Used to be SD had either old school Italian American dining (i.e. Godfathers's etc.), or upscale overpriced mediocre Italian made with little innovation or flair. Seems like the last 5 years or so, the Italian food trend has started to improve in San Diego with places like Solare, Bencotto, and Buona Forchetta. Even the more casual Italian seems to have improved, with places like Monello, Biga, Bice, and Cucuna Basilico. Most of these places make their pasta and other offerings from scratch. Lots more little mom and pop places doing it right these days and it's been hard to keep up.
Love Cucina Basilico and recently had a fantastic dining experience at Bencotto. So where's your favorite Italian these days in San Diego? Also looking for small local gems (like Mama Theresa's in Poway).