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Vincenzo Ristorante Italiano

Paella Siciliana
Copyright©2007 sandiego.com, Inc.

What joy to be strolling through Little Italy on a sunny Saturday afternoon, rummaging through architectural salvage stores, when we discovered we had worked up an appetite. So we stopped at an intersection and breathed it all in. Which way to go and what to eat? Catching our eye from across the street, a quaint modest venue captured our attention. This was our introduction to Vincenzo Ristorante.

It was still a bit early for the lunch crowd, so we were the first guests to be seated and landed ourselves a perfect table by a large open window overlooking the street scene. In no time at all the restaurant blossomed to a full house. Suddenly it felt like Little Italy had turned into the real deal as the sights, sounds and aroma of Vincenzo filled our senses. The intimate room is basked in a glowing deep blue with large white wood framed windows surrounding you. The deep blue tones of the interior invoked a breezy coolness while the sunlight flooding the open windows created a soothing warmth. Very charming.

The pleasant engaging staff bopped about ready for the day to begin, serving soft scrumptious bread with olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. We knew this was going to be a memorable experience so we went for broke and had a delightfully smooth Farnese Sangiovese (one of our favorite varietal wines) to accompany our meal. Adding to the pleasure was the Minestra Del Giorno (or soup of the day) which was a soothing potato-leek soup that literally warmed the soul with its soft texture and subtle flavor. Additionally we relished their Dello Chef (their twist on the American Chef Salad with romaine, mortadella, salami, provolone cheese and Italian dressing) which did indeed enhance the usual dish with its mixture of distinct flavors.

Rigatoni Alla Puttanesca
Copyright©2007 sandiego.com, Inc.

For our main courses we had several categories to choose from, with offerings of Panini (sandwiches served with salad), Paste (pasta dishes), Pesce e Carni (fish or meat) and unique Risotti (risotto) entrees. Glancing through the menu we favored the Rigatoni Alla Puttanesca (spicy tomato sauce with garlic, olives, capers, chopped anchovies, and tomatoes) which was a delight with its authentic seasonings and the pasta was cooked to perfection. Not to be outdone we also sampled the Paella Siciliana (saffron risotto, sausage, clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, and chopped fish in a bouillon sauce). Okay, so just reading the succulent ingredients of the dish lets you know how amazing it’s going to be. The distinctive mixture of the shellfish with the sausage and saffron risotto created an unexpected marvelous blend of diverse textures and flavors, with a tiny hint of Spain.

If you happen to be dining on a fortunate night when their dinner specials include Gnocchi (with a robust meat sauce) or the Ocean Whitefish (with seasoned vegetables) be sure to give them a try. The Gnocchi was one of the best we have ever had (and that says a lot), the dumplings were so generously sized, soft, tender, light and accompanied with the flawlessly seasoned meat sauce, a sheer treasure. The Whitefish was equally admirable, cooked to perfection, moist, with a fall-off-the-fork flaky tenderness.

Our appetites satiated and with just enough of a lovely wine high, we were ready to hit the streets again to seek out further treasures (on foot of course, one must always drink responsibly). We said “arrivederchi” to Vincenzo’s and their truly inspiring and mouthwatering dishes with a promise to return again. We recommend you do the same. Enjoy!

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  • City: San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone: 619-702-6181
  • Name: Vincenzo Ristorante Italiano
  • Address: 1702 India Street