Little Italy Is Where San Diego's Best Food Awaits

It used to be that people would come to San Diego's Little Italy when craving authentic pizza, pasta, gelato and other Italian favorites. This is still the case. However, in recent years we've seen many concepts and cuisines open up here ranging from Mexican to ramen. And, these places are the talk of the town. Frankly, there are so many good restaurants in Little Italy that it's difficult to narrow a list to just ten.

Thankfully, wandering Little Italy's gentrified streets and cool stores, is a great way to burn off a meal while encompassing various points of interest and cool works of art along the way.

For gelato, you'll want to stop at Pappalecco's where it's made handmade daily. Not to mention the paninis, baked goods and coffee also reign supreme. Craving a romantic evening? Buon Appetito is perfect for a leisurely meal over a bottle of wine. Take your time and definitely do not skip dessert. The lobster roll at Ironside, known for oysters and other seafood, is worthy of extra time on the treadmill.

These days, no trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to Little Italy. Consider booking reservations at these 10 spots.

Filippi's Pizza Grotto

Family-owned and operated since 1950, Filippi's Pizza Grotto is a go-to spot for Italian food in Little Italy. This casual restaurant is famous for mouth-watering pizzas (locals rave about the cheese) and monumental meatball subs. The salads and...  Read More


Ask anyone about Pappalecco's and they'll probably mention gelato. Why? Because it's reminiscent of the real deal and handmade daily. Though you can't really go wrong here from the espresso to the baked goods. There's a few tables on the inside...  Read More

Mimmos Italian Village

Highly-regarded Mimmo's Italian Village started as Italian Village in 1969 which was a deli, bakery and flower shop and then a local grocery store. People come now for meatball subs at lunch time though note there is no table service until...  Read More

No longer absent in California's southern-most city, is a rich oyster culture--one that is deeply engrained in other coastal communities spanning from New England to the Pacific Northwest. Filling the local void is Ironside Fish & Oyster,...  Read More

Chef Scott Harris, of Chicago restauranteur famous for his Francesca restaurants, opened Davanti Enoteca here in San Diego (there are two locations, Del Mar and Little Italy)as a contemporary Italian restaurant. Go with friends or on a date to...  Read More

Herb & Wood Chef Brian Malarkey's new restaurant that is known for wood fire cookery focusing on basic rustic preparations that rely on the quality of the ingredients. Menu items include the likes of Local Tuna & Uni Crudo with apple,...  Read More

Bencotto means a meal "well done" or cooked perfectly in Italian. Voted Best Italian Restaurant by San Diego Magazine four years in a row, Bencotto puts a uniique spin on traditional Italian cuisine or regional specialties by offering dishes...  Read More

Barbusa is a modern Sicilian culinary concept occupying the space of the Busalacchi family's former Italian steakhouse, Po Pazzo, in the heart Little Italy. Menu highlights include Arancini Trio, stuffed risotto balls offered in 3 flavors (Squid...  Read More

Little Italy
Buon Appetito

Known for being small yet intimate Buon Appetito is famous for its homemade ravioli, lasagne, risotto and gnocchi that prides itself on being similar to a San Francisco-style eatery. They have a quaint bar with 50+ wines available. Try the...  Read More

San Diego's culinary scene reached new heights with the opening of Juniper & Ivy. Led by "Top Chef: All-Stars" winner Richard Blais and the team at Juniper Hospitality, the popular modern American restaurant sits in a converted 1920s...  Read More


Meet Katie Dillon

Katie Dillon originally moved to the seaside community of La Jolla to attend UC San Diego. When the opportunity presented itself, she and her husband set off for a 7 year stint overseas as...  More About Katie