Antica Trattoria in La Mesa is one of San Diego’s best Italian restaurants. Tucked away in an unassuming strip mall, this place is a hidden gem that you need to visit for your next date night, family gathering or special occasion. Owner and Chef Francesco Basile grew up in a small village of the coast of Sicily and you can tell that everything on the menu is an extension of his love for where he was raised.
We have been here several times before since we live in La Mesa. Honestly, it’s one of the best restaurants we have in this area. Most of the time we find ourselves driving out of our neighborhood to try something new, but Antica Trattoria is one that keeps us coming back for more. Like many restaurants their menu rotates with the seasons, but some are consistent. If something I mention here is not available when you go to visit, don’t worry! I promise everything I’ve ever tried here is amazing. You really can’t go wrong.
We started our meal off with a few appetizers. Let’s discuss the Arancini first. This was my first time ever trying this dish and now I am in love! It’s a Classic Sicilian Risotto Ball stuffed with meat Ragú, Mascarpone, peas, and Parmigiano Fondue. Seriously heaven!
Then we had the Swordfish Carpaccio. Chef Francesco referred to it as the Sicilian ceviche. The flavors in this dish were phenomenal. It has crispy capers, arugula, Evoo, fresh lemon, cucumbers and mild chile threads. If you’re looking for a light appetizer with lots of flavor. This is it!
For our third appetizer (yes we had 3!), we tried the Filet Mignon Tartare. Let me preface this by saying, I understand that a lot of people are weirded out by eating raw steak. But I assure you, if it’s prepared properly you won’t even notice that it’s raw. Just try it! When I was younger I use to be a lot pickier about the foods that I ate. But thanks to my food blog I have been able to try so many wonderful dishes I may have missed out on. This beautiful tartare has avocado, capers, pickled purple onions, Evoo, Sangiovese foam, and is served with a side of Crostini. Perfection!
Now onto the main course. Jarod and I shared two different ones. If you’re ever on the fence about what to order, this is a great way to try a little bit of each. First we tried a new menu item. I honestly can’t remember what he said it was called. #fail But I do know that it had Cacio E Pepe with a Broccolini Pesto. The shaved almonds on top made for a nice little crunch to complement the soft pasta.
Lastly let’s talk about this Salmon. I saved the best for last here as this was my favorite dish out of all of them. It’s a pistachio crusted wild salmon served in a Prosecco orange sauce and spinach risotto. Let me tell you, this prosecco orange sauce was everything. I want to buy a jar of it so I can use it in my cooking at home. I love Salmon so it just paired perfectly with the whole dish. If you go here, do me a favor and order this dish.