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Salvatore's Italian Restaurant - San Diego, CA

Decent Dining but Not One I Would Repeat


Restaurant Category : Italian

Salvatore's - Gaslamp Quarter - San Diego, CA: Salvatore's Italian Restaurant is just minutes away from the Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego. The front desk staff of the Hilton Hotel - San Diego Gaslamp Quarter told me that Salvatore's served up great Italian food and from what I had read on Salvatore's website, it sure sounded like it was going to be good.

I booked a table, which was a good idea especially since there was a conference in town (downtown San Diego has a large conference center so it can be extremely busy at times). I walked the fifteen minutes to the restaurant and was impressed with what I saw.

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Set in a modern building, I was surprised to see how glamorous and beautiful the restaurant was. White linen tablecloths, crystal glasses, large sturdy off-white wooden chairs, tall ceilings and large windows made for the perfect setting for a beautiful evening.

Unfortunately, the beautiful restaurant was jammed full of conference attendees; large tables of business men and women took the serene atmosphere and turned it into banquet dinner, it was very disappointing.

The menu was extensive, homemade meatballs, fresh shrimp and scallop and black mussels in a spicy tomato sauce were just some of the starters. First course options ranged from Traditional Italian wedding soup (which did not have much flavor), penne pasta with sautéed artichokes, zucchini, mushrooms, English peas and prosciutto to Risotto of the day. The main course covered all the bases with braised veal shank, filet mignon, lamb chops, lightly breaded chicken, fresh fish of the day and scampi in a Pinot Grigio, garlic and butter sauce. Anyone could find something that sounded good.

However, the disappointment came with each course. The service was adequate but the food was just average. The soup was plain, the risotto did not set well and the filet mignon was dry and boring.

I have the feeling the kitchen was over-whelmed with the conference crowd and were in their banquet dinner mode because the dinner did not surpass any conference meal I have ever had.

The question is how do I rate Savatore's? Somewhere between bombastic and not. Do I think they are capable of better? Yes, but based on my experience that night, they just did not measure up to a higher rating.

My recommendation? If there is a conference in town and you want bombastic Italian food, steer clear of Salvatore's and head out of the downtown area to a restaurant that does not cater to the conference crowd.

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