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Welcome to

Little Italy

Where top chefs and local brewers have set up shop

Photo By Paul Body

Food, Festivals and Farmers Markets

Once home to San Diego's flourishing tuna fishing industry and generations of Italian families who made their living on the sea, Little Italy is now a lively neighborhood filled with patio cafés, packed restaurants, craft brew stops, urban wineries, art galleries, sophisticated shops, boutique hotels and the beautiful Amici Park. 

Today, San Diego's most dynamic food and drink scene is centered in Little Italy. It's a place where the past meets the present, where Top Chef alums have set up shop next to old-school eateries that remain treasured landmarks. 

 A slew of luminary chefs have gravitated to Kettner Boulevard, giving it the moniker of “Top Chef Alley" with distinctive eateries including Born & Raised, Juniper & Ivy, The Crack Shack, Herb & Wood and Kettner Exchange. India Street is lined with restaurants featuring cuisines of both Southern and Northern Italy, including the classic Filippi's Pizza Grotto, featuring an old-fashioned Italian dining experience along with a delicatessen and market, which offers everything from prosciutto to mascarpone. 

Since 1934, the Waterfront Bar & Grill has been a favorite local watering hole serving locally brewed ales and burgers. And the British-owned and -operated Princess Pub and Grille serves British and Irish beers, along with traditional pub fare such as fish and chips for patrons watching soccer and rugby via satellite TV.

Craft Beer is also in the spotlight here with establishments such as Ballast Point and BottleCraft Beer Shop & Tasting Room.

The central gathering point in Little Italy is a European-style piazza known at Piazza della Famiglia. The 10,000-square-foot plaza connects India and Columbia streets and featured a dramatic tiled fountain. Enjoy an afternoon stroll across the cobblestone street while relaxing before dinner. The piazza, in the “heart” of Little Italy. is dedicated to the past, present, and future families of the Little Italy neighborhood.

Just steps from the plaza, savor the flavors of Italy in the Little Italy Food Hall. This new social dining concept offers six locally-driven food stations, a mobile outdoor chef's area featuring demonstrations, and a full bar with local beers and craft cocktails.

No Little Italy would be complete without a true Italian market and Mona Lisa Italian Foods deli fits the bill. The deli offers a selection of foods, wine and delicious deli sandwiches. Little Italy also features some great local boutiques including The Shopaholics Boutique, Rosa Mariposa, Vocabulary Boutique and Melero Boutique & Gallery where you can find unique clothing, jewelry and small craft items, and the Kettner Art & Design District which encompasses a group of retail shops and art galleries. The French Garden Shoppe and Architectural Salvage are both worth a visit for home goods and unusual finds.  And each Saturday from 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM, several blocks of Little Italy are shut down for the weekly Little Italy Mercato—a dynamic farmers market where locals shop for fresh produce along with gourmet goods, flowers, crafts and ready made foods.

Little Italy San Diego is also known for several fun festivals including Little Italy Festa! each fall and the Mission Federal Art Walk each Spring.  

 

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Getting to Little Italy

The aroma of fresh baked bread and Italian seasonings should be enough to get you close to Little Italy. But on a more practical sense, Little Italy is nestled between the downtown core and San Diego's glistening waterfront. If you're arriving from the North, exit on Front Street, and immediately turn right on Cedar. Welcome to the neighborhood! From the airport, take Harbor Drive to Grape Street (turn left) - you're in the center of Italian cuisine bliss. You could walk from downtown, or grab a pedi-cab for a romantic ride to your favorite Italian spot, but however you get there, save room for cannolis. Mangia!

 

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Walk to the Waterfront

Little Italy is just a short walk from San Diego's big bay and the activities along the embarcadero. 

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Ciao! Little Italy

Little Italy is a place where the past meets the present, where Top Chef alums have set up shop and old-school eateries remain as treasured landmarks.

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San Diego Farmers Markets

Don't miss Saturday mornings at the Little Italy Mercato farmer's market. 

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Marine Band San Diego Summer Concert

Aug 3, 2019

The Little Italy Association of San Diego are proud to present the Marine Band San Diego Summer Concert to be held in the new Piazza della Famiglia (W. Date Street between India & Columbia Streets).

Come out for an evening of amazing live music by the 45-piece Marine Band San Diego, as well as their popular music group, "Sound Strike," and New Orleans-style brass band, "Double Time Brass Band." These talented Marines will get you pumped with several numbers that will be sure to keep you swaying – ooh-rah!

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Ferragosto 2019: Pirates Invade Sicily

Aug 17, 2019

San Diego’s Little Italy brings you “Pirates Invade Sicily”– a blockbuster, fun-filled wild, wild romp—our biggest neighborhood bash yet—and the last!

A Pirate’s bounty of food, wine, beer, cocktails and—yes, there will be RUM awaiting you as you set sail.

 

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Labor Day Stickball Tournament

Aug 31 - Sep 1, 2019

Don't miss the annual Labor Day Stickball Tournament, a 2-day event that will be held on Labor Day weekend! There will be 8-12 participating teams competing for San Diego's most significant prize: the Jillie Trophy. 

Each year, the neighborhood erupts with shouts and cheers for the stickball teams, stirring up fun childhood memories for some. This year, San Diego Stickball leagues welcome New York and Puerto Rico to join in on the West Coast Invitational. 

Join us in honoring and celebrating this long-standing tradition, loved from coast to coast. 

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Cloak's Table

Jun 26, 2019

Cloak's Table is an intimate, unforgettable ten-course dining experience that provides an exclusive look at new and seasonal off-menu dishes with our Chef and limited edition Japanese Whiskey tastings with our Bar Manager adding an element of surprise and creativity throughout the entire evening.

The infamous King & Queen Table (seats 18) and can be booked as one large party or can be made up of smaller reservations.

Details:
Courses: 10
Cost $150 per guest (includes Tax & Gratuity)
Seats Available: 18

To confirm your reservation email events@cloakandpetal.com. Tickets are inclusive of tax & gratuity and all sales are final.

 

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Walk to the Waterfront

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Ciao! Little Italy

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San Diego Farmers Markets

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What's On

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Marine Band San Diego Summer Concert

Aug 3, 2019
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Ferragosto 2019: Pirates Invade Sicily

Aug 17, 2019
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Labor Day Stickball Tournament

Aug 31 - Sep 1, 2019
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Cloak's Table

Jun 26, 2019
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Little Italy on Instagram

 

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