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  • Salvatore's Cucina Italiana

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Salvatore's Cucina Italiana
Salvatore's Cucina Italiana

Salvatore's Cucina Italiana Details

  • Dining Style: Fine Dining
  • Website: http://salvatoresdowntown.com/index.html
  • Phone: (619) 544-1865
  • Hours of Operation:

    Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5:00pm-9:00pm
    Dinner: Fri-Sat 5:00pm-10:00pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Diners Club, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Executive Chef: Raffaella Morelli
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Beer, Full Bar, Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Entertainment: Jazz harpist Vicki McMaster performs on Saturday nights. Enchanting her play, is the harp, once belonging to Harpo Marx. He used the harp on his famous cameo appearance on the "I Love Lucy' show in the 1950's.
  • Special Events & Promotions: We are now offering Happy Hour, Monday-Friday, 5-7PM!

Getting there

  • Cross Street: G St.
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: On-site underground parking, free with validation.
A word from Salvatore's Cucina Italiana
Raffaella Morelli, born, raised and educated in Rome, Italy, has been Salvatore’s heart and soul, since its opening in late 1987. Passionate about her country of origin’s cuisine, she has painstakingly trained a staff, with whom together, she has made Salvatore’s one of the best dining spots in the City.

Deceivingly simple, Raffaella’s dishes, using the finest and freshest of ingredients, find a delicate balance, only achievable through her many years of loving labor in the kitchen, saying, “Each dish is much more than a combination of flavors. It is a reflection of Italy’s history, culture, and inherited memories.” Consequently, one experiences flavors, aromas and subtle textures, rarely found even in the best restaurants of Italy.

With a philosophy of “hospitality over pretention,” every guest is treated as if she or he were a loved family member at each and every step of their dining experience.

