San Diego, CA

Salvatore's Cucina - New Italian Restaurant and Lounge in Downtown San Diego

Dinh Lee

Salvatore's Cucina and Lounge opened about a month ago in Downtown San Diego, a little bit tucked away from the main area but definitely still a very vibrant neighborhood. The interior of Salvatore's is absolutely beautiful and all the decor really adds to the ambiance and luxury feel of the space. On weekends, they also open their speakeasy with a lovely extra dining space and bottle service, perfect for a fun night out.

To say that I was impressed would be an understatement. From the service to the venue itself to the food and drinks (of course), I was absolutely blown away and it was just such a great experience so I'm super excited to talk about it! One thing I will say before we really get into it, definitely come here for the drinks, they are amazing!

First and foremost, I want to talk about one of my favorite dishes of the night, their baja shrimp pasta. It is made with fusilli pasta, squash and blossom, parmesan reggiano, and breadcrumbs. I know this sounds pretty simple, but everything in this dish just kind of worked and the flavors were so well-balanced with one another. It was just delightful to eat and the pasta itself was perfectly cooked, the last thing you want in a plate of pasta is soggy or hard pasta, but this was cooked to perfection.

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Fusilli Pasta@sanfoodiego/Instagram

Next up, another one of my favorite dishes, and you have to get this one, it is their roasted corn appetizer. Wait, hear me out. It's not just any corn but truffle corn with chives and ricotta for extra flavor. The truffle flavor definitely comes through and you really can't say no to truffle. Again, this is such a simple dish but it just works and it is so addicting, you won't regret it, trust me and just order it.

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Truffle Corn@sanfoodiego/Instagram

Next, we ordered their summer truffle pizza which is made with fontina, tallegio, marjoram, and truffle oil. As I mentioned before, I will never say no to truffle if I see it on the menu. But I was honestly not blown away by this dish. It was a bit too salty for my liking and the truffle flavor didn't come through nearly as much as the corn dish. Overall, still a decent pizza, I felt like the dough and the crust was really well-made, but the toppings just didn't do it for me.

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Truffle Pizza@sanfoodiego/Instagram

We also tried their 8oz filet mignon served with a lovely sweet potato puree. This dish was honestly great, the filet mignon was cooked perfectly to our liking (we ordered medium rare). And the sweet potato puree really complemented the strong savory and umami flavor of the steak. I have to say though, I wasn't blown away, but it is a solid steak regardless if you're looking for a steak entree. They also have ribeye and a New York strip as other steak options with completely different flavorful profiles.

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Filet Mignon@sanfoodiego/Instagram

Last but not least, we order their duck entree. The duck was very tender and cooked perfectly. However, it was just too salty for me. I'm not sure if this is a normal occurrence or if I just got unlucky with this one, but it was not very enjoyable for me which was disappointing because I love duck and I've had really great duck dishes in similar restaurants before.

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Duck@sanfoodiego/Instagram

Other than the food, of course I have to talk about their drinks! All their drinks are named after areas/neighborhoods in San Diego which is super cute. I personally ordered the Golden Hill, Barrio Logan, University Heights, and East Village. They were all really good and I enjoyed all of them, but my favorite hands down has to be the Golden Hill. It has a lovely smokey flavor and is presented in those smoke box things (you know the one). The pineapple and prickly pear flavor comes through really well and complements each other perfectly. The only drink I maybe wouldn't recommend personally would be the Meridian (which happens to be the most expensive drink on the menu). This is under their cocktails section, but it definitely tasted like a straight shot or two or whiskey. If you're into that, by all means, but for us, it was a tad strong and we definitely felt the burn with this one. But it did come with a tasty chocolate ball, and we ended up finishing the drink anyway.

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Front: Golden Hill Cocktail, Back: Barrio Logan Cocktail@sanfoodiego/Instagram

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East Village Cocktail@sanfoodiego/Instagram

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University Heights Cocktail@sanfoodiego/Instagram

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Meridian Cocktail@sanfoodiego/Instagram

If you're looking for a lovely, slightly more upscale lounge and restaurant for a night out, definitely check out Salvatore's Cucina and Lounge, they know how to do it right and they make killer drinks so you know you'll have a great time!

Follow me on Instagram @sanfoodiego for more food related content!

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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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