Little Italy has become one of the hippest parts of San Diego. In July 2018, the latest hot spot opened, the Little Italy Food Hall. For my birthday lunch I asked my family to take me their for a visit.
The Little Italy Food Hall is basically an upscale food court. It was sponsored by the Grain & Grit Collective. Grain & Grit is a hospitality group behind San Diego mini-chains Carnitas Snack Shack and Broken Yolk.
For the Little Italy Food Hall, Grain & Grit has worked with popular TV cooking show host Sam the Cooking Guy to build the Not Not Tacos restaurant. However, this is only one of several locations at the Little Italy Food Hall.
The beauty of the Little Italy Food Hall is that everyone can pick from a different restaurant and sit together. That is exactly what we did. Overall, we managed to sample four of the six places at Little Italy Food Hall.
The restaurants (or as they call them stations) of Little Italy Food Hall include:
Not Not Tacos
I ended up eating here. My original plan was to eat at Roast meat. However, I saw the October special bratwurst taco at Not Not Tacos. Then Sam the Cooking Guy showed up in person. So I had to go for this place.
Not Not Tacos features crazy taco combinations. This include tacos like meatloaf, pastrami, curried egg salad and Korean short rib. My issue was that most of them had sour cream, something I despise. The bratwurst was right up my alley. I hope they make it more permanent. Tacos are $4 to 6 each. The tacos are on the small side, but this is a pricey area of town.
If you saw our review, Ambrogio15 in Pacific Beach is one of our favorite high-end pizza places. My daughter always begs to go here. It is an expensive treat so we save it for special occasions. I picked Little Italy Food Hall for my birthday because I knew my daughter would choose Ambrogio15.
The menu at Little Italy Food Hall is slimmed down from the Pacific Beach location. They do not have the focaccia sandwiches, but they do have the pizza. My daughter went for some custom pizza that had prosciutto and burra cheese. I think the total price was $18. A basic margherita pizza is $13.
Mein St Asian Kitchen
My oldest son tried Mein St Asian Kitchen. He got the Mein St ramen bowl for $12. I found out the people that operate this place also run the Zen Modern Asian restaurant near my house. I have never tried this place because the menu is heavy on peanuts. I have a serious peanut allergy. Mein St also has wings at 4 pieces for $8. Boba is available in several flavors at $4.50.
Wicked Maine Lobster
My wife and youngest son choose to order from Wicked Maine Lobster. My son got the fish and chips for $16. The wife got the crab roll which was also $16 and included fries. The lobster roll was $19 and you could also order 3 lobster tacos for $15. They both raved about the food and my sampling of the fries got a thumbs up. Wicked Maine Lobster also has a Coke Freestyle machine.
Single Fin Kitchen
Single Fin Kitchen is a sushi place which we have not tried yet. Reviews seem to be quite strong. The chef is Antonio Quindere, who actually hails from Brazil. He trained under celebrity chef/part-time movie actor Nobu Matsuhisa.
Roast Meat and Sandwich Shop
My original plan was to eat here. They have a location in Liberty Station which I have also never tried (the third, original location is in Victoria, Canada). The focus here is on sandwiches. This includes roast beef, prime rib, chicken and a porchetta sandwich with broccolini. Sandwiches are $10 to $15.
Meat is also available by the half pound or in bowls. Roast beef and porchetta are $13 while prime rib is $16 per half pound. A full rotisserie chicken is available for $13. I plan to try this place out next time.
There is also a full-service bar in the center of Little Italy Food Hall.
There are both indoor and outdoor tables. The outdoor tables are on a nice courtyard with a water fountain. We came as soon as it opened at 11 on a Sunday morning so it was not crowded. However, the crowds were growing. Surprisingly Sam the Cooking Guy was there in person. My kids did not know who he was but got a kick out of seeing the guy who was on all the merchandise.
We all liked our food a great deal. My son claims this is where he now wants to come for his birthday. Overall I would say that Little Italy Food Hall now cements the Little Italy area as the best place for trendy dining options that are actually good.
Next time I go back I may try the $10 weekday specials being offered.