Opened in 1995, this is the perfect choice if you’re in the mood to savor great Italian fare in a more rustic, country farm house atmosphere. Located adjacent to the casual Café Zucchero, Trattoria Fantastica offers a more refined dining experience. Wood-fired pizzas are the centerpiece of the menu, but plenty of salads and pastas are offered, as well as paninis, soups and more. Directly in the shadow of the Little Italy sign, the patio seating is especially popular. Trattoria Fantastica 1735 India St, San Diego, CA 92101; (619) 234-1735, www.trattoriafantastica.com
©San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond, By Maria Desiderata Montana
As ethnic neighborhoods in other cities assimilate to American life, the exuberant local flavor of San Diego’s Little Italy remains both culturally and culinarily distinct. Tucked between Interstate 5 and San Diego Bay southeast of San Diego International Airport, the blocks surrounding the landmark Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church contain many of the most notable eateries and gourmet cafés in “America’s Finest City.” Join Maria Desiderata Montana, a daughter of that Italian heritage and one of the city’s most notable food writers, on this savory tour through the zesty Italian food traditions, businesses and recipes both in Little Italy and across San Diego.