Back in southern California and The Hungry Dogg and I met some friends for dinner in San Diego, Davanti Enoteca in little Italy, a nice restaurant with a lovely back patio for dining al fresco.
We arrived with 45 minutes left on happy hour. I was thrilled! The items we were told are the same size as regular a la carte so it is a great time to try as many items as possible!
The first thing which caught my eye was Chicken Liver Pate ($4 happy hr/$7), something I’ve tried at several restaurants this year. This was very good and an ample portion at that.
Bread and Tonight’s Toppings — only available on the happy hour menu — ($5) was a bruschetta style appetizer topped with fava beans, tomatoes, ricotta and caramelized onions. There was tartness from the tomatoes and sweetness from the onions.
I love this next dish and after a not-so-good plateful in NYC, White Anchovies ($4 happy hr/$5) here were pretty spot-on. The fish were nicely acidic and didn’t have a fishy aroma at all. Served with celery, pecorino sardo and salty leccini olives, this is a dish I’ll order again!
One of the favorites of the evening was Cacio e Pepe ($7 happy hr/$11) perfectly al dente spaghetti tossed with pecorino and black pepper. So simple, so divine, so delicious we ordered another!
And who doesn’t like Prosciutto di Parma ($9)? These strips were thin and beautiful in color and flavor. Sooooooo good!
I knew we would be ordering Mascarpone Polenta ($13 small/$18 large) and ragu of the day since Austin loves anything polenta. Ragu of the day turned out to be braised short ribs and it was a rich, hearty topping for the creamy polenta.
After all that food, we decided to add some veggies to the mix. Shaved Brussels Sprouts ($7) with pecorino-parmesan vinaigrette was quite delicious. I thought they would be seared, but it was a salad, served raw. It was a refreshing change to the usual roasted variation served everywhere.
The most delicious item was Roasted Cauliflower ($7) topped with Sicilian green olive tapenade, piquillo pepper, crispy ceci (or garbanzo beans) and drizzled with a preserved lemon vinaigrette. A slab of cauliflower is roasted and then seasoned with the toppings listed.
The menu is reasonably priced but happy hour offers an even more affordable way to enjoy more of the tasty food. Definitely worth a visit!
1655 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Trina D. says
I tried them for brunch and it was also really good.
Ooh, good to know about their generous happy hour sizes!
Lucy Lin says
This sounds like a rip-off of Cucina Enoteca at the Irvine Spectrum — or Cucina ripped off Davanti. Do you know which came first and whether one inspired the other?
Mad Hungry Woman says
Cucina Enoteca’s sister restaurant Cucina Urbana in San Diego was open around 2009 and Davanti Enoteca was opened around 2010. If you’re meaning the ripoff in name, the word enoteca means ‘wine place’ and lots of places has ‘enoteca’ in its name. In terms of menu, the only similarity is the polenta board and chicken liver pate (which several other restaurants have as well including EnoSteak at the Ritz-Carlton and also, Break of Dawn’s first pop up dinner was the first place I’d ever seen it before). Hope that helps 🙂