So what's your favorite Italian food in San Diego?


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).


Love Baci’s. .

Being Swedish with a splash of Italian, I kick ass on the Italian cooking department, so it’s hard for me to go to Italian restaurants and not be critical that I could do that much better.

I am a HUGE fan of Dan Tana’s in West Hollywood, would love to replicate something like that down SD way.


Love Baci’s too. Elegant Old School Italian, but the wife thinks their menu is limited. I on the other hand like a place that doesn’t try to do too many things and does very well with the things they do.


Cucina Basilico 1 + 2
Piacere Mio
Caffe Calabria (went a few times to Buena Forchetta and the pizza is good (everything else was just OK) but once we went to CC the pizza is so much better that we don’t go back anymore. I am actually surprised how big the difference was for us between both places)

We tried Mama Theresa a few times as we don’t live far away but with the places above easily available and the quality difference quite significant with similar prices we never went back. And sorry to say but Baci is a good example how Italian restaurants shouldn’t be - low quality food (e.g. most pasta commercially bought and not made in house, badly cooked food), boring menu, overpriced and only living by their reputation to be open for a long time. If they would open today with the same menu I doubt they would last long


“Filippi’s Pizza Grotto - Serving Authentic Italian Food For Over 50 Years!”


Ahh yes, Fillippi’s, a local San Diego chain and institution, but some locations I’ve been to are clearly better than others. Which one(s) do you fancy? And what do you order there?


I guess I should have used the sarcastic emoji.


I got the little tongue and cheek there, but actually the Fillippi’s at the East side of Mira Mesa does a decent take-out pizza if you ask them to do a custom thin crust.


RISD’s original list is a good one. Not much to add, except I like some of Roma markets products. I’ve liked my two trips to Spirito’s but not sure how Italian that really is, nor should it be on any best list, but good for what it is. Unfortunately I have to agree with Honkman with regard to Mamma Theresa, was okay but wasn’t cheap and for that price point it’s pretty easy to get better.


Y’all beat me to the keyboard. I haven’t been to Biga yet, but Bice is nice, Cucina Basillico is great. Bencotto is our favorite for non-pizza. For pizza it’s Buona Forchetta. Solare is excellent, as is Baci, when in the mood for more formal service. We also like Piacere Mio in South Park, and Cucina Urbana.


Buona Forchetta

Piacere Mio


The Fillipi’s in Mira Mesa next to the TJ’s on the East side of the 15 has IMO, the best food of all the locales…
It’s kind of divey in a good way…dark and dank…love it!



Forgot about Basic for kick ass pizza!


Herr Honk…
Are you moving to BOS?


Yep, unfortunately SD has seriously declined as a biotech/pharma hub and especially VC money has left SD in large quantity (and due to some general structural problems in this region it is unlikely that it will come back soon). And so when there is the opportunity to join one of the world leading science organizations in Cambridge it was hard to resist.


going to work at BiogenIdec? I left biotech last year, too much stuff getting off shored or moving to the east coast (I worked at Biogen until the left San Diego).


A joint organization of Harvard and MIT

I have too many friends at Biogen who were laid off that I don’t think even at the east coast Biogen is a “safe” organization


SzzThat is a shame HH. Wish you weren’t leaving (who else is going to go review all those chef menu tastings for us!). Good luck to you and your family.

Well, I’m kinda in a similar situation, but unlike you, don’t yet have a plan.


I think you will love Boston/ Cambridge area…
Food is quite good and love access to Maine , NYC and Europe.
They take their sports seriously so no snark about the Red Sox’s or Patriots…
Live as close to Back Bay/Cambridge area.

Happy for you Herr Honk!!

I’ve known Howard for years when he started Hybritech…he and Ivor are great guys!

Still post those grumpy posts for SD and stay with FTC for BOS board.


Italian in Boston kicks serious ass…the real effing deal!