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The 11 Best Italian Restaurants in San Diego

By Bella Gill | March 10, 2021 | Food & Drink Lifestyle Feature

Whether you are in search of an unforgettable plate of pasta or a fresh platter of seafood, enjoy our list of San Diego's best Italian restaurants.

If you're open to a culinary adventure, check our lists of best Italian restaurants in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orange County and Silicon Valley.


1. Catania

What could be better than coastal Italian food, a refreshing drink and a panoramic view of the ocean? At Catania, you get all three. Located in the heart of La Jolla, Catania features specials highlighted by their handmade pastas and wood-fired pizzas. A Catania-classic includes Tagliatelle Alla Portofino with basil pesto and creamy san marzano tomatoes with a Amalfi Coast cocktail on the side. 7863 Girard Ave., #301 F3, La Jolla, Website

2. Isola Pizza Bar

With dishes akin to gorgeous works of art, Isola Pizza Bar’s food is definitely as good as it looks. Wood-fired pizzas, house-made focaccia bread and fresh mozzarella are the stars of the show at Isola. With locations in Little Italy and La Jolla, Isola is a perfect stop at any time of the day. 7734 Girard Ave., La Jolla, Website

3. Solare

Considered one of the best Italian restaurants in San Diego, Solare delivers and delights with its authentic cuisine and inviting staff and atmosphere. Taking pride in their farm-fresh ingredients, Solare also offers a plethora of handmade pasta made daily on their menu. 2820 Roosevelt Rd., San Diego, Website

4. Piatti

With the most inviting al fresco dining steps away from the shore, Piatti La Jolla entertains their diners with delectable dining decisions. Serving La Jolla for more than 25 years now, Piatti’s selections include Cavatappi with house-made Italian sausage, and a lush tiramisu to top off your meal. 2182 Avenida De La Playa, La Jolla, Website

5. Cucina Urbana

Cucina Urbana, “where dining meets design,” combines a contemporary Italian experience with the standard Southern California freshness. With delicately crafted charcuterie staples and an eloquent selection of wine from their in-house wine shop, Cucina Urbana’s eatery brings delectable Italian fare to San Diego. A true delight for all ages. 505 Laurel St., San Diego, Website


6. Cucina Enoteca

From the ever-loved squash blossoms to an enticing short rib pappardelle, Cucina Enoteca in Del Mar offers a fresh and sustainable Italian dining experience. Dine under the sparkling string lights or take your provisions home from their to-go menu, no matter what, Cucina Enoteca hits the spot each time. 2730 Via De La Valle #1906, Del Mar, Website

7. Cesarina

Cesarina, your “happy Italian trattoria,” is known for its tableside dessert service and vegan-friendly menu. Opened in 2019, Cesarina aims to please, and does so efficiently with its interactive menu, where you’ve got control. Design your own meal from pasta shape and sasuke choice, to a handcrafted latte or cocktail. Don’t forget, dessert here is a must. 4161 Voltaire St., San Diego, Website

8. Buona Forchetta

With multiple locations throughout San Diego County, Buona Forchetta takes pride in family and quality. Serving edible works of art such as Pizza Napoletana from the wood-burning oven, and specialty pastas such as Bolognese, Buona Forchetta proves itself a San Diego staple. With vegan options and breakfast on the weekends, what more could you ask for? Multiple Locations. Website

9. Bencotto Italian Kitchen

Nestled in historic Little Italy, Bencotto brings a taste of authentic Italian cuisine to San Diego. Aged imported cured meat and cheese, handcrafted pasta and velvety soup are featured on the stellar menu Looking for an experience like no other? Try their Cheesewheel Pasta, prepared in the window for passersby to see. 750 W Fir St., #103, San Diego, Website

10. The Red Door

In beloved Mission Hill sits The Red Door, with its cozy patio setup and mouth-watering Italian eats. Choose from options such as the Seared Scallops with a Cauliflower Puree, or the Orecchiette pasta with Pearl Onions and Brandy Cream. Paired with a glass from their marvelous Wine List, The Red Door proves classic time and time again. 741 W Washington St., San Diego, Website

11. Davanti Enoteca

One of the hottest spots in Little Italy, Davanti Enoteca curates an experience filled with not only staples, but authentic eats with fresh ingredients. Focaccia Di Recco, a must-try starter, is a Ligurian flatbread with soft cow’s cheese and honeycomb is an essential to any meal at Davanti Enoteca along with a Cannoli to finish your meal off. 1655 India St., San Diego, Website

Photography by: Photos by Samuel Wells