- $40 for $70 worth of upscale Italian dinner
- Click here to view the menu
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.