Bencotto Italian Kitchen – San Diego Restaurant Week Preview
San Diego Restaurant Week is here once again! It starts on Sunday, September 25th and runs until October 2nd. This gives you a complete week to sample and try out a whole slew of restaurants, woohoo! Once again I was invited to a San Diego Restaurant Week Preview and this time around I went to Bencotto Italian Kitchen. I’ve visited Monello and Bencotto in the past and was quite excited to see what was in store for us!
Bencotto Italian Kitchen is in the heart of Little Italy, just outside of Downtown San Diego.
Laura was my date that evening. We visited Bencotto on a Tuesday evening so parking was relatively easy that night.
Sure, you can check out Bencotto’s “normal” menu but I like to look at their specials. These are their drink specials.
And here’s what I really zoned in on… the special pastas!
Bencotto was celebrating their anniversary and had a BUNCH of special handmade pastas just for the occasion. Our helpful waitress came out with this tray of pastas to show off each one and to explain what they all were. I adored the colors of the pastas (that reddish one is made with beets!) and couldn’t wait to dig into one of these delicious looking pastas. Since they make everything in house and from scratch they can really take the time to create a really special menu.
The only thing about the special pasta menu is that you can’t do any substitutions! They make enough pasta for certain dishes and don’t have extras, so you can’t really switch out the noodles or pasta types. There are lot of great choices though so you’re sure to find something you like.
We were given warm, crusty bread to start off with and a nice bowl of delicious, flavorful olive oil with balsamic vinegar.
I ate a TON of bread… it was so crusty and delicious that I couldn’t help myself. And I was hungry!
[fiori di zucca ripieni / $16]
We didn’t have to wait long for our appetizer to come out. We choose the cheese stuffed zucchini blossoms since it reminded Laura of her recent trip to France this summer. She told me these zucchini blossoms were served in many restaurants in France and she sampled some during her trip. She wanted to see what Bencotto’s version would be like!
The zucchini blossoms had a nice light coating on the outside. This one blossom had a little peek of the cheese oozing out!
The zucchini blossoms were filled with ricotta, smoked mozzarella with a parmesan sauce and they were freaking delicious!! The cheeses were hot and perfectly melted and the zucchini blossoms were amazingly good. The blossoms have a “zucchini lite” flavor. They’re wonderful stuffed with the cheese. I’d eat these all of time if I could!
Laura and I splurged and each got a glass of wine. The rose on the right is mine. It was a nice choice and went well with dinner.
[tagliatelle algi spinaci / $22]
Laura had a tough time choosing exactly which one she wanted. She ended up choosing this spinach tagliatelle in cream sauce with mild Italian sausage. The dish normally comes with mushrooms but she asked for it without mushrooms. She gave me a little bite to try. The tagliatelle was perfectly cooked with a light spinach flavor. Fresh pasta makes such a difference in this dishes. They really elevate the dish since the pasta has a wonderful chew! The real winner of the dish was the flavorful pieces of Italian sausage. There were nice large chunks so there was no mistaking what you were eating! It had a good combination of spices to make for a delightfully tasty sausage.
[reginelle allo zafferano / $23]
I decided to go with one of the seafood dishes. This dish reminded me very much on a wonderful dish I had in Little Italy recently so I was curious to see how Bencotto would do the same dish. At Bencotto they make large saffron curly fettuccine noodles and mix it with a prosecco cream sauce and add in shrimp and zucchini.
The shrimp is mixed in two ways – there are the whole shrimp with the tails still on AND there are diced shrimp as well! There is a ton of shrimp in this dish and that made me extremely happy! There was shrimp in pretty much every single bite.
The saffron fettuccine noodles were wonderful. They were these long curly edged noodles that had flecks of saffron. The saffron flavor was subtle and completely within the noodle but you could still get that smell and taste of saffron in the entire dish. I really enjoyed this one – Bencotto did an excellent job infusing tons of flavor in this pasta dish.
Also – since I had eaten so much bread (omg) I only ate a little bit of my actual dish. I had this for dinner the next evening and it was splendid! I was happy I was able to enjoy it twice.
[semifreddo alle mandorle / $10]
I might have been full of bread but that’s not going to stop me from having a little bit of dessert! Laura and I decided to try one of Bencotto’s semifreddos. A semifreddo is kind of like a partially frozen mousse – it’s creamy and tastes a bit like ice cream. This one had almonds and amaretto cookies and was served with a chocolate sauce. We both loved the nutty flavor of the semifreddo – there was a good amount of almonds and the crunchy amaretto cookies infused the dessert with a nice amaretto flavor. It’s not a heavy or rich dessert so it was a nice thing to eat after filling up our bellies with pasta.
This special pasta menu won’t be around for restaurant week, I’m afraid, but I still must insist you give Bencotto a try! Their fresh pastas are AMAZING and you really can’t go wrong with any of their dishes.
Bencotto Italian Kitchen
750 W Fir St
San Diego, CA 92101
Disclaimer: I was invited to dine at Bencotto for a San Diego Restaurant Week preview. Our food was complimentary but hey, we paid for our own wine! I was not further compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.