Archestratus, the first food critic, praised Italian cuisine's "top-quality and seasonal" ingredients and "fair to middling" ability to tranquilize out-of-control mayors. Today's Groupon similarly stuns, and rightfully so. For $20, you get $45 worth of Tuscan cuisine at Operacaffe, located in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. Authentic flavors stem from authentic Tuscan hands while savory, homemade recipes compete for the celebrated honor of Tusca.
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. The hand-picked wines rest firmly on solid wooden tables, setting the foundation for an intimate dining experience. Brick walls frame the surrounding views of green nature and incoming sunlight that punctuate any romantic gathering or refined outing with a rustic flourish.
Fresh ingredients operate 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 of penne alla Kika with shrimp, manila clams, and white wine in a light and spicy cream sauce ($15.95–$19.95) and Corona D'Agnello, a grilled lamb chop with spinach, mashed potatoes, and mint ($15.95–$23.95).
Light biters can feast on a symphony of delicious 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.
- Bernardino [sic] and Branchi cook a bill of fare so authentically Italian it may baffle locals who automatically order fettuccine Bolognese and a glass of Chianti without consulting the menu…Since nobody in town serves anything like this (why not?), a meal at Operacaffe is virtually mandatory for those eager to experience a plate-scraping marriage of sublime flavors and textures. – David Nelso, San Diego
The San Diego Reader says Operacaffe dishes up something special:
- Their new restaurant offers authentic dishes that you’re unlikely to find elsewhere locally, in an atmosphere that’s welcoming and far from conventioneerish. “This one is just for San Diegans — no tourists!” [Owner Roberto Bernardoni] rejoiced to a reporter soon after opening. – Naomi Wise, San Diego Reader
Yelpers give Operacaffe 3.5 stars.
835 4th Ave.
San Diego, California 92101Get Directions