>Arrivederci is known as a go-to place for Italian in San Diego. But I am from the East Coast, and I take my Italian food very seriously, so admittedly, I was skeptical at the West Coast translation. I had a friend from New York coming in for the weekend, who loves Italian, so we decided to give it a try.
The first rule of dining at Arrivederci is that reservations are essential. The dining room of this small Hillcrest establishment is positively packed on weekend nights. Even with a reservation, we waited for 15 minutes for our table. We were tempted by the wine bar that is adjacent to the restaurant, but drinking on an empty stomach usually makes me sick, so we resisted.
We were seated at a tiny round table, the volume of the restaurant forcing conversation to the center of the table, loud and close. The server took our orders, each of us trying something different: cheese ravioli, ziti with italian sausage, and chicken parmesean. The menu of classics was a welcome change from the nouveau Italian that I have experienced lately.
Our food arrived in good time, and we dug in. The pasta was soft, buttery bliss. Copious amounts of garlic and oregano made the sauce rich, flavorful, and perfectly pungent. The cheese was fresh and creamy, soft and decadent. The chicken was perfectly seasoned, with just the amount of crispy breading. The sauce was a perfect compliment to the salty parmesean cheese and pasta.
All in all, Italian food that impressed jaded East Coasters. Enough said!