The Top 11 Restaurants In Little Italy San Diego

January 29, 2021
Food & Drink
jason wolfe

The Littly Italy in San Diego isn’t just known as an adorable neighborhood that’s great for taking a stroll in, but also for their incredible selection of restaurants. So much is happening in this part of the city, you don’t want to miss it! There are plenty of cocktail bars to bring company to for a good time, as well as lots of stores you’ll want to check out. Once you tire and hunger is on the mind, you’ll be glad you’re in the area for one of these restaurants that knocks everything out of the park. And because it’s Little Italy, you can be sure to expect a wide selection of exceptional Italian restaurants.

Make a loved one’s day by giving them one of the best gifts of all: a gift card! Once you’ve determined which of these Little Italy restaurants is the best treat to attend, get one of their gift cards to give. Your friend that gets to enjoy a night of luxury out with the meal paid for! To make the experience even sweeter, get and receive your gift cards through GiftYa. The website is full of all your favorite venues, and once you make your purchase online you can send the gift card virtually as well. The game of gift giving is forever changed!

1. Juniper & Ivy

Everything on this rotating menu is fresh and exciting 

Juniper & Ivy is the ideal spot to try new and exciting dishes. Their daily offerings rotate with the availability of certain fresh ingredients, giving you all the more reason to return! Even more incentive to come again and again is their stylish and comforting dining area with high rafters and plenty of open space. Start your evening off by going through their cocktail and wine list. Your seasonal menu will then include snacks, small and large plates, as well as dessert to choose from. It’s so fun to come back to see what’s new on the menu!

Buy a GiftYa to Juniper & Ivy >

“Probably my favorite restaurant in San Diego! The menu changes practically daily so there's plenty of incentive to return as often as possible. Seasonal ingredients, innovative preparation, attentive service, and beautiful ambience - not to mention the food itself is ridiculously delicious…” - Yelp Review


2. Buon Appetito Restaurant

You don’t want to miss out on trying their heavenly plate of pasta

1609 India St | Little Italy | buonappetitosandiego.com 

It’s when you get incredibly hungry that you’ll really enjoy visiting Buon Appetito Restaurant; after all, the more hungry you are the more you’ll be able to eat. The menu here is full of generously portioned meals that get better and better with each bite. Whether you come out for lunch or dinner, Buon Appetito Restaurant has a table for you either inside or out on their patio. Try one of their pastas, such as the pasta primavera or linguine neri. If you have the room, finish with some delicious homemade tiramisu or a slice of chocolate mousse cake. 

Buy a GiftYa to Buon Appetito Restaurant >

“Everything looked super appetizing and smelled amazing when they came out. When I tasted the first bite, I literally said "Wow" and immediately wanted more. We all agreed that we haven't had pasta this good in a long time!…” - Yelp Review

3. Davanti Enoteca 

Sit down to an intimate meal made perfect by a menu that won’t disappoint

1655 India St | Little Italy | davantienoteca.com 

Davanti Enoteca has a charming interior that will welcome you right in. Once you're seated, take no time to look through their menu filled with options. This restaurant is great for big groups or families, thanks to their kids menu and family packs. Kids can enjoy pasta, pizza, or grilled chicken with their choice of drink! Meanwhile, the adults can enjoy their delectable pasta and meat dishes. You don’t want to miss out on davanti burgers stuffed with bacon jam, roasted tomatoes, cheese curd, arugula, and more. They also have a great selection of pizzas topped with your favorite fresh ingredients. 

Buy a GiftYa to Davanti Enoteca >

“This was honestly one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I could eat this salad every day. The #cacioepepe was so cheesy and perfect. There are many restaurants in #littleitalysandiego but this place takes the cake!” - Yelp Review



4. Bencotto

If you’re looking for some tasty Italian prepared seafood, start here!

750 W Fir St | Little Italy | lovebencotto.com 

Looking for an elegant night out made perfect with immaculate food? Say no more. Bencotto has a modern and sleek interior that’s ideal for anyone looking for a high-end night out. Even better than their decor is the dishes they serve. You don’t know what you’re missing until you try the tortiglioni tartufo e porcini, a pasta dish with white truffle and porcini mushrooms. Bencotto not only has tasty entrees, for an extensive bar menu filled with cocktails and Italian classic drinks. If you’re not filled yet, take the opportunity to try one of their amazing side orders like the patate arrosto.

Buy a GiftYa to Bencotto >

“Great pasta, great service, what else can I say? I enjoyed the visit to this restaurant. Highly recommend their pasta, it was fresh and delicious! I highly recommend their TAGLIATELLE AL NERO DI SEPPIA… Very generous portion and did not skimp on their seafood…” - Yelp Review

5. Pappalecco

Stop by for an authentic Italian cafe experience complete with pastries and gelato 

1602 State St | Little Italy | pappalecco.com 

Pappalecco is a small cafe-style restaurant that is ideal for those looking for a casual stop for caffeinated drinks and freshly baked pastries. As well as all their coffees and teas, this restaurant has a long list of wines to choose from, and while they have lots of pastries to choose from, their menu has so much more to offer. Sit down to enjoy their pannis, pizzas, or salads. That’s not all, because Pappalecco also has gelato! So much to choose from, and the ambiance and flavors make for a great experience every time.