Benvenuto & Boun Appetito!
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerItalian
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSpecial Occasion
Diner Reviews
  • "I've been going to Salvatore's since it first opened and I am never disappointed. Food and service are both excellent! It is one of my favorite places to take out of town guests."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "From the moment we arrived Greeted warmly Incredibly accommodating Amazing menu, food and service The real deal"
    Dined on 7/18/2014
  • "We walked in and we're seated and immediately given a complementary glass of Persecco for no reason at all. Our server Josh was very helpful and funny. Our water was refilled immediately when running low and bread basket refilled when empty. Best Alfredo sauce I've ever had. The owner thanked us for coming on the way out. Great restaurant."
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "My wife and I have never had a bad experience here the owner and staff makes you feel welcome."
    Dined on 7/14/2014
  • "A friend recommended Salvatore's and after living in Downtown for 3 years I though it was so strange to not have heard of this place before. It was our surprise to learn that this restaurant has been in the same location since 1987! From the moment the host, David, welcomed us to the moment we left Salvatore's it was truly an extraordinary experience. The restaurant was quiet, so my husband and I were able to enjoy a conversation. Their dishes were so fresh and probably some of the best we have ever had and the wine we were recommended was a delight. To make matters even better, our server, Tony, was so knowledgeable of the Chef's dishes, the wine list and gave us one of the best services we've had in many years."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "Food (especially the veal) excellent. On the expensive side but worth it. Wine and drinks over priced and corkage over the top for San Diego. Service can be spotty depending upon how crowded. One of few restaurants where you can actually carry on a conversation while eating."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "We went to Salvatore's for our 25th wedding anniversary. We could not have selected a better place for our celebration. From greeting to goodbye our expectations were exceeded. Our waiter was warm and delivered information in a caring manner. The food was wonderful. The recommended wine was perfectly compatible with the food. The room decor was charming and intimate. I cannot say enough about the very talented harpist who not only played the harp but accompanied herself on the piano with tunes from the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and many other modern musical groups. We will return to Salvatore's soon. They make the evening special!"
    Dined on 6/14/2014
  • "Salvatore's is the best Italian place in San Diego. Which is odd, because it is not in Little Italy. The price matches the quality of the food, so keep that in mind. It is not an every night kind of place, because you'd go broke. Having said that, every dish we have tried (been there twice) has been absolutely amazing. Staff greets you warmly and tends to your table like they are old friends. Genuinely glad to see you when you walk in. I rank them with some of the great famous Italian places from around the country. Not one complaint. They even brought us complimentary dessert on our anniversary!"
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Salvatore's is among the finest Italian dining experiences available in Southern California. Incredible food, superb service, and an ambiance that is pure romance."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "We had a great anniversary celebration! We were provided with two free champaignes to commemorate our anniversary. The host (owner?) knew us by name as soon as we walked in. Our server John was fantastic, made some nice recommendations and was very warm. Even got a complimentary dessert to further add on to our celebration. Great meal and night!"
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "we were greeted by david and offered a free glass of prosecco. the servers were attentive, the food was yummy. i had the spicy crab pasta and my friend had the fettucine. both were delicious, tho i'd probably recommend hers over mine"
    Dined on 5/19/2014
  • "Food was excellent. Many fascinating menu options. The staff goes above and beyond to make the experience special and memorable. "
    Dined on 5/12/2014
  • "Went out looking for a romantic spot for our anniversary and found this on yelp. Great service, mediocre wine list, and descent food. The price level for the drinks and food is ridiculous though. I won't bash the place but the experience was not worth the amount spent. There are better restaurants out there for less. "
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • "We are not strangers to fine Italian food. The pasta did not taste fresh. My wife sent back the rigatoni saying it tasted like it came from a box. The chopped Caesar was nothing special and $15 for a house drink is ridiculous. My wife had the veal which was good, and I had the scampi which was very uninspired. We gave our leftovers to a homeless man."
    Dined on 4/27/2014
  • "The food was delicious. Atmosphere is charming with Harp player in the background. Old European charm: all white chairs, tables, old European style. Manager is a charming Italian individual who makes you feel at home. I highly recommend this gem in fine dining :-)"
    Dined on 4/26/2014
  • "Nothing like Rome in San Diego. You can taste the authenticity in every bite. Robust flavors that send your taste buds for a ride. Btw - the pianist had some great vocals!! Nice touch and a very pleasurable evening. "
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "Ambience and service were both pleasant and energetic. The meals were uniformly well prepared and tasty. Free downstairs parking in the GasLamp is a real bonus. My criticisms are are two. The wine list was short on both low and medium priced wines. Finally, I do not want to put anyone out of work, but the piano should be quieted after dinner time commences. The combination of the loud piano reflecting against a wall of glass windows, made conversation nearly impossible. "
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "Great service, great food! We had a mini family reunion and needed good food and good service but needed to hear each other this spot was perfect for both, thank you! "
    Dined on 4/25/2014
  • "We found Salvatore's on Open Table. Wow. So glad we did. This was the best Itialian dinner we have had in years. Lobster with spaghetti was fabulous. Service was terrific. "
    Dined on 4/21/2014
  • "We received rave recommendations to visit this restaurant and were very disappointed in our experience. Overall, our service was nearly non-existent. We felt ignored even though the restaurant wasn't that busy. When the server waited on us, it seemed very rote and obligatory. It also would've been nice to have a bit of selection of something other than veal on the menu. Obviously our expectations were set too high by the previous recommendations. "
