Planning a trip to Little Italy in San Diego? If so, you’ve come to the right place! As a cheap downtown hotel, we understand that not all travelers have an unlimited budget. This is why we’ve created a guide for affordable dining in Little Italy. As a pair, enjoy authentic Italian pastries, pastas and prosecco for breakfast, lunch and dinner, all for $100.
For breakfast, head to Café Zucchero. While there are plenty of places to pick up small pastries along the streets of Little Italy, Café Zucchero offers delicious baked goods and has a morning menu that will provide a little more substance.
Breakfast is served Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 11:30am and Saturday and Sunday from 7:30am to noon, perfect for early risers who are ready to explore the Little Italy district. Their most affordable menu items are their morning paninis, with the most expensive being their bagel and lox at $7.95. They also have a variety of egg based dishes, as well as pancakes, French toast, oatmeal, benedicts and more. The most expensive item on their menu is 12.95, so even with coffees, couples that make sensible breakfast choices can escape spending just around $20.
We can’t emphasize enough that the options for food in Little Italy are endless! So after a hearty breakfast, grab a few slices of pizza and a soda from almost any restaurant in the area for about $15 for two. However, if you’re ready to go all out and you really are up to wine and dine your way through Little Italy, check out Napizza.
The restaurant prides itself on sustainability and offers healthy and organic pizzas made from handmade dough that is prepared fresh daily. They offer classic slices in the price range of $3 to $5.75 and include favorites such as chicken pesto with homemade basil pesto, a parmigiana with eggplant, and a truffle porcini with decadent truffles and fresh mozzarella. You can also order soups and make your own salads.
That being said, you’ll get the most value when selecting from Napizza’s “Happy Belly Combos” menu. For $10 enjoy a slice of pizza, soup or salad and a fountain drink. Substitute pizza for a focaccia panini for just $12. And last but not least for $13 you can enjoy 2 slices of pizza and a draft beer, or 1 slice of pizza, a soup or salad, and a house red or white wine. Say you pick the most expensive combo — with tax and tip, you’re a little over $30.
While the total amount of money spent on dining for the day will depend on what you decided to eat, we’re going to say you’re left with about $50 of your $100. Since we’ve already touched on pastries and pizza, we had to end dinner with a pasta meal at Bencotto. This modern and chic Italian restaurant offers a variety of authentic Italian dishes and has a “pasta your way” section where you are given 7 options for pasta type (all freshly made in house) starting at a base price of $14. You can pick your sauce with options including traditional meat, spicy sausage tomato, creamy cheese, walnut and gorgonzola, and the list goes on. Stick with the basics and you’re at $30 per person or you can choose to add chicken or meatballs for an extra $5 per entrée. Budget foodies should also consider sharing a pasta plate and a bocconi which literally translates to “plates to share” for about the same price.
From this $30 base, add two glasses of sparking, red or white wine, or a beer for about $20 and you’ve hit the $50 ceiling. With tax and tip you might go over your budget a bit, but we can guarantee you’re pretty darn close. And if you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, Bencotto also offers tiramisu, cannolis, crème caramels and a pannacotta which add another $10 to your bill, but don’t worry, we won’t tell.
Book your Budget Friendly Trip to Little Italy
Little Italy is one of the best downtown neighborhoods to visit because it offers a great amount of flexibility when it comes to cost for dining. If you are looking for an affordable hotel in the area, click here for information about the Pacific Inn hotel near Little Italy. We are located just a few steps from the historic district and are also within close proximity to the marina and Gaslamp Quarter.