Another Friday night. Another date night. My husband and I have lived in San Diego since 1989. Every weekend we go out on a date. Sometimes it is challenging to find something we haven’t already done many times, but we cherish new experiences, so we keep looking. And every once in a while, a real gem turns up on our radar. That’s what happened this last weekend. So here’s my review of Piacere Mio, an Italian restaurant in South Park, San Diego. Because it just wouldn’t be nice not to share.
Where is Piacere Mio?
Here’s another good thing to know — Piacere Mio is actually in San Diego’s South Park neighborhood. Since it sits a few blocks east of Balboa Park, it should probably be called East Park, but alas…it is not. Funny thing is, I’d never wandered through this neighborhood before, either. Two pleasant surprises in the same evening!
I’m a bit of a history buff, so I enjoyed the quaint neighborhood of South Park near Piacere Mio — with tree-lined streets and cottages that remain from San Diego’s early days. In fact, South Park was one of the first suburbs of San Diego. Development began in 1905 and by 1910, it was connected to downtown San Diego by streetcars, just in time for the 1915-1916 Panama-California Exposition (now known as Balboa Park). At the heart of South Park is historic 30th and Fern. And just around the corner, at 1947 Fern street, is Piacere Mio. It’s close to downtown San Diego and easy to get to from all over the county. We made the drive from north county in only 20 minutes.
Arriving at Piacere Mio
First of all, you should know that if you’re planning to eat at Piacere Mio without a reservation, it isn’t going to be easy. Unless you arrive early–like 4:45 or 5:00 pm! This is a very popular restaurant. We did have a reservation, and it was early, so it wasn’t busy yet. Their restaurant parking lot is small, but we had no problem finding parking on Grape Street, just around the corner.
There is both inside and outdoor dining available. It is clear that Piacere Mio expanded during the pandemic to allow for more outdoor dining. So you have more options for eating outside if that’s what you prefer, and the patio is heated. We chose to eat indoors but loved that there are large windows so you can still see people walking by as well. (I’m a people-watcher at heart!)
The decor is urban rustic — painted white bricks with wood accents and novelty lighting. Very trendy and comfortable at the same time! And while my casual pants and blouse were appropriate wear, it’s the kind of restaurant that could go either way. You could show up in shorts and a T-shirt, but the nice white cloth napkins and candles on the tables speak to a slightly more formal opportunity, too. As in, there’s some room for romantic ambience as well.
Something else that adds to the romantic feeling is the gentle lyrics of Italian you hear in the background. No, not singing — just the lilting Italian spoken by the waitstaff. I’ve been to Italy, and I LOVE the sound of the Italian language. I adore the way they linger a little longer on their double letters — in words like bella (bel-la) and bruschetta (bruschet-ta). Can you blame me if dining at Piacere Mio made me feel like I’d traveled to Rome?
What should you order?
I’m getting just a little ahead of myself. I just wanted to mention that before we even had a chance to pick up the menu, we were greeted warmly and served complimentary bread and olive oil with balsamic vinegar. Not just any bread — a beautiful artisan loaf wrapped in paper. And it smelled heavenly. How’s that for increasing my confidence that my meal was going to be incredible?!
Since this was our fist visit to Piacere Mio, I can’t speak for all of their menu yet, but I CAN highly recommend what we ordered. From the daily specials menu, my husband ordered Lobster Ravioli. It was absolutely rich and delicious — so glad my husband shared a bite. This is the kind of entree you “write home about.” I should add these are large plates!
I ordered the Piacere Mio Salade with tomatoes, corn, arugula, and avocado with a creamy lemon avocado dressing — which my husband and I shared. This was a light but hearty and flavorful salad. Half was just right for me.
For my entree, I ordered Salmone Al Melograno — a sauteed salmon fillet with a pomegranate sauce reduction (what exactly does reduction mean, anyway?), served with a creamy rice (as in risotto) and kale with freshly grated Parmesan cheese added. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine sure was!
And just look at how beautifully this dish was plated! Portions were just about right, although I probably could have saved half of the rice for another meal. (Okay, what am I saying? There was no way I wasn’t going to finish off this amazing meal in one sitting!) I did use constraint, though, when offered a dessert. As in, “Don’t show me the dessert menu, please — I’ll never be able to say no.” So if you want to know what Piacere Mio offers for dessert, go check out their menu on your own or call 619-794-2543 so you can hear authentic Italian accents, too!
Another menu option that looked very promising is the “Make Your Own” pasta entree, which allows you to choose your favorite pasta, sauce, and proteins.
Anything else I should know?
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention the attenton and friendliness of the waiters and staff at Piacere Mio. We felt very welcome, and our every need was met: drinks refilled regularly, empty plates removed, and questions answered. And they also stayed out of our way and let us enjoy our dinner conversation. Leonardo and Giuseppe were good sports when I asked if I could take their photo (because I knew I’d be writing this review long before I left). Thank you so much for a memorable evening!
Notes about Piacere Mio
- Piacere Mio means “the pleasure is mine” — I guarantee you will agree after dining here.
- Ingredients are locally sourced and the best quality; they even make their own pasta!
- You can order take-out, which would be fun to take for a picnic at nearby Balboa Park.
- There are actually TWO Piacere Mio restaurants — the other is in the Del Sur community of San Diego’s north county. That location also has a wood-fired pizza oven. (So good to know!)
- Piacere Mio is co-owned by Marco Fontana from Rome, along with two business partners, one from Naples and the other from Genoa.
- At the South Park location, reservations are highly suggested and can be no longer than 1 1/2 hours; like I said, this is a popular place to eat.
- Prices range from about $11-15 for Antipasti (appetizers), $8-9 for Insalate (salads), and $14-$29 for main entrees.
- Hours: Dinner 4:30 to 10:00 pm, and Lunch Fri-Sun only from 11:30 am to 2:30 pm.
Conclusion: Review of Piacere Mio
I hope you don’t just read this review of Piacere Mio and forget about it. Make some reservations right away — for a fun family outing, a hot date, or even a lunch with colleagues. If you are interested in reading more of my restaurant reviews, you’ll find them at:
Review of Mitch’s Seafood (Pt. Loma)
Review of Green Dragon Tavern & Museum (Carlsbad)
Or in my Dine & Do series all over San Diego County, which includes Italian restaurants in Little Italy.