When it comes to feel-good comfort food, nothing compares to homemade Italian meals prepared from recipes passed down through generations. Now, hungry San Diegans don’t have to go far for a taste of the old country. Opened in May, AnniVenti La Trattoria offers “autentico cibo Italiano” — just like Mom used to make.
The restaurant and its dishes have deep ties to the owners’ heritage. Brothers Emanuele, Danilo and Francesco Gagliano grew up in a small town outside of Palermo, on the island of Sicily. They learned the business by working in their father’s eatery and moved to the U.S. in 2015, 2019 and 2022, respectively, with the hopes of sharing their family’s tradition. AnniVenti la Trattoria is named after their parent’s original restaurant.
“It’s been our lifelong dream to bring the authentic tastes of Italy to Lemon Grove, and we’re thrilled to share our passion for modern Italian cuisine with you,” says Emanuele is press release announcing the grand opening in San Diego.
The 5,000-sq.-ft. restaurant features a dining room that seats 120 guests, as well as an outdoor patio and private space for special events. The Liberty-style decor showcases soothing shades of pink and green with lush floral and greenery accents and gold fixtures and trim. In the center of the space is the kitchen. Large windows allow diners to watch their meals being prepared, while a long blond-wood bar with industrial-style metal stools is the perfect spot to sip a glass of vino while watching the game. A glass case displays gelatos and desserts made from recipes taken from their father’s restaurant.
AnniVenti la Trattoria’s menu is diverse and features a selection of pastas, pizzas and seafood dishes. Start your meal with a ball of breadcrumb-crusted burrata in pistachio pesto, a bowl of steamed clams and mussels, or a charcuterie board piled high with Italian cheeses, meats and berries.
Popular dishes include Spaghetti Vongole E Pistacchio, the classic pasta with clams in a white wine garlic sauce and a sweet and aromatic pistachio pesto; Paccheri E Scampi, a pasta salad with pepperoncino, shrimp and one whole prawn in a vodka cream sauce; Gnocchi Sorrentina, house-made gnocchi in tomato sauce with mozzarella; and Salmone di Bronti, pistachio-crusted salmon with Parmesan risotto.
The dozen gourmet pizza options at AnniVenti la Trattoria range from the traditional margherita and quattro formaggi to creative pies with black truffle and brie, zucchini and eggplant, and tuna and lemon sauce. And the lasagna is based on Gagliano’s grandmother’s recipe.
“We take pride in offering a diverse selection of dishes that cater to all palates,” says Emanuele. “At AnniVenti La Trattoria, we believe that great food should be accessible to everyone.”
For more information, hours and directions, visit anniventitrattoria.com.
Lemon Grove, CA 91945