Buy a GiftYa to Pappalecco >

“Panini is made fresh and described in detail by the staff. The staff are incredibly personable and the service is top notch. Tried the pistachio gelato and loved it too…” - Yelp Review


6. Rovino Rotisserie + Wine

This is the perfect spot to enjoy a great meal with equally great wine

2034 Kettner Blvd | Little Italy | rovinosd.com 

Rovino Rotisserie + Wine excels at providing an unforgettable meal matched with an unforgettable glass of wine. Their indoor and outdoor seating areas are equally comfortable and accommodating, so come by when it’s a nice day out. Come with a small appetite? They have a plethora of small dishes to enjoy with your drink. Rovino Rotisserie + Wine is serious about their pasta, with plenty of options and each made with extraordinary flavors. Get a taste of the pasta siciliana or gnocchi rovino. Once you’re here, you have to get a taste of their flatbreads topped with fresh ingredients.   

Buy a GiftYa to Rovino Rotisserie + Wine >

“Rovino was so delicious! Cute outdoor space with heaters. Everyone really enjoyed their meal and I can't wait to come back! Definitely one of my top picks in Little Italy…” - Yelp Review

7. Barbusa

Modern Sicilian fare

1917 India St | Little Italy | barbusa.com 

Barbusa, the latest culinary project by the Busalacchi family in Little Italy, offers authentic modern Sicilian cuisine with a flare. They offer artisan pizzas, handmade pasta, and seafood-centric dishes. But the handcrafted Italian cocktails and Southern Italian wines ensure that what you’re sipping is just as good as what you’re eating.

You can purchase a GiftYa for Barbusa here!

“Everything on the menu is amazing! Fun for a night out in little Italy. It is a tad noisy (just with conversations and close seating) so be aware for the ambiance/vibe you are going for.” - Yelp Review 

8. Mona Lisa Italian Foods

Old-world restaurant and deli under one roof

2061 India St | Little Italy | monalisalittleitaly.com 

This family-style Italian restaurant has an old-world ambiance as well as old-world cooking. The traditional recipes served here at Mona Lisa have been passed down through generations. Come to experience house-made sauces, Italian wine, and more. Or stop in their authentic Italian deli for made-to-order sandwiches, imported and domestic meats and cheeses, house made sausage, fresh pastas, and pizza dough. You can even pick up extra virgin olive oils, balsamic vinegars, marinated olives, and imported wines and spirits, on your way out of the restaurant!

You can purchase a GiftYa for Mona Lisa Italian Foods here!

“Wow wow wow what a find. We stopped in to get sandwiches to take to the Giants/Padres game. They were incredible. The best part is the vinaigrette used in lieu of mayonnaise; what a revelation! Mona Lisa is a San Diego treasure.” - Yelp Review

9. Filippi's Pizza Grotto Little Italy

Family-owned pizza and pasta chain 

1747 India St | Little Italy | realcheesepizza.com

This family-owned chain has been around for over 70 years. Here you can get delicious melty pizza, a variety of pastas (spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, and macaroni), and thick sandwiches. You can enjoy all of these with a bottle of one of Filippi’s house wines or a variety of white, red, sparkling, and blush dinner wines. Gluten-free pasta is also available!

“Filippi's is always a must when in San Diego. The food is DELICIOUS. Pizza is perfect, no need for extra cheese because they put A LOT of cheese! Salami and cheese is all I need! Can't wait to come back.” - Yelp Review

10. Ristorante Illando

Traditional Tuscan comfort food

1825 India St | Little Italy | illando.com 

This intimate Tuscan trattoria, serves traditional Tuscan comfort food, including antipasti, an assortment of house-made pasta dishes, and Landini’s famous New York-style pizzas. It’s perfect for your next date night because of its intimate atmosphere, but it’s also a great spot to come for happy hour because of the deals! On weekdays from 4pm - 6pm, you can enjoy discounts on select wine, beer, and small plates like their Burrata con Prosciutto!

“The food here is amazing!! We ended up getting the burrata con prosciutto and polpette affogate (meatballs) which were to die for! We ended up sharing a few entrees for dinner including the tortellini, risotto and gnocchi. You can't go wrong!” - Yelp Review 

11. Mimmo's Italian Village

Family-owned and operated upbeat Italian eatery since 1973

1743 India St | Little Italy | mimmos.biz 

This upbeat Italian eatery is family-owned and operated and has been serving Italian fare in the heart of Little Italy since 1973. They serve food just like their Grandpa Mimmo used to make it, and locals and visitors alike love it. Their pasta is always made from scratch, and they guarantee it will be the best you’ve ever had. We recommend the Chef’s Special Ravioli that changes daily or the Spicy Shrimp Linguini with shrimp, peas, and chipotle cream sauce. Enjoy your meal with a drink - white wine, red wine, sangria, sparkling wine, or beer. For dessert, get a cannoli! 

You can purchase a GiftYa for Mimmo’s Italian Village here!

“I loved the decor and the food was so authentic and great price. We got caprese..small angel hair with Basil..red sauce..and peppers. Also half a margherita pizza. The dough was so good.  We also got bread and oil with it.” - Yelp Review 

Little Italy is filled with so many great Italian restaurants who serve the best tasting pastas, pizzas, and pastries. Each of them has a unique atmosphere so that no matter what mood you’re in, for either a casual or high-end spot, you can easily enjoy it in the area. No matter which restaurant you end up in, you’re sure to be satisfied with the amazing flavors and friendly service. Let us know in the comments which of these restaurants you try first!

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