The San Diego Reader doesn't mince words: Da Boyz Pizza & Pasta is "da bomb." Since 1993, the pizzeria's dough-spinning cooks have sprinkled pies with fresh herbs and spices as well as more than 20 toppings such as bacon bits and jalapenos. Even more ingredients crown Da Boyz's specialties, from buffalo-chicken pies to Mom's Favorite, a medley of mozzarella, artichokes, and handwritten thank-you notes.
Italian and pizzeria staples span the remaining sections of the menu, ranging from housemade-sausage subs to fettuccini tossed with tequila-lime sauce. An extensive selection of wine and beer, including six drafts, complements feasts, which unfold amid the dining room's flatscreen TVs and billiards table.
Since the 1960s, Nonno's Italian Restaurant has remained La Mesa's hub for classic Italian dishes and gourmet pizzas. Executive Chef Gerardo Ortiz continues the eatery's tradition with artfully plated entrees, such as eggplant parmesan and smoked wild salmon coated with vermouth cream sauce. Chef Ortiz crafts his lasagnas entirely from-scratch, layering noodles with Italian sausage and beef or, for vegetarians and cockeyed sailors preparing for a bout of fisticuffs, spinach and ricotta. Gerardo likewise makes his pizza dough and sauce in-house daily, covering them with real mozzarella and a choice of nearly 20 toppings, including meatballs and asparagus. To complement Gerardo's cuisine, Nonno's stocks an extensive wine selection that diners can enjoy by the glass or bottle.
The aroma of freshly baked pizzas crowned with pepperoni, meatballs, and garlic fills the air every day at Coney Island Pizzeria. In the kitchen, the cooks assemble Coney Island–themed pies, such as the Luna Park with pepperoni, bacon, and pineapple and the Wonder Wheel, topped with alfredo sauce, bacon, meatballs, and green peppers. During two-hour pizza-making classes held every Saturday, students learn to re-create the restaurant's signature pies, preparing the dough, making the sauce, and topping the pizzas with fresh ingredients and cheese. After sessions, students tote home a complimentary 18-inch pie of their choice or the choice of the myna bird living on their back.
John's Incredible Pizza Co. graces guests with acres of incandescent entertainment options and a fully stocked buffet ($9.49 value, $1.50 value for drinks). In addition to a slew of soups, salads, pasta, desserts, and traditional pizza choices, the buffet brandishes a bouquet of specialty pizza creations, including spicy peanut-butter, barbecue chicken ranch, and alfredo pizza.
At a young age, Alberto Morreale decided on a career as a chef, leaving his Sicilian hometown to cook in restaurants across northern Italy. After moving to San Diego, he started synthesizing Californian influences with his Old World culinary techniques, creating dishes such as his housemade lobster ravioli with chipotle-mascarpone-cilantro sauce and a dollop of tequila.
Chef Morreale’s use of local ingredients in his creative recipes adds to the freshness of dishes at both Fig Tree Cafe locations—winning the Hillcrest café second place in CityVoter’s Best Brunch category in 2010. The two cafés bake their breads in house, grow their own sprigs of rosemary, and catch their own silverware in a clear mountain stream. The kitchen sources ingredients from area producers, such as a ranch 35 miles outside of town, which supplies the restaurant with natural, free-range eggs.