Bottega Americano, an Italian restaurant and marketplace, recently opened in San Diego’s East Village.
I had been eagerly anticipating this opening, especially after seeing some pretty amazing preview photos of the interior. I was a little confused about the restaurant concept at first. The descriptions made me think of Eataly in New York City, a gourmet Italian marketplace that also houses several individual restaurants. This is not quite what Bottega is like.
Bottega is one restaurant, with several separate kitchen areas. The dining area includes long communal tables, tables for small groups, as well as seats around the bars of each kitchen station. They also have a small market area with prepared foods.
The interior design is modern and elegant, with marble counter-tops installed at each bar area. It’s definitely one of my favorite in terms of decor.
We were seated at the bar in front of the Salumeria station. It was a lot of fun watching the cured meats be sliced, the cheese plates prepped, and the display of colorful pickled vegetables. Next to us was the wood fired oven pizza station. And in the distance, I could just make out the colorful, fresh-made pasta hanging from the pasta and cold seafood bar area.
The menu had an overwhelming amount of choices that all sounded delicious.
Dinner service starts with a duo of fresh baked breads, made in-house. They were accompanied with oil and vinegar.
Fennel sausage / cauliflower panna / goat cheese / mozzarella / roasted tomatoes / kale
We started off with this wood fired oven pizza which we really enjoyed. I had been apprehensive about the goat cheese, but the freshly grated lemon zest cut into the goat cheese and kept it from overpowering. The fennel sausage was spread with a light touch as to not make the pizza too salty. The crust was crisp and chewy. We were very impressed and can’t wait to make our way through the rest of the pizza options on future visits.
While we waited for our next course, the chefs working the Salumeria station offered us a sample of the duck prosciutto. It was like they had read my mind because I had wanted to do a meat and cheese plate with the duck prosciutto but we opted not to because there were so many other items we wanted to order. The duck prosciutto was rich ,with an extremely concentrated duck flavor. I really enjoyed it and next time I’ll make sure we do a meat and cheese plate.
Garganelli / spicy lobster broth / jumbo shrimp / sweet garlic / mint
This was one we didn’t quite enjoy as much. We appreciated the fresh rolled pasta but found the sauce had a salty finish. I didn’t particularly care for the mint either. We felt the dish really needed an acid to balance it out. Our server had recommended the potato gnocchi and paccheri, so we’ll try one of those next time.
Wild mushrooms / truffle / thyme
A simple side of sauteed mushrooms. We were impressed with the generous serving for a side dish.
Scallops / lemon risotto / shaved fennel salad / english peas / reggiano
The seared scallops were plump and tender. The risotto was quite rich, but balanced with the lemon and shaved fennel.
The restaurant also offers desserts, but we were too full to continue. Also service had been a little slow throughout, with long lulls between dishes, ordering and even seeing the dessert menu, so I was a little anxious to leave.
Overall, we had a good first impression here. We enjoyed the food and the ambiance. The service was a little slow, but it may be one of those kinks they are still working out since it just opened. We definitely will be back and we’re happy for this new Italian addition to San Diego.
You can view the full dinner menu here. They also serve a limited lunch menu and I believe they also offer coffee and pastries in the morning at the marketplace section.
1195 Island Ave.
San Diego, CA 92101