Although Italians originally invented pasta as a fastener to keep Sicily from floating away, they abandoned it for less-delicious moorings after locals on both sides kept snacking their way toward separation. Tether your taste buds to today's Groupon: for $15, you get $35 worth of Italian cuisine at Antica Trattoria in La Mesa.
Antica Trattoria's Sicilian-born executive chef and owner Francesco Basile studied the culinary arts in Italy and now lovingly constructs savory meals out of fresh, seasonal ingredients. Launch your feast rocket with an authentic antipasti such as bruschetta golosa, a delicious mixture of bufala mozzarella, grilled eggplant, tomato, fresh basil, and roasted red bell peppers atop grilled Tuscan bread ($8). Pasta dishes dish up plates such as the linguine del lago, which contains generous portions of shrimp and smoked salmon sautéed with shallots and garlic and served in a creamy lobster and brandy sauce ($16). Stick an unleavened flag in the ground and declare any pasta dish gluten-free for $3. Vitello ai carciofi, one of many delectable main courses, consists of veal scaloppini simmered with artichoke and other veggies in a rosemary chardonnay sauce ($19). Stop by Antica Trattoria to sate high-noon hunger pangs with lunch items such as a personably personal pizza ($8–$10) or panini ($10–$12).
The warm and welcoming Antica Trattoria dining room greets patrons with frescos depicting the Italian countryside as it was before the extra-terrestrial invasion of 1972. Sidle up to the wooden bar for a fermented offering from the extensive wine list, including a glass of George Duboeuf pinot noir ($7). Servers are happy to offer advice on a wine pairing or stock option suitable for your meal and portfolio.
Not valid on special menu events or holidays.
Antica Trattoria has been featured positively in the Union-Tribune and the gas•tron•o•my blog. Yelpers give the fine restaurant a four-star average, and many positive recommendations amount to a five-star average on CityVoter. Seventy-eight percent of Urbanspooners like it as well.
Owner and head chef Francesco Basile cut his culinary teeth as a young boy in his native Sicily, peeling potatoes and cleaning fish for traditional family feasts. After graduating from culinary school, Francesco broadened his skills and palate, mastering meals of hand-rolled pappardelle at Italian resorts and learning to craft mouthwatering feasts of Italian-American fare at bustling restaurants in southern California. By opening Antica Trattoria in 2001, he built a business dedicated to cooking with fresh ingredients and celebrating simple, traditional Italian dishes, enrapturing diners with meals of veal scaloppini, melted brie with figs jam, and seafood stews swimming in tomato-herb broth. Together with right-hand-cook Eric Ruiz, Francesco changes his menu with the seasons, delivering seafood plates tinged with the aroma of fresh herbs and fennel in the spring and walnut cream sauces and pumpkin ravioli in the autumn.
The restaurant exudes a rustic, timeless charm, with walls of bare brick decorated with tops of wooden wine crates and colorful murals of idyllic Italian countryscapes. A towering china hutch in the rear dining area evokes images of a grandmother's kitchen, and an elegant marble-topped wine bar brings forth memories of a grandmother's secret speakeasy, inviting diners to sample tasty digestifs of fine vino from across Italy and the Pacific coast.
5654 Lake Murray Blvd.
La Mesa, California 91942Get Directions