Although it opened not long ago, Tuscany Ristorante is wise beyond its years. That's because the duo behind the restaurant?executive chef Robert Gaffney and television producer Daniel DiCarlo?have extensive experience in the food, beverage, and entertainment industries. And it shows in Tuscany's offerings. The frequently-changing menu of farm-to-table dishes with ingredients such as pasta, seafood, certified-Angus beef, and pizzas topped with local meats and cheeses and cooked in a brick oven.
Tuscany Ristorante provides guests with various forms of entertainment, too. National music and comedy acts perform on the venue's various stages, including piano lounge and 1,000-square-foot private supper club. After meals or shows, parties can saunter outdoors, which feature an outdoor lounge and dining area, courtyard, and a fountain that doesn't so much babble as it does wax poetic about the intricacies of waves. A private banquet room in also available.
The flavor artisans at Lorenzo's Pizzeria layer combinations of 26 toppings atop dough disks, banishing hunger pangs with a menu of pizzeria staples for dine-in or carryout. Diners can indulge in pizza by the slice ($2.50+) or gather a group of friends to tackle one of the 18-inch signature pies, including the pesto pizza laden with roasted red peppers, mozzarella, and parmesan ($16). The New Yorker pizza unveils an art-deco skyline of pepperoni, meatballs, mushrooms, and garlic ($17). Saucy chicken wings slather taste buds and dab cheekbones ($4.50 for 1/2 lb.), and the oven-crisped dough of a calzone enshrines a molten core inhabited by the lava monsters dubbed ricotta and mozzarella by the ancient Romans ($7.50 for a 10").
Rossi's Pizza and Family Sports Bar’s culinary team depends on the fruits of California. Chefs incorporate local cheese, olives, and bread into their dishes, and stock the bar with more than 15 wines, all of which are bottled in state. The cooks bolster regional ingredients with handmade dough, a special three-cheese blend grated in-house, and from-scratch marinara sauce, ranch dressing, and garlic butter. Beyond that, chefs craft award-winning homemade lasagna from a family recipe, pile BBQ roast beef and oven-roasted chicken onto Italian rolls, and crown specialty pizzas with toppings such as cashews and sliced avocado. They also serve bar classics such as chicken fingers and hamburgers.
Along with Californian wine, 25 draft beers served in frosted mugs can help wash down meals, which unfold in a spacious dining area that surrounds guests with exposed brick, flat-screen TVs, and sports memorabilia. In the private team room, groups can enjoy a slice while reviewing strategies on a whiteboard and watching game footage on a big-screen TV . After feasts, patrons can stick around for games in Rossi’s arcade, which includes more than 17 classics such as pinball, foosball, and air hockey.
Richard Valenzuela fondly remembers the home cooking of his Sicilian grandmother, once telling the North County Times that “just thinking about it makes me hungry.” Now that he co-owns Via Sicilia Ristorante Italiano, he continues to embrace those same generations-old family recipes when he helps design the menu. His chefs bake fresh bread every day and hand-form meatballs into perfect dodecahedrons. These house ingredients lend a rustic touch to familiar Italian comfort fare, including crispy pizzas, saucy pastas, and baked veal and chicken. The restaurant’s devotion to Old World ambiance extends to the decor, which evokes the feel of a café along the streets of Sicily. Faux shuttered windows and shop awnings line the walls in the dining room, where red-and-white-checkered tablecloths pop against cobblestone floors. To illuminate the space, the restaurant relies on a combination of wall-mounted lanterns, towering streetlights, and giant, irradiated fireflies.
According to Zagat, the portions of breakfast plates at Broken Yolk Cafe can be "obscene"—although one could also consider them generous. Sometimes, these sizes are even considered a challenge. In 2010, Man Vs. Food's Adam Richman paid the restaurant a visit to tackle its infamous Iron Man Special: a 12-egg omelet, topped with chili and piled onto a 15-inch pizza pan.
Opened in 1979, Broken Yolk has spent decades fine-tuning its southwestern recipes—many enigmatically named for people such as "Betty" and "Tony G". Alongside steaming breakfast burritos and griddled buttermilk pancakes, the menu features nearly 20 omelets stuffed with fresh ingredients such as beef chorizo, avocado, and mushroom sauce. Shredded hash-browns are crafted from fresh potatoes, and the salsa is handmade each day. Until its official closing time at 3 p.m., Broken Yolk also serves sandwiches and half-pound Angus burgers. The local chain's six locations each feature their own private banquet room and secret underground passage to one of the other restaurants.
A proper Pizzicato pizza rests on a foundation of authentic crust oiled in olivy and garlicky synchronicity and fused with whole-milk mozzoparm and fresh herbs. Concoctions range from classic New Yawk Cheese ($11.25 for 12 inches) to the contemporary fusion of a Thai Pizza composed of teriyaki chicken, green onions, sweet peppers, mozzarella, carrots, and crushed chili peppers showered in a spicy peanut sauce ($22.25 for 16 inches). Carryout customers can choose between a fresh, ready-to-eat pizza or a fresh, ready-to-cook-at-home, partially baked pizza. A 12-inch creation serves a party of two to three and a 16-inch serves a party of four to five, whereas parties of exactly five may be subject to auditions for an obsolete TV drama series. Geometrically undefined items served on suspiciously circular dinnerware include refreshing salads such as arugula and ripe pear tossed with sweetened walnuts and gorgonzola in a balsamic vinaigrette ($5.25 for small, serves one to two) and the superhuman simplicity of a Tuscan Meatball Hero Panini layered in meatballs, marinara, and mozzarella ($7.00). Check out the full menu for San Diego here and Encinitas here.