With room for only 20 oenophiles within its tasting quarters, Proprietor’s Reserve Wine Bar crafts a menu of regional dishes designed to complement the establishment's colossal selection of wines. The next tasting event, the Best of France meal, features six Franco-influenced dishes and six carefully matched wines, with each bite and sip enhancing the other in a flavorsome tag-team taste-bud assault. Past dinners have highlighted the cuisine of other regions, including South Africa, a meal that boasted unique small plates and entrees such as diced chicken slathered in apricot-ginger sauce and wine-braised short ribs with crème fraiche smashed potatoes, and a gathering dedicated to Moffett Vineyards' wines featured epicurean cameos by risotto studded with spicy sausage, garlic, chive, and leek paired with a selection of C&T Cellars sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.
Bamboo Lounge defies expectations. Though Japan, Italy, and Mexico are literally dozens of miles apart, the eatery brings their foods together on its eclectic menu. For example, gourmet sushi rolls are served with steaming plates of fettuccine pasta or chicken quesadillas. On Saturdays and Sundays, the kitchen converts to breakfast food, serving omelets and breakfast sandwiches, and their deli serves healthy sandwiches piled with freshly sliced meats and veggies. Bamboo Lounge serves numerous varieties of beer and wine—such as draft Guinness Stout—and also doubles as an art gallery, which features work from local artists such as Stacy D'Aguiar or Kansley Pye.
Bite into at Medjoul dates stuffed with gorgonzola or potato herb gnocchi with bay scallops at Bite. Chef Chris Walsh of Confidential Restaurant and Loft serves French and Italian-influenced finger-food in small, tapas-style dishes. Deviled eggs with salmon caviar and banana pepper sauce for $3.50 and swordfish skewers for $5 mean you can sample and share plenty of plates for $55.
Olivetto Ristorante and its owner Angelo Fiore welcome patrons with homey ambiance and selection of modern Italian fare influence by classic recipes. In 2008, the San Diego Reader claimed "it has all the virtues of a 'neighborhood Italian joint' – warmth, spirit, informality, prices not too bad – but the food is better than most," and Zagat's menu rating of "very good to excellent" supports this assertion. They make their own ravioli and pesto in-house and bake fresh loaves of bread. To accompany meals, the café also features a wine selection with refreshing whites and heartier reds from around the world, including authentic Italian offerings. Olivetto welcomes any meeting, from business get-togethers to romantic dinners.
Nestled in East Village next to Petco Park, TOAST was built on the premise of recreating an authentic Italian wine-tasting experience. With more than 400 labels hailing from Abruzzo, Italy, to New Zealand, TOAST allows sophisticated sippers to experience the bodies of prestigious wines from the 17 corners of the world in an intimate and upscale environment. The menu offers a selection of rustic Italian eats to complement pours and satiate appetites with savories such as panino pollo lattuga e pancetta, a thinly sliced chicken breast, pancetta, and lettuce sandwich with spicy tomato sauce ($10). Slip away from singular sipping and combine a glass of prosecco ($10) from Veneto, Italy, with the fusilli corti alla carbonara (gluten-free spaghetti in carbonara sauce, $14). Balance the aroma and flavor of a glass of tempranillo (a red from Catalunya, Spain, $9) with the pizza al prosciutto, which pairs classic pomodoro sauce and mozzarella with piquant prosciutto di parma ($14). Owner and executive chef Martin Gonzalez opened his other Italian restaurant, the notable Acqua Al 2, before developing his vision for injecting East Village with a mighty dose of premier wines.
Operacaffe translates the impeccable flavors of Northern Italian fare into beautiful culinary presentations just as easily as it melts opera and caffe into one tangy word. Fresh ingredients flourish under the precise handling of head chefs and co-owners Patrizia Branchi and Roberto Bernardoni, who have crafted a menu filled with traditional favorites. The garden stew of minestrone di verdure ($5.95) heats the belly for following courses (ranging $15.95–$23.95) of penne alla Kika with shrimp, manila clams, and white wine in a light and spicy cream sauce, and Corona D'Agnello, a grilled lamb chop with spinach, mashed potatoes, and mint. Light biters can feast on insalate ($5.95–$13.95) and antipasti ($5.95–$14.95); La Pera Pazza marries pear, watercress, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, lemon, and honey dressing, and I Coccoli combines fried pizza dough with stracchino and marscapone cheeses mixed with prosciutto di Parma.
Sip wine, snack on paninis, and devour small plates in the heart of San Diego’s Italian district. With today’s Groupon, $25 gets you $50 worth of food and drink at Enoteca Style, an upscale café and lounge brought to you by the folks behind East Village spot Salad Style.