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Busalacchi's on Fifth

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With new restaurants coming and going every fifteen minutes these days, you tend to forget about those “tried and true” places that are San Diego institutions. After driving past Busalacchi’s on Fifth for probably the 2,000th time, the memory of their fabulous Italian cuisine sparked a craving, and Busalacchi’s it was. Our dinner plans were with one of San Diego’s most charming and fun restaurateurs and she heartily agreed.

The restaurant itself is an old house on Fifth Avenue, just a touch south of the heart of Hillcrest. The inside of the place is romantically dark and warm. Rich wood, fireplace, exposed brick and walls of photo’s featuring well known celebs surround you. Couple that with tantalizing aroma of authentic Italian food, and BINGO! We chose to sit on the glass enclosed patio to enjoy the meanderings of the neighborhood while we relished our meal.

Lisa Busalacchi is an incredibly charming hostess, and we thoroughly enjoyed having her join us for a little chat. The Busalacchi family are themselves a San Diego institution with 7 great restaurants and two adorable new grandbabies who we hope will carry on the tradition. Lisa recommended we begin with Busalacchi’s Antipasto di Mare for Two, and the suggestion couldn’t have been more dead on.

First off, if this starter is for two, we’d like to know how many couples have been able to even put a dent in it. The platter arrived piled high with luscious shrimp, mussels, clams, deep fried Calamari, Italian meats, caprese salad, and a stunning array of roasted vegetables. With us being devoted carnivores and our guest being a vegetarian, the Antipasto was a perfect mix and we took half of it home for future gnoshing.

Our favorite dishes at this charming establishment have long been the Pollo Piccata and the Pollo Marsala. Our very attentive waiter Dillon shared the chef’s specials and we simply couldn’t resist the Lobster and Shrimp over Angel Hair Pasta with garlic, olive oil and fresh tomatoes. The dish was overflowing with crustaceans and the portion of pasta was impossible to finish. We still love our old favorites, but this certainly did not disappoint.

Pasta & Pollo
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The Spaghetti Ragu combined a sweet yet savory red sauce with three mammoth meatballs in all their crowning glory. This is a killer offering for adults and kids alike. The Eggplant Parmesan is another gargantuan serving of fresh eggplant and a marinara sauce that pleases the palate. Believe it or not, we also sampled the Filet Mignon with its’ lovely dark mushroom sauce and abundant helping of perfectly cooked veggies. Needless to say, the bag of leftovers we lugged out looked like we just cleaned out Nordstrom.

All of us being brave and “never say die” food soldiers, we knew that the Chocolate Mousse Cake deserved at least a go at our over stimulated taste buds. It certainly made for a delightful ending to a tantalizing meal. Three hours after our arrival at Busalacchi's, we rolled back to our vehicles with revived memories of a wonderful place. Thanks Lisa!

The Good: Everything

The bad: 5 days of cardio and we’re still not back to our fighting weight!

Details »
  • City: san diego
  • Phone: 619-298-0119
  • Name: Busalacchi's on Fifth
  • Address: 3683 5th Avenue