When a golfer seeks inspiration, she looks toward the skies over Scotland, just as a baker gets a second wind from his brochure of the Choco Mountain Range. Today's Groupon inspires with a saucy salute to Memphis: $20 worth of sweet meats and succulent, finger-licking barbecue for $10 at Lil' Piggy's Bar-B-Q in Coronado. Follow the sweet-smelling dreams that haunt long nights in your rib-shack.
It's hard to imagine a better working relationship between an executive chef and a sous chef than that of Bice's Mario Cassineri and Francesca Penoncelli. Both grew up in northern Italy, taking their first kitchen jobs as teenagers, before both attended culinary school and joined the Milan-based Bice Restaurant Group. Together, they opened several restaurants, then settled in to Bice San Diego. It was there that their culinary chemistry sparked the interest of the James Beard Foundation, who invited them to be guest chefs in their legendary kitchen in New York.
It's no wonder their talents are so revered. Not only does Mario and Francesca's menu mix things up with seasonal ingredients, but its presentations are engaging. The seafood spaghetti, for instance, is baked in a parchment bag and opened at your table, and even the rigatoni is unexpectedly colorful, painted with bright-yellow saffron sauce and sprinkled with green chives and rosy bits of quick-smoked sausage.
That said, rushing to a dinner table isn't the only way to enjoy Bice. The award-winning cheese bar displays Italian imports that change almost daily, any of which can be paired with honey, Francesca's homemade jams, or a fairly messy high-five. These inventive supplements make it clear that, even after decades spent working together, Mario and Francesca are hardly stuck in a culinary rut. It's also easy to share Bice via a business event, rehearsal dinner, birthday party, or other special private event.
Fall head over heels for Barolo Ristorante — this Italian hot spot is a great place for your next dinner date. Barolo Ristorante is also a good option for those with special dietary needs, offering both low-fat and gluten-free items on the menu. Drinks here are readily available, so you can enjoy a glass of red or try something new. For some fresh air during the non-winter months, dine outside on Barolo Ristorante's patio. Heading out with a larger party? There's plenty of space for big groups at Barolo Ristorante.
Call ahead for reservations to ensure your table is waiting for you when you arrive. Not a popular place for dress-up dining, most Barolo Ristorante patrons come in casual attire. The restaurant has catering services as well. For those in a rush, the restaurant lets you take your food to go.
Free parking is available right next door.
A typical meal at Barolo Ristorante will set you back less than $30. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served at the restaurant, but the dinner menu is the real standout.
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.
Guests have to blink a few times upon first entering the Alexander's on 30th dining room—a dazzling wash of pristine white walls, white Carrara-marble counters, and white linen tablecloths. Moonlight pours in through lofty windows, causing the wine glasses and silverware to shimmer with images from Casablanca. Little candles speckle the tabletops, casting a glow on plates of colorful bruschetta, fine pasta dishes, and Italian specialties. A variety of artisanal pizzas perch atop silver pedestals—including the White Room pizza, a flavorful combination of garlic, chicken, and pesto that the San Diego Union Tribune named 1 of the top 50 things to eat in San Diego before you die. Outside, on the back patio, diners linger over last bites of cookie sundaes beneath trees adorned with strings of light.
Amid warm lighting shrouded by red glass, executive chef Samuel De Leon sends out Italian pasta dishes and baked entrees as the centerpiece of the eatery's campaign to give diners an Italian culinary experience. Another facet of this quaint destination is its newly installed covered patio, which lights up with the gentle glow of five LED TVs and warm fire pits. On Thursday and Friday nights, live music trickles into ear canals as patrons sip wine from a menu filled with chardonnays, merlots, and Italian reds. Those who prefer a specific bottle of wine can purchase one of the restaurant's wine lockers, which board bottles and brand each with a plaque that bears its owner's name and shoe size. Taste of Italy Del Mar also can book events for up to 200 people, including weddings and corporate events.