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.
Giovannis Italian Restaurant boasts strong San Diego roots that were put down back in 1980—the year when the eatery first opened. However, the menu has much older ties to the past. The chefs still use generations-old family recipes that draw inspiration from classic Italian as well as Italian-American cooking. In addition to the selection of hearty pasta dishes, veal entrees, and sub sandwiches, the restaurant also prepares pizzas with as many as 28 different toppings from the Periodic Table of Elements, including everything from meatballs and chopped garlic to artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. To accompany this cozy, homestyle cooking, Giovannis also features an ever-changing assortment of beers from local craft breweries, such as Ballast Point, Stone, Green Flash, Karl Strauss, and Coronado.
Naked Pizza hearkens back to the age of cavemen, when dense grains supplied the energy necessary to combat hours of Ice Age drudgery. The pizzeria?s kitchen chemists kept this lifestyle in mind while developing the shop?s Ancestral Blend, a conglomeration of 10 grains?including oats, brown rice, buckwheat, and quinoa?infused with prebiotic agave fiber and probiotics that promote slow and healthy digestion. Toppings are also stripped down to their simplest and healthiest form, from rGBH-free Wisconsin mozzarella to tomato sauce free of citric acid or sugar. Naked Pizza also dispenses with dinnertime secrecy by openly posting nutritional information for all to see and inviting feedback via social media and onsite semaphore flags.
Extreme Pizza is not your run-of-the-mill, ma-and-pa pizza shop. Here, the cooks pile their house-baked crusts with a slew of uncommon combinations, including the ginger-peanut-sauce-marinated chicken strewn across the Kickin? Chicken pizza, which is also topped with peanuts, green onions, swiss, fontina, mozzarella, and fresh cilantro. The Paia Pie may seem standard with pineapple and Canadian bacon, but the addition of mandarin oranges and its mozzarella-cheddar blend make it more unique than a unicorn with two horns. As an alternative to the pies, freshly baked calzones, creatively loaded salads, monster subs, and chicken wings also populate the menu.
Within the casual confines of Ocean’s Pizzeria, ripples of cheese cascade across New York–style pies, mimicking the ocean waves lapping the coastline just beyond the eatery’s doors. The sunny seaside serves as a backdrop for an alfresco dining on the patio, while inside, sunlight pushes through windows whirling around vibrant orange and red walls. Amid the colorful environs, staffers sling crispy, thin-crust pizzas topped with ingredients such as mushrooms, canadian bacon, and white sauce, and assemble hearty sandwiches and subs. To keep the merriment and soapbox derbies going, servers tap into their full arsenal of libations, pouring beer, wine, and cocktails.
After Cubs fan Jerry Bishop moved to San Diego, he couldn't find deep-dish pies that met the demands of his Chicago taste buds. So he decided to open his own pizza shop?Asaggio Pizza Pasta Plus. Over the past 30 years, Jerry and his wife Liz have rounded out the menu with New York?style pizza, calzones, and pasta, all made with freshly prepared dough and handcrafted sauces. Staffers also hand stuff the sweet Grandma's-recipe cannolis, which diners can enjoy on the waterfront patio.