Savor San Diego's Little Italy

Here's what to eat, where to shop, and what to do

Matthew Jaffe

You still see the great, lined faces of old men sipping espresso at cafes in San Diego's Little Italy ― guys overdressed for the weather who look like extras out of Cinema Paradiso.

But there's another crowd too, of professionals who walk to jobs from this neighborhood on the edge of downtown, and designers who leave their live-work lofts to lunch at Pete's Quality Meats or run along nearby San Diego Bay. Sometimes both, deadlines permitting.

Part Moonstruck, part Milano modern, Little Italy has emerged as one of the city's most intriguing neighborhoods.

It's both red-checked and high-tech ― a place where you can pick up fresh pappardelle at Assenti's Pasta, then shop for the latest in cookware at Disegno Italiano.

October and September are ideal times to experience its two sides: at the neighborhood's annual festa and at a gallery open house.

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