Chef Cesarina Mezzoni & Co. To Unveil Roman Osteria ‘Elvira’ In Ocean Beach Venue
Exciting news for the San Diego restaurant scene! Cesarina Group, proprietors of the much-loved Cesarina Ristorante (Michelin Bib Gourmand), has formalized plans to open an authentic Roman osteria and pizzeria, Elvira, set to debut by late summer.
Inking a lease at the former BO-beau kitchen + bar in Ocean Beach, the concept marks a continued partnership between three Italian ex-pats—husband-and-wife duo Niccolò Angius and Cesarina Mezzoni, and longtime friend Giuseppe Capasso.
Together, under the moniker of Cesarina Group, Elvira will open as the team’s first brick-and-mortar expansion to come to fruition following their flagship Cesarina Ristorante.
Remedying a noticed absence that’s been felt since BO-beau’s COVID closure, Elvira is poised to continue on the venue’s storied legacy. Built in the 1930s, the property was once home to a bait-and-tackle shop, while lifelong San Diegans might call back memories of BO-beau’s fine dining predecessor, Thee Bungalow.
With Cesarina’s stronghold in the Point Loma-Ocean Beach community already—not to mention, Niccolò and Chef Mezzoni are OB residents themselves— the Cesarina team is an honorable successor to steward a new era for 4996 Point Loma Boulevard.
Origins + Inspiration
Carrying on the Cesarina Group’s namesake nomenclature, Elvira pays homage to Niccolò’s great-grandmother. Born in 1915, the lifelong Roman persevered through the hardships of war and poverty; in the face of such adversity, community-building became a pillar of the matriarch’s life.
The heartbeat of her family, Elvira carried herself with an air of authority and a boldness ahead of her time. Her passion for cooking extended beyond mere sustenance but became a beacon of stability, bringing people together in times of both uncertainty and celebration.
“My great-grandmother was a self-made woman—incredibly independent and fueled by passion despite the lack of opportunities afforded to women in the early 1900s,” said Niccolò. “The kitchen was her happy place, and food was her love language.”
The Space + Experience
Cesarina Group has partnered with Italian architecture and interior design firm Limes Architetti for the renovation of the ~2,400 square-foot space. Keeping the structure’s charming essence in-tact, Elvira will pay homage to the storybook eateries and time-honored pizzerias that punctuate Rome’s ancient streets.
Ringing true to osteria tradition, the main dining area will evoke a timeless simplicity, enlivened with earthy tones and nods to retro design sensibilities. Thrifted artwork and vignette family portraits dot the wood-paneled walls, accompanied by blackboard menus and marble tabletops.
Quintessential Italian family dinner
Through the kitchen, an intimate dining room will give way to Cucina di La Nonna. Modeled after the late Elvira’s de facto residence, the theatrical design sets the stage for a quintessentially Italian family dinner. Vintage light fixtures cast a warm glow upon delicate textiles, eclectic décor, and weathered wood fixtures, such as a China cabinet chock-full of mismatched plates and flatware.
With an 8-person capacity, Cucina di La Nonna will be a wholly interactive guest experience— from setting the table and choosing the music from Nonna’s vinyl collection to sharing a hearty family-style meal, passing dish by dish down the table—each diner becomes a part of Italian mealtime rituals.
See you there!
Centering on culinary traditions of the ‘Eternal City,’ Executive Chef Cesarina Mezzoni promises an “ode to cucina Romana,” focalizing on wood-fired Roman-style pizzas.
A capsule program of handmade pastas and old-school Roman entrées will alternate seasonally.
Elvira’s cocktail program will lean into classic Italian spirits such as grappa and amaro, with wines on draft sourced from the Lazio region and served “vino della casa” style by the quarter, half, or full-liter carafe.
Full menu to follow in the coming weeks.
See you there, San Diego!