San Diego, CA

Operacaffe - Award-Winning Italian Restaurant in Downtown, San Diego

Dinh Lee

Operacaffe is located in the Historic Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown, San Diego. They serve authentic and award-winning Italian cuisine that gives you the experience of dining in Italy, from the menu and the ingredients to the dining experience and restaurant ambiance.

Operacaffe is hands-down most known for their fried burrata. For those unfamiliar with what burrata is, burrata is a type of cheese that is a combination of mozzarella and cream and burrata itself has become quite trendy and can be found served at many Italian restaurants. The casing of burrata is made of mozzarella, which gives it this perfect sphere shape that is smooth and silky, and the inside is pretty much made of completely cream. However, that is what you will mainly find in burrata that is produced locally, while burrata from Italy offers a lot more of the mozzarella and offers a much stretchier and silkier texture on the inside. As you can see in the photo, the burrata from Operacaffe "pulls" which means it stretches demonstrating that it is not just cream, like the burrata produced locally. This is where ingredients really matter and burrata from Italy is ten times better than most of the burrata you can find in stores or other restaurants. However, there are several other authentic Italian restaurants that also import their burrata from Italy, namely Allegro and Ambrio15.

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Their fried burrata dish is absolutely perfect for all the cheese lovers out there, like me, and the marinara sauce that comes with it adds a bit more flavor to the dish. This was honestly a great appetizer and I found myself continuously going back for more, we definitely cleaned that plate! I have seen burrata served at many places these days as it has become quite trendy, however, this is the only restaurant I've seen serve fried burrata and it is definitely worth a try.

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For our main course, we had their ravioli aragosta which is a homemade ravioli that is stuffed with ricotta cheese and spinach in a light pink sauce with artichokes and lobster meat. This was absolutely delicious and the ravioli pasta was cooked perfectly with the perfect texture. I also thought that the sauce was very flavorful and went well with the ravioli without being too overpowering. The ravioli was very tender and the filling was very pleasant. Overall, it was a great ravioli dish and the ravioli itself is very pretty, however, I would say it is slightly overpriced and you can't really taste the lobster, but in general, it is a very tasty dish.

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We also tried their la tagliata which is their filet mignon which is served with arugula, polenta, tomatoes, and gorgonzola sauce. We wanted to go ahead and try their steak out, but unfortunately, we were quite disappointed with this dish and I can't recommend you go here for their steak. We ordered a medium-rare but it definitely came out to more of a medium-well and it came pre-cut which is nice of them but not preferred, in my opinion. Pre-cut would be fine if it was cooked to medium-rare and juicy, but it was actually rather dry, but it was not too chewy, I guess it just wasn't what I expected from their steak. The gorgonzola sauce was absolutely delicious though and it definitely helped save the steak a little bit.

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Last but not least, it is time for dessert! We ordered their crema bruciata, which you might know it better as creme brulee, and their pistachio semifreddo. I have to say, the creme brulee was definitely disappointing and I would not recommend it. But their pistachio semifreddo, which is a frozen dessert, was amazing! I enjoyed every single bite of it and at this point, I was already very full. It was so soft and the flavors were just perfect. If you love pistachio gelato or ice cream, this is definitely the dessert for you and it is just the perfect dessert because it is not too sweet or heavy and it is easy to eat. I highly recommend trying this one!

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Overall, I feel like this place has a lot of offer and you really can't go wrong with any of their pastas and probably their pizzas, although I can't speak from experience on that one. They also offer a lot more desserts that all sound delicious so I definitely recommend trying those out too!

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Join me on my quest to eat at all the best restaurants in town and around the world! Follow me on Instagram @sanfoodiego for more food recs.

San Diego, CA
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