Little Italy offers wonderful cuisine in San Diego

By Steve Scauzillo, Staff Writer

It’s on India Street but the letters on the gateway spell out: Little Italy.

The two-block strip — less than a mile or a 15-minute walk from most hotels on Harbor Drive — may have the most linguine per capita than any area in the United States. Diners sit on sidewalk tables drinking wine, sampling cheeses and putting fork to spoon to spin up tasty pasta.SANDIEGO 1

Don’t try to get a table at Bencotto, the fine new Northern Italian eatery, without a reservation. Expect a two-hour wait on weekends. But the newest Italian restaurant in the area has a fine twin, Monello, owned by the same Northern Italian family.

The super nice maitre d’ put us at a bar table and promptly left a dish of lupini beans dredged in garlic and olive oil. Later, I munched on spaghetti carbonara.

I have never had a dessert as good as its torta della nonna with pine nuts. Not even from my own nonna. I guess that makes me a devilish little boy, the rough translation of Monello.

Get a dish of osso buco or just a glass of Chianti. Try the oysters at Ironside Fish & Oyster Bar, or the exquisite American cuisine at Kettner Exchange, known by locals as KEX. Want something traditional? Filippi’s Pizza Grotto will satisfy.

World War II hero Gunnery Sgt. John Basilone, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Battle of Guadalcanal, would be very happy. The plaza named in his honor rims the happening dining district just a quick walk from the Embarcadero.

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