    Dined on 4/20/2014
  • "We had the Papa Sisto pasta and Osobuco and thoroughly enjoyed both entrees. We will definitely be back! "
    Dined on 4/17/2014
  • "We celebrated our 1st anniversary at Salavtore's and will be making it a tradition! The notably romantic ambiance (including all white bar, chandeliers, and a harp player) paired with our delicious meal made this a night to remember."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "We have been there numerous times & always top of the line. Excellent food & service never disappoints"
    Dined on 4/11/2014
  • "Food was delicious and service is excellent. Early dinner reservation at 5pm and there were only three tables of diners then but we were all seated right next to each other instead of being spaced out. Several times the noise from the conversation at the next table was so loud we could not hear each other at our table."
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "We were the first people to come; then a couple , lastly another group. When we were sat, one of the waiters came to offer water . Then the manager, or owner went to the two tables warmly welcoming them to the restaurant- but absolutely no stop at our table.. our waiter finally came /no elaboration of the menu. I had to ask. The waiter refilling our water, who was admittedly new to the restaurant, who wasn't familiar with a few of our questions, was the one with whom we felt most welcome There were a total of 3 tables the time we were there, they hardly had business that evening, but it was more sad that they seemed to pick and choose who they want to welcome. We wanted to try their desserts that evening, but just decided to leave."
    Dined on 3/26/2014
  • "We went here for our 3 year anniversary! We had an excellent time and experience! :-) we will be back every year from now on.the food was delicious the best Italian i have ever had yet in San Diego.the service was excellent, the people were very nice and attentive.the place was vibrant beautiful lightening and candlelight dinner.it was spectacular! We really enjoyed ourselves.the tiramasu and creme bule was excellent.we really enjoyed the harp music.we got an excellent table! We would definately recommend this place to or friends and family! We loved it here and its definitely going to be our new spot!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Greeted warmly and given a complimentary glass of prosecco. That was very nice. This however, may not be the place to go if you have something else to do. Service was slow and food comes out slow as well. About and hour and fifteen minutes, from the time we were seated. The hilight of the evening was the super fresh heirloom tomato, mozzarella , caprese salad. One of the most delicious things I've ever had! I can't say the same for my, underwhelming, lacking flavor, pasta dish. I don't recall the name,but it had penne, Zucchini, peas and some other veggies. Bland, bland, bland . Due to dietary restrictions I eat mostly chicken. They only had one chicken dish on the menu, which I think was Chicken parm. Marsala, piccata, would've been nice."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "My wife and I have dined at this restaurant several times before and enjoyed it each time. The ossobuco is fabulous and would suggest this to anyone who enjoys a great dining experience. I would definitely return to this place again."
    Dined on 3/21/2014
  • "Tim, our waiter was excellent! Food quality is extremely good! Plenty of choices on the menu for us to go back!"
    Dined on 3/10/2014
  • "What a wonderfully friendly staff. Everyone greeted me by name. Congratulated me on our special occasion. The food was exceptional. Best dining spot in San Diego. Only thing was service was slow but appropriate to our enjoying the evening. Nothing to complain about though. Just and FYI."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "This was a fabulous find. It was everything that has been described about it and more!"
    Dined on 3/4/2014
  • "Superb, excellent Italian food. We've dined then multiple time overmany years and still find it the best Italian restaurant."
    Dined on 3/2/2014
  • "The food was amazing, the service was absolutely horrible, once we were served the waiter never cam back to check on us. Called for the check early because of this, took twenty minutes to receive after asking twice. Felt like we were not taken serious because my girlfriend and I were younger than then crowd that was there"
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "One of us had excellent osso buco. The veal scallopini was also great."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "The haggard-looking owner at the door is one of the biggest problems. There is a lot of hype it not much there- there. Fair veal chop at great expense. Good wine."
    Dined on 2/15/2014
  • "An excellent place to dine. Unfortunately, quite noisy on Valentine's Day. The piano player was good, but the space too small for a piano & singer with a speaker. Perhaps without the speaker it could have worked? Or placed between the two rooms? More subtle background music was needed. Difficult to converse. The restaurant was decorated with balloons for the holiday, and looked festive and beautiful. The decor, usually without the balloons, is exceptional. The food and service were EXCELLENT, as always. The veal saltimbocca & salmon, served hot & were both exceptional. A very friendly place. A special place and one of the very best restaurants in San Diego! Actually, not sure I could come up with another that is comparable!"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Our diner at Salvatore's was fine, but nothing particularly noteworthy, including the pasta, the dessert and our waiter."
    Dined on 2/11/2014
  • "From the time you call in to make or confirm a reservation until you leave Salvatore's, the personalized service exceeds 5 Stars! We like Italian restaurants and are always on a quest to find great ones, locally and when traveling. The really great ones, we've found, are few and far between. Salvatore's rates at the very Top of of list and has for several years. We mostly visit Salvatore's for special occasions with family and friends, but we've decided our visits will pick up in frequency this year."
    Dined on 2/8/2014
  • "excellent service, food...convenient to the Balboa Theater....wonderful maitre'd! we look forward to returning."
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "We hadn't been to Salvatore's in many years and decided to dine there because we had a play to attend at Horton Plaza. What a happy surprise! The food was fresh and delicious, the service attentive without being cloying and it was, indeed a short walk to Horton Plaza. We'll be back and we won't wait so long this time!"
    Dined on 1/25/2014