San Diego is known for its sandy beaches and delightfully laidback environment, but the city is also home to a wide range of exceptional Italian food. Read on for some of our favorite offerings including artisan gelato, freshly made pasta, and carefully selected wines.

3878 Carlsbad Blvd., Carlsbad CA 92008 

Upon visiting the U.S. from Milano in the mid-1980s, Roberto Vigilucci fell in love with San Diego and decided to call it home. Long sensing a need for classic Italian cuisine in San Diego, Roberto opened his first restaurant, Vigilucci’s Trattoria, in 1994 in downtown Encinitas. The Trattoria was an instant success and quickly became one of San Diego’s most popular dining spots.

Now there are three restaurants – Vigilucci’s Cucina Italiana in the Carlsbad Village, Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steakhouse right on the 101 in Carlsbad and Vigilucci’s Trattoria Italiana in Encinitas.

One of our favorites of the three is Vigilucci’s Seafood and Steakhouse located directly across from the Pacific Ocean. Take in breathtaking views of the evening sunset while the chefs prepare the most exquisite menu options featuring certified prime steaks and the freshest seafood, all with a signature Italian flair. They also offer an award-winning wine list.

The Guido vegan pizza at Buona Forchetta

Buona Forcetta
250 North Coast Hwy, Encinitas, CA 92008

Buona Forchetta blends award winning Neapolitan-style pizzas and Northern Italian upscale entrees in a family-friendly, approachable atmosphere. The Encinitas location boasts a indoor seating as well as an outside patio and a small room for private events. Inside, a gilded oven churns out classic creations, while the main kitchen serves up chef-driven pastas and entrée dishes. And for any vegan folks, vegan pizza is hard to get right, but they have it figured out.

They just opened another North County location in San Marcos (their 5th location) that boasts beautiful indoor seating built for comfort with a luxurious touch, as well as a large, shaded patio.

Cucina Enoteca
2730 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, CA 92014 

Located in picturesque Del Mar, Cucina Enoteca combines flavors of Italy with organic ingredients. 

Exclusively open for dinner only, they have a very luxurious menu with abundant dishes to share. 

Their menu offers house-made pasta, pizza, crafted large plates, a suitable selection of antipasti, dolci, and a signature cheese and salumi. 

They also have a retail wine shop with a diverse and fun collection of 200+labels from around the world for all kinds of tastes. 

They offer groups and private reservations and gluten-free options. 

Il Fornaio
1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar, CA, 92014 

Very popular with the locals, Il Fornaio it is located in the heart of Del Mar. You can enjoy a gorgeous view of the ocean and magical sunset dinners. With delicious food, great service, and ambiance, they offer gluten free and vegan options and accommodations for food allergies. 

We recommend the linguine mare chiaro, calamaretti fritti, penne a la vodka with shrimp and margherita pizza for the kids. 

Spirito’s Italian Dinner
2508 El Camino Real, Carlsbad, CA 92010

If you are looking for something more casual or are looking to order in, Spirito’s is a great option for an authentic Italian meal at home.

They have had a loyal following in the local community for over 30 years and were featured on The Food Network’s show Diners, Drive In’s and Dives.

They proudly serve food made from scratch including meatballs, baked bread, and fry their own chicken and eggplant for parmigiana. You can also grab bottles of garlic dressing, tomato gravy and meat gravy for you to take home!

Maurizio Trattoria Italiana 
505 South Coast Highway, Encinitas, CA 92024

In the heart of Encinitas, opened in 2020, Maurizio’s offer a very classic and traditional Italian experience for locals and visitors.  

The restaurant has been 17 years in the making, and with a number of Italian staff members, they are delighted to maintain the authentic Italian dining experience.

Tagliatelle with Bolognese sauce and mushrooms and Lobster ravioli is highly recommended and don’t forget to enjoy one of their cocktails while you are waiting for your dish. 

Gelato Love

300 Carlsbad Village Drive, #104, Carlsbad, CA 92008

The owner Paola Richard’s previous experience owning, and operating Gaia Gelato in Carlsbad was the inspiration for GelatoLove. She saw a need in the food community for a healthier choice of high-quality artisan gelato made with only the best natural ingredients.

They blend the authentic art of homemade gelato-making with a growing passion for the finest quality dessert foods made with local, natural, and organic ingredients.

They offer a cutting-edge in food innovation and are proud to offer a delicious dessert that is also low in sugar. GelatoLove is the first company in the world that uses a revolutionary low-calorie sugar, found in fruits like kiwis, raisins and figs.
The name of this revolutionary low-calorie sugar is Allulose and it’s a completely natural product. Allulose is scientifically proven to improve sugar metabolism in your body.


595 Grand Avenue, CA 92008

Nestled on the corner of Grand and Roosevelt in the Carlsbad Village, this casual Italian restaurant offers a vast traditional menu that you can enjoy either in the indoor sitting area, outdoor pet-friendly area, or in the bar. 

They offer live music at their Cardiff location.

Mezzanelle con capesante e gamberi alla vodka, tomato suppe or pappardelle scallop & lobster tail and pollo tuscano are great dishes to try! 


If you have any additional places to recommend for Italian in North County San Diego, please drop them in the comments below!

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