Top Restaurants in Little Italy, San Diego

If you are a foodie, you are bound to try new restaurants, bars and lounges. Little Italy in San Diego is teeming with restaurants, big and small with delicious dishes, wines and liquors. The place is especially full of Italian food and eateries have come up with new and interesting twists in the traditional cuisine. To help you start, here is a list of what we deem as the most popular restaurants in Little Italy, San Diego.

Po Pazzo: The restaurant has an eccentric and a little flamboyant aura with delicious food. It serves wide variety of appetizers, steaks, salads, and side dishes with extensive bar service. The restaurant is done in rich shades of brown and earth tones and gives off a comfy feel. Some of its signature dishes include crisp calamari, Buratta Caprese, Caesar salad with chicken, prawns or salmon and wine like Zinfandel and Merlot. It also offers live music on weekends.

Bencotto: “Bencotto” refers to a meal “done well,” and as such, Bencotto always hits the mark. It focuses on quality, fresh ingredients and genuine taste. The food is simple but absolutely delicious. Influenced by Italian cooking, the restaurant shares its culinary heritage with dishes like pasta, sandwiches, soups, salads and more. It is a relaxed and welcoming kitchen and restaurant combination and highlights regional specialties.

Prep Kitchen: As a means to eat high-quality food on a daily basis, the owners of Whisknladle created Prep Kitchen. It serves great seasonal comfort food as well as gourmet dishes, in a comfortable and relaxed environment and makes it a point to serve whatever is easy on your wallet. The restaurant is always packed and has a contemporary feel to it. It serves a very popular daily soup of corned beef and cabbage. The happy hour starts from 3 pm to 7 pm daily.

Ironside Fish & Oyster: The new and hottest place, Ironside Fish & Oyster, serves delicious seafood and tasty drinks. The restaurant boasts of custom designs and soaring spaces but the scene-stealer remains the food. Jason McLeod, Executive Chef of Ironside concentrates the menu on various renditions of seafood like fried oyster sliders, lobster rolls, seafood platters and more. A raw bar keeps you glued to your seat till midnight on weekdays, and shares space with a cocktail bar on the weekends until 2 am in the morning. Ironside offers a $1 oyster happy hour Monday through Friday from 3-6 pm.

Juniper and Ivy: One of the most anticipated restaurant openings in the United States, Juniper and Ivy has lived up to the hype surrounding it. Chef Richard Blais’ San Diego debut unleashes “refined American food with Left Coast edge.” The restaurant boasts of a wildly creative culinary approach to all its dishes accompanied by an excellent cocktail and wine program. Great service, al fresco dining and high-energy ambience makes Juniper and Ivy the place to be on the west coast.

Craft & Commerce: Craft & Commerce has a cool and comfortable atmosphere to go with great food and drinks. The gastropub is semi-dark and packed with patrons all evenings. The menu is mid-priced with seasonal and farm fresh New American food. There is a clever attention to detail and a passion for great food running through the crowd. Check out the chicken wings bursting with flavors, the citrus salad and the sweet potato fries.

Davanti: Renowned chef Scott Harris established the Davanti restaurant in Little Italy. The ambience is rustic with wood furniture and tan décor, and is open Monday to Friday from 11 am to 10 pm; Saturday from 10 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 9 pm. Happy hour at the bar is from 4-6 pm every day. Brunch is also offered with delectable dishes on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm. Dishes include a selection of antipasti, pate, salads, soups, steaks, sandwiches and pasta and more.


Buon Appetito: This restaurant is influenced by San Francisco and has made quite a dent in Little Italy. The Buon Appetito walls are decorated with work of local artists, and the food is delicious. The restaurant is full of life and happiness, and friends and family crowd its tables to enjoy a wonderful meal. The restaurant serves genuine Italian food with family recipes. Italian meats, cheeses, marinated and grilled shrimp, grilled chicken breast, and more make for a sumptuous feast.

Ballast Point: Ballast Point made a point of searching for the perfect flavor for years and has come up with different beers, rums, whiskey and others, with the perfect balance of taste and texture. The ingredients mix together to give off a mouth-watering aroma and serves the best beers and other liquors in Little Italy. Ballast Point respects tradition but it also embraces new techniques and opportunities. Some of its best beers include Longfin Lager, Wahoo White and Pale Ale.

Isola Pizza Bar: With a passion for Italian food, Isola has created a separate niche for itself. They use simple and fresh ingredients and create food that is lip-smacking good. Isola is located Downtown in the heart of Little Italy, San Diego. The restaurant stays open Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 am to 10 pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11 am to 12 am (midnight), and Sundays from 11 am to 10 pm. It is closed on Mondays. Some of its signature dishes are insalata mista, margherita pizza, prosciutto e arugula and more.

Queenstown Public House: The restaurant looks like a cottage with sloping roof, is made of wood and the atmosphere is homey. Queenstown boasts of outdoor seating, has a great collection of wine, and offers many types of lemonade. The restaurant opens at 11 am on Mondays through Fridays. On weekends, it opens at 9 am. Some of its popular dishes are Bare Lil Lamb, Kiwilango, and Lamb Skewers.

Mimmo’s Italian Village: Mimmo’s is very passionate about Italian food and offers a wide variety of authentic Italian dishes. The ambience is friendly and it stays busy most of the time. People love pizzas and pastas and Mimmo’s is one of the best. The Italian Village special includes Cappocola, Italian Dry Salami, Pepperoni, Provolone Cheese, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Onions, Pepperoncinis, Oil & Vinegar. The pastas are served with garlic bread and spaghetti, linguini with meatballs, lasagna and oven baked penne, are some of its other delicacies.

Extraordinary Desserts: This restaurant boasts of the most delicious and sumptuous of desserts in Downtown, San Diego. It is the #1 destination for people with a yen for gourmet desserts. Famous pastry chef and author, Karen Krasne, have established extraordinary Desserts. The food is made of the finest ingredients and offers cakes, custards, cookies, cobbler, crème brulees, tarts, cupcakes, pastries, ice creams, along with savory dishes like Panini and salads, cheeses, gluten-free food, vegan food and more.

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