In 1959, Domenic Donato ventured from his hometown of Cosenza, Italy, to California, where he opened his first Italian restaurant with recipes from his mother, Rosa, whom he considers the best cook in Italy. Donato soon opened a succession of Italian restaurants now owned and operated by his sister, brother, and sons. In 2006, Donato passed down Mangia Italiano on Third to close family friends Adam and Kathy. The pair faithfully continues to follow the recipes passed down through generations of the Donato family, as well as adding modern twists to Italian classics.
Inside the kitchens, chefs bake eggplant parmigana with ricotta and romano cheese, lightly flour and sauté veal with fresh mushrooms and marsala wine sauce, and toss spicy shrimp with angel-hair pasta, olive oil, and sun-dried tomatoes. In the dining area, murals of Italian seascapes are dotted with white sails puffing in the wind and depict ancient ruins full of crumbling columns and Betamax players. When not inspecting the restaurant's art, patrons can dig into plates of housemade cannolis and tiramisu.
Before any cuts of corn-fed Nebraskan beef grill above The Steakhouse on Broadway's mesquite coals, Executive Chef Ramon Gomez ages them himself for 28 days. Between the aging and the cooking, each juicy cut of steak arrives infused with smoky flavor, complemented by locally sourced veggies and sauces such as chimichurri or sweet apple creamy horseradish. Steak isn't the only culinary card up Ramon's sleeve. He serves succulent crab legs by the pound, crafts housemade pastas, and carves up to 32-ounce pieces of mouth-watering prime rib from a 20-pound Nebraska rib roast.
Manning the walnut-paneled bar behind a granite countertop, barkeeps complement Ramon's meat-focused entrees with a wide selection of beer and wine. Honoring the steakhouse’s roots that date back to 1968, bartenders stick to tradition cocktail-wise, making libations such as the Manhattan and Old Fashioned with top-shelf spirits.
The old-school drink menu meshes well with the red leather booths of the 1960s-era dining room, whose ambiance has changed little since the steakhouse opened. Back then it was a hotspot for celebrities such as Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Jack Lemon, Jack Lemmon’s pet lemon. Today, it hosts live entertainment almost nightly, including crooner Ray Correa, who the San Diego Reader praised for his "crafty guitar playing and alluring voice."
Batches of freshly baked foccacia bread, forged in an open-air baking station every 15 minutes, swathe tempting combinations of the gourmet ingredients that populate Stone Oven's menu. Sandwich savants can bedeck the bread in six selections of seasoned low-fat mayonnaise, such as the spicy-chipotle mayo, which escorts onion crisps, avocado, and cheddar cheese safely to the barbecue beef-brisket sandwich ($7.45). The warm foccacia also keeps company with an array of innovative salads, such as the goat-cheese chicken salad ($7.45), or the walnut and green-apple salad, which hosts a raucous gathering of grilled chicken, candied walnuts, and champagne vinaigrette. A bevy of beverages and sides include freshly brewed iced tea ($1.59) and gourmet kettle chips with which to scoop up stray ingredients or use as a carry-on suitcase ($1.50).
Shared Dreams' boat docks at Sunroad Resort Marina's pier, which is just a short jaunt away from nearly all of San Diego's seaside sights and attractions. Because of that, it's not difficult for the boat's licensed captain to customize trips. Depending on what customers want to see—whether it's whales, seals, battleships, the Coronado Bridge, or Olly, the city's beloved thicket of seaweed—he'll steer the boat in the appropriate direction. The cruises depart Friday–Sunday from sunrise to sunset.
Though at least 130 miles and 80 years of history separate golden-age Hollywood from modern-day National City, Cafe La Maze bridges the gap. During the 1940s, this steakhouse served as a playground for movie stars headed to Tijuana, Mexico. Here, they could tuck in to prime rib and lobster on the lower level, or gamble the night away with card sharks such as the Marx Brothers and eponymous restaurateur Marcel Lamaze in a hidden room upstairs.
Today, diners soak up auras of these legends in the same tufted booths where Bing Crosby and Clark Gable most likely lingered at the eatery's grand opening. Candles, chandeliers, and a golden ceiling cast a warm glow across tables as groups savor shrimp cocktails and slice into juicy cuts of top sirloin, new york strip, and filet mignon. Some evenings live music scores meals, and on karaoke nights guests can harmonize with friends as the portraits that line the damask-print walls try to remember the words. Those seeking a more low-key gathering can book the banquet room, which teems with enough red-vinyl seats for up to 70 close friends or cardboard cutouts of their likenesses.