Salvatore's Cucina Italiana
Salvatore's Cucina Italiana

Salvatore's Cucina Italiana

  • 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: 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!
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Salvatore's Cucina Italiana reviews from OpenTable diners
55 reviews since July 30, 2014
Overall Rating4.6
  • Food4.7
    Service4.5
  • Ambiance4.5
    Noise LevelQuiet
88% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
special occasion (42)romantic (40)fit for foodies (27)neighborhood gem (23)notable wine list (19)good for groups (15)vibrant bar scene (2)late-night find (2)hot spot (2)scenic view (1)Show More
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 11/24/2014
    The food was excellent, the decor and ambiance was lovely, and our server was very friendly and helpful. However, the service was extremely slow, and diners who came in after us were served first. It wouldn't have bothered me if I weren't on a tight schedule.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Charming oasis with fresh, delicious food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 11/16/2014
    While staying at the Manchester Grand Hyatt for a convention, we wanted an easy walk to a quiet dinner after lots of meetings. Salvatore's was even more perfect than I had hoped. It was Sunday night and not too busy. Small white lights created a charming feel to the space. The person who greeted us and waited on us was superb. It was his last night there as he's moving on his quest to become a sommelier) but I assume the other staff are also excellent. I had bruschetta which I love and their version was classic, fresh and perfect (one just tomatoes and other with shrimp). Then had Bavette al Granchio del Ristorante (spicy linguini with crab in a rose sauce) that was delicious. Not too heavy, not too light, not too spicy...just right. They make their own pasta. Others with me had that dish too and one had lasagna. Both very happy. Two of us drank a Hess Allomi Vineyard, Napa Valley which was dense, luscious, smooth. All in all, I'd go back happily even if I drove to it. It's not trendy and loud...more of a great oasis. The food seemed more like I was in Italy full of fresh, light Mediterranean sun. It was also thankfully not salty, which seems to be a common problem in dining out. If you're at the Convention Center it's just a 5 block or so walk. Perfect.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GREAT
    JohnVIP
    Dined on 11/12/2014
    So good I went back my second night in town and if possible the food was even better... Will return, thanks
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Visitor
    Dined on 10/22/2014
    Excellent Italian food. Five of us and all with different entrees. Capellini that was cooked to perfection and steak that melted in your mouth. Can't say enough about Salvatore's
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Neighborhood gem
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/21/2014
    Salvatore's has been in the neighborhood quite awhile, so we can depend on them being there! The food is always outstanding, the staff is always right there when you need them. And the manager, David, bends over backwards to make sure your evening is exceptional.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • sooooo goooood
    Duchess
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    we love this restaurant. expensive but worth it. our 17 yr old and 22 yr old granddaughters think it is just the best!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    Food was very good and the service was outstanding. The location was close to our hotel so walking was not a problem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very good
    ElaineVIP
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    Great local Italian cuisine. Fabulous atmosphere and good service. Had a business dinner while visiting San Diego. Would definitely come back!!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OUTSTANDING!
    Alwaysintrouble
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    I have lived in NYC all of my life. My wife and I have been fortunate enough to eat in some of the finest dining establishments in the great Big Apple. Salvatore's in San Diego rivals anyone of them. This restaurant is beautiful. The service is second to none. The food outstanding. My special thanks to the entire wait staff. A special heartfelt thank you to the Executive Chef Rafaella. My wife and I will never forget how special you made us feel. Buona fortuna! Cento anni!! Vinny C
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Favorite
    Duchess
    Dined on 9/29/2014
    Just a great restaurant! The ravioli are heavenly and light.
    Special Features:
    notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Italian
    disapointed
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    The food was excellent. The service was mediocre. Could be a great restraunt with some effort.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Eljefe
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    When you enter the restaurant your greeted by David who immediately thanks you for coming and sits you. He lets you know it's a place to take your time and relax.The waiter is very knowledgable and attentive .I order the meatballs and lasagna was really good. A must try restaurant .
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent food!
    Restlover
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Everything we had was excellent, from the mussels,lobster raviolis, salads, fish, scalopinis
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Dining Downtown
    NOLAREBVIP
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Not only did they call ahead of time to confirm the reservation, they explained details of the free parking arrangement. The food was excellent and the service superb; we could not have asked for more.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • brookhurst
    Dined on 9/9/2014
    food was awsome, service impeccable but the loud noise coming out of your sound system gave me a head ache. It would have been OK if it were soft and subdued but it was an "in your face sound like it or not" I asked that it be turned down but I guess I was not understood. We come on special occassions and we take out of town guests there(our favorite cousins). We have been coming on special occassions since it opened. The soud system was always quiet subdued and elegant. I always in the past considered it a great place to go for elegant, quiet, and sophisticated dining. After our Tuesday experience ????
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • superior food & service
    SFvisitor
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    Great menu of tempting selections. The recommended wine was just right and cocktails were generous. Ah, but the food -- so lightly, carefully, and flavorfully done. Delightful.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Unique & Tremendous Restaurant
    chefbobcatVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Walking in the door at Salvatore's your are greeted by David, the General Manager, as you were going to the home of an Italian Family. He is kind and very welcoming. After our reservation was confirmed, we decided to sit at the bar for a drink before dinner and were introduced to Tony, our waiter for the evening, who was also our bartender. This form of service is what makes this restaurant very unique as my wife and I have never experienced this before. Tony made our cocktails as we relaxed before being seated at our table. Once we were seated, Tony provided outstanding service and fulfilled our every need. As we were dining on a Saturday night, I was impressed that Tony was able to take care of us and all his other tables perfectly.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • dinner
    DrAwsome1
    Dined on 8/12/2014
    Great place to take the loved one, I took my girlfriend here during or san diego getaway. She loved it, I loved it. The food was tantalizing and the proportion is enough to get full off of it. Our server was great; the water people did their job well, I never had an empty water glass. The only downside of our visit was the table behind us, they were extra talkative and loud, but them aside the resturant is perfect for a special occasion.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Incredible Italian Food.
    Jdelta
    Dined on 8/10/2014
    This place is a must for people who even remotely think they might like Italian food!! The food is authentic and the pasta is made from scratch. WOW. I wish we had one of these in Houston!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Above average
    Antonio
    Dined on 8/8/2014
    The service and attitude were excellent, they will adjust any dish you want to your liking. The food was a good typical American-Italian but It was missing the famous Italian simplicity and minimalizem. (If you are European you'll understand). if you are not very strict with Italian food you'll have a wonderful experience.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Lovely
    MWhip
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    Besides its beautiful ambience, Salvatore's cuisine is fantastic.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 34 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 30, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.7
    • Food4.6
    • Ambiance4.5
    • Service4.6
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 142 reviews are from the Salvatore's Cucina Italiana reviews archive.
  • denlmik
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome
    NotreallyVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    From the moment we arrived Greeted warmly Incredibly accommodating Amazing menu, food and service The real deal
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Spectacular
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always GREAT
    Dre063005
    Dined on 7/14/2014
    My wife and I have never had a bad experience here the owner and staff makes you feel welcome.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Amazing food & service
    Downtownrevs
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • cucina spendida!
    poubahVIP
    Dined on 6/18/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What a wonderful place to eat!
    Rosie
    Dined on 6/14/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Amazing everytime
    thezobVIP
    Dined on 6/13/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Richard Aldrich
    realdrich
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    Salvatore's is among the finest Italian dining experiences available in Southern California. Incredible food, superb service, and an ambiance that is pure romance.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great anniversary celebration
    luv2dine
    Dined on 6/1/2014
    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!
    Special Features:
    romantic, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • very romantic beautiful restaurant
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/19/2014
    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
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 5/12/2014
    Food was excellent. Many fascinating menu options. The staff goes above and beyond to make the experience special and memorable.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Meh...
    Dinner4two
    Dined on 4/27/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Rather disappointed
    Magic
    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.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Romantic dining
    Silvie
    Dined on 4/26/2014
    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 :-)
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Excellent Italian!!!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • jacksbkVIP
    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.
    Special Features:
    Good for Groups, Romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Dinner
    KerrieQ
    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!
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Salvatore's Best in San Diego
    NewOrleansFoodLoverVIP
    Dined on 4/21/2014
    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.
    Special Features:
    Fit For Foodies, Romantic, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet