and the perfect roast of imported Lavazza coffee beans on the dog-friendly patio and weekends off on the right foot with Caffe Italia’s weekend brunch waffle bar. Dessert is often a day’s end treat, but at Extraordinary Desserts, dessert is always the main course! Foodies and sweet tooth unite to feast on decadent tarts, pies, cakes and pastries elegantly displayed behind glass cases during the city’s unique dessert happy hour Monday through Friday.
The steep hills that roll through the streets of Little Italy are no challenge to the dedicated spirit of the community. Festivals and street fairs keep the corridor thriving with annual festivities every month. The spring brings the Little Italy Carnevale, April’s ArtWalk hosting over 120,000 guests, The Sicilian Festival and the popular Taste of Little Italy. For a festivity of international interest, Little Italy is the site of the starting line of The Gran Fondo Colnago Bike Race with over 3,000 competing cyclists. Whether you have a spark for adventure or a gourmet palate, Little Italy satisfies all. Buon appetito!