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Cesarina is a fresh look at Italian dining

The future of Italian dining is now, with the lively owners of the new Cesarina in the upper Voltaire neighborhood of Point Loma in San Diego.

Restaurateurs Niccolo Anguis, Giuseppe Scognamiglio and Giuseppe Capasso, all born and raised in Italy, are young, good looking and full of ambition.

They offer a lineup of daily fresh-made pasta, lots of seafood, healthy protein choices, a respectable vegan menu selection and a luscious pastry program created by Cesarina Mezzoni, the restaurant’s namesake.

Cesarina’s indoor-outdoor setting provides all-day and evening Italian-style dishes with a heritage that goes back to family recipes from the farmlands of Northern Italy. The menu has a build your own pasta feature that I found to be fun, imaginative and full of delicious ideas.

But before making your choices, I recommend that you spend a few minutes at the glass paneled Pastificio (Italian for pasta factory) where imported semolina flour and water are expertly transformed into fresh pasta! Over nine varieties are offered every day and made so every “Nonna” or “Mamma” would approve.

Giuseppe Capasso, one of the three owners of the dynamic Cesarina, a new take on Italian heritage dining, displays a dish of Gnocchi Pesto Genovese. Courtesy photo

The sauce choices are equally fun and delicious to choose from. Romantic names like Pomodoro Fresco, Pesto Alla Genovese and my favorite, the Rigatoni Bolognese.

First of all, their Bolognese is made with 100% grass fed beef, preferred by diners who care how food is prepared, fresh tomato sauce from Italy and root vegetables and herbs.

Rigatoni pasta is ribbed, enough to catch and hold the sauce providing a ribbon of that delicious mix between its ribs. Italian goodness has never been more satisfying.

I hope you noticed the rows of jars behind the photo of co-owner Niccolo Anguis. We showed three rows and actually they go direct to the ceiling with three more rows, and more jars than I wanted to count.

All contain preserved fruits, vegetables and spices, colorful and eye-catching to say the least.

What true Italian kitchen doesn’t have a few preserves for the right moment in a Neapolitan night at the table?

A word or two about the executive chef. Patrick Money is the center of a culinary program with a new flavor profile for traditional Italian food with sustainable and local ingredients for a create-your own pasta dish, as well as chef-driven specialties led by Lasagna alla Bolognese.

All wines are from Italy, New Zealand and beyond.

Cesarina Mezzoni, the pastry chef for Cesarina, the newest authentic Italian restaurant
in the San Diego area, applies a house technique to a “Dolce” favorite, the Tiramisu, a luscious pastry favorite.
Courtesy photo

By the glass, I recommend the Banfi Stilnovo, a Super Tuscan blend from the makers of Brunello. Another must-taste is the Bibbiano, a Chianti Classico also from Tuscany.

Both these wines are also offered by the bottle at the same reasonable price of $48.

To complete the dining experience, there are many homemade sweets offered on a serving cart and made at your table from the sweetest pastry chef you will ever meet, Cesarina herself.

We chose the Tiramisu’ with homemade ladyfingers, espresso, “Cream al Mascarpone” and powdered cocoa. Every dessert in their extensive menu is homemade in house.

The bar is set in white marble with green leather stools, where you can start the day with a cup of cappuccino and end it with an after-dinner dessert wine.

Other “eye-candy” décor includes imported Italian plate ware and a soft ostrich feather chandelier

For more on Cesarina, the all-day and evening Italian restaurant, visit cesarinarestaurant.com or call (619) 226-6222.

Wine Bytes
  • Parc Bistro-Brasserie, on 5th Avenue in San Diego, offers an exclusive five-course Banfi Winemaker Dinner, 6:30 p.m. May 14. Worldwide wine Ambassador Luciano Castiello is flying in from Italy to direct the Banfi presentation and a spectacular five-course dinner paired precisely with the wines. Price is $99. To RSVP, call (619) 795-1501 or visit parcbb.com.
  • The West End Bar & Kitchen in Del Mar is bringing in Caymus Vineyards of Napa Valley at 6 p.m. May 15, after selling out three other nights as fast as you can say Caymus. This will be the most popular wine dinner of the year! These are premier wines with a perfectly paired five-course dinner, including the legendary Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. Cost is $75 per person. So don’t hesitate, call now at (858) 259-5878.
  • Il Fornaio presents the food and wine of Sicily for its next Festa Regionale cuisine of Italy, May 6 through May 19. Food favorites in Sicily will be on the menu like bean soup, eggplant, spaghetti with lobster, Risotto with shrimp and crab, Italian seabass and sliced veal. The wine selections will feature several of the most popular wines on the island, Nero d’ Avola. The Del Mar phone for an RSVP is (858) 755-8876.

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