7 Restaurants in Little Italy That San Diego Residents Love

November 11, 2020
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

In a city like San Diego, you are never going to be bored. From the Gaslamp Quarter to Little Italy, there are a wide array of restaurants and shops you can visit. Speaking of Little Italy, this little neighborhood located in Downtown San Diego is extremely popular among both visitors and residents. Upscale restaurants, laidback bars, and quaint cafes await you at this San Diego icon. Need somewhere new to go for dinner? Try one of these popular restaurants in Little Italy!

Italian Food

Do you have a friend who is tired of cooking at home? Or just needs to get out of the house? Surprise them with a virtual GiftYa card! GiftYa cards can be applied to a number of restaurants around the city, including the one we have featured below! Whether your friend is in the mood for some spaghetti or a savory slice of pizza, they can use their GiftYa card to get a great meal! 

1. Bar One

Popular sports bar located in Little Italy that opens early

Guests can enjoy the game on one of the bar’s many flat screen TVs. Image courtesy of Yelp

1532 India St | Little Italy | baronelittleitaly.com

Need a new place to watch the game? Stop by Bar One! This popular sports bar offers several wide-screen TVs behind the bar, making it the perfect spot to enjoy some football. 

As for the food, Bar One serves a wide variety of Italian cuisine and class American dishes. The Fried Ravioli, Mozz Bombs, and Ballpark Pretzel are perfect for starting your meal off. Salads, sliders, chicken tenders, and sandwiches are also available for munching on. You also have a great selection of cocktails, wine, and beer to choose from. 

“Good tunes and nice vibes here. Drinks were delish! Motz bombs had the most wonderful dips. Seriously. This review is based on those dips and drinks and they were both stellar. ALSO: great service!!! So glad I came here for lunch today. :-)” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Bar One. 

2. Civico 1845

Modern Italian restaurant that offers a fresh new twist on traditional cuisine

The Homemade Calabrian Chili Pepper Infused Scialatielli Pasta is one of the most popular dishes in the restaurant. Image courtesy of Yelp

1845 India St | Little Italy | civico1845.com

Are you looking for a restaurant where you can enjoy an upscale atmosphere along with some high-quality Italian cuisine? Civico 1845 offers a new generation of Italian cuisine featuring fresh and light ingredients. Not only does Civico 1845 provide an unforgettable experience for guests, but it also focuses on being a sustainable restaurant. 

On the menu, you will find appetizing options such as Impeta Di Cozze and Tagliata. Civico 1845 also offers vegan options. Wine, cocktails, and beer are also available for enjoying alongside your main dishes. 

“Amazing!! Wow, felt like we were in Italy again and when we snapped out of it we're craving a trip to Italy when Covid is over!! Roberto was our server and he was sensational. Roberto is from Milan and he was so informative and charming. He even made me a traditional Aperol Spritz.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Civico 1845. 

3. The Glass Door

Popular restaurant in Little Italy that is known for its handcrafted cocktails and happy hour

The Glass Door offers a relaxing indoor and outdoor space for guests. Image courtesy of Yelp

1835 Columbia St | Little Italy | portovistasd.com/eats

Located inside the Porto Vista Hotel, The Glass Door offers a special dining experience for visitors. While you enjoy your food, you are treated with stunning panoramic views of Little Italy and the Bay. Many of the dishes on the menu blend classic ingredients with a modern spin. All of their dishes are designed to pair with a house-infused cocktail, craft beer, or glass of wine. 

The Glass Door also offers seasonal menus that are both delicious and socially conscious. Some of their most popular dishes include Chilaquiles, Truffle Pomme Frites, and Crispy Deviled Eggs. Brunch is also served! Their Pork Belly Benedict, Veggie Omelet, and Avocado Toast are just a few popular selections offered on the menu. 

“This is a place where you can come to relax and have a drink and watch any sporting event without feeling cramped or people breathing in your ear. This is a calm and relaxed place with a great view.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for The Glass Door. 

4. Herb & Wood

Restaurant in Little Italy that has served as a top date night destination in the city for years

Treat yourself to the Bone Marrow Toast. Image courtesy of Yelp

2210 Kettner Blvd | Little Italy | herbandwood.com

The second you step into Herb & Wood, you are greeted with a vibrant and electric atmosphere. Run by celebrated chef Brian Malarkey, Herb & Wood has served as a popular dining destination in Little Italy for years. At Herb & Wood, Malarkey successfully incorporates Mediterranean flavors and California style into simple ingredients like carrots and beets.

You will find a wide selection of dishes on the menu, such as Grilled Eye of Rib, Alaskan Halibut, Roasted Baby Carrot, and Spanish Chorizo Pizza. For dessert, you will find sweet dishes such as Passionfruit Souffle and Cranberry Orange Baked Alaska. Gelatos and sorbets are also on the menu. 

“Out of many upscale restaurants, Herb & Wood has never disappointed. The 5-6 times I've been (counting brunch, once in the post-COVID timeline), the service is impeccable, food is rich and flavorful and the atmosphere is beautiful and relaxing.” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Herb & Wood. 

5. Solunto Ristorante & Bakery

Homemade gelato, pastries, and more await you at this classic bakery

The tiramisu is always a great option! Image courtesy of Yelp

1643 India St | Little Italy | soluntoristoranteandbakery.com

Looking for an Italian restaurant that has it all? Solunto Ristorante & Bakery has everything you could want in an Italian restaurant. Savory pizza, Italian subs, pasta, and more await you! If you’re craving something sweet, you will love the bakery and gelato bar. Need an early morning pick-me-up? The coffee bar serves espressos, macchiatos, iced coffee, and more to help you start your day on the right foot! 

“We had such a special evening at this place and our waiter Chris made it super extra special! The food was great, we ordered fillet mignon and it was cooked perfectly and very delicious! Big thanks for the cook and Chris for making this dining experience as wonderful as it can be!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Solunto Ristorante & Bakery. 

6. The Waterfront Bar & Grill

Classic restaurant known for its savory burgers

Try to grab a seat outside to enjoy the gorgeous San Diego weather. Image courtesy of Yelp

2044 Kettner Blvd | Little Italy | waterfrontbarandgrill.com

The Waterfront is considered to be San Diego’s oldest tavern. Right now, the patio is open for dine-in services. But if you don’t want to eat at the restaurant, you can order take-out. On the menu, you will find hearty and savory dishes including buffalo wings, burritos, and tacos. Beer and cocktails are also available to enjoy alongside your meal. Some of their most popular drinks include their Bloody Mary, margarita, Moscow mule, and Old Fashioned. 

“Full disclosure I haven't gotten a full meal here (only apps) but this is a great place to stop at if you want to grab a drink with friends or stop by before dinner. I would categorize this as a classic dive bar. They have great accommodations for COVID (they created an outdoor patio).” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for The Waterfront Bar & Grill. 

7. Nonna + Zucchero

Bustling bakery in Little Italy offering classic Italian desserts

Try their pistachio cannoli the next time you stop in! Image courtesy of Yelp

1731 India St | Little Italy | nonnasd.com

Craving something sweet for dessert? Visit Nonna + Zucchero! This Italian cafe offers cakes, pastries, desserts, and gelatos! All of their dishes are made fresh in-house. The next time your sweet tooth starts bugging you to get a pastry, head to Nonna + Zucchero. 

Along with their sweet pastries, Nonna + Zucchero also serves dishes such as Gnocchi Al Pesto, Gamberi Fra Diavolo, and Busalacchi Caesar. A long list of wines and specialty cocktails are also available. Everything from the Little Italy Lemonade to The Wooden Spoon is sure to delight your taste buds. 

“You must try the cartoccio here. It's a tubular Sicilian pastry shell, similar to a flaky sugar-coated donut, that is filled with cannoli cream made of sweet ricotta cheese and chocolate chips. Just one is heavy and will be all you can eat, and it is to die for, not to mention hard to find anywhere. Don't miss it!” - Yelp Review

Purchase a GiftYa card for Nonna + Zucchero. 

Little Italy is a wonderful destination for enjoying a night out on the town. What restaurants in Little Italy are your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

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