The Star-News

New Italianissimo Trattoria restaurant is elegant but not pricey

Fri, Feb 25 2011 11:57 PM Posted By: Phillip Brents

Italianissimo Trattoria may not only be among the newest restaurants along Chula Vista’s Third Avenue but it may just be among the best — and that’s saying something considering the line-up of the city’s downtown eateries.

The restaurant, which opened last October, has started to draw a following and more guests are certain to dine at the warm and hospitable establishment once they are introduced to the menu created by chef Mino Puzzo.

Puzzo is partnering with Aniello Zaino in the new venture. The two men, both current Eastlake residents, have known each other for 30 years after meeting on an Italian cruise ship. Zaino was a former owner of Bonita’s popular Buon Giorno while Puzzo owns the popular Italianissimo restaurant in Tijuana.

Zaino is handling the restaurant’s managerial duties while Puzzo, a former personal chef for singer Billy Joel, has complete control of the kitchen. It appears to be a perfect arrangement.
“This is a new venture — it’s something exciting,” said Zaino, who, like his partner, is a native of Italy.

The menu is upscale Italian dining without being pricey and intimidating. The food is on the light side, starting with the bruschetta, and intensely flavorful throughout the selections of appetizers, salads, soups, pizza, pasta, main courses and desserts.

Diners need not dress up for the culinary elegance on display. “This is a place where you can wear jeans,” Zaino said with a welcoming smile.

Puzzo is not afraid to experiment in the kitchen. His Pacific whitefish entrÈe topped with a red wine reduction is proof of that.

Specials are offered daily, and any dish on the regular menu can be made to customer order.
Popular items include the seafood risotto, ravioli al funghetto (stuffed mushroom ravioli in a delicious mushroom cream sauce) and slow braised lamb shank.

The wine list includes about a dozen each of white and red wines; about 90 percent of them are available by the glass.

The restaurant, located at 323 Third Ave., is open daily. Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. The regular menu is served after 11:30 a.m. The restaurant is open until 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 651-1457 or 651-7310.

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