Italian Food So Good My Italian Nonna Would Be Impressed…And That’s Not Easy!

The Busalacchi family opened its newest culinary venture Nonna, serving Italian comfort food in the space that formerly housed the restaurant group’s