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 hair-pampering pros at The Haircutters have trimmed locks and transformed outmoded manes for more than a quarter of a century. Unlike many salons, in which shampooing is a separate service, the team starts off every haircut and style by treating scalps to suds with handfuls of professional products from top brands such as Biolage and American Crew.
Apart from the signature shampoo-and-cuts, the staff at The Haircutters also offers color and texturizing services. Redken color camp for men gets hombres’ heads looking good, and spiral perms cascade with curls. Devoted to client convenience, The Haircutters welcomes walk-ins seven days a week.
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.
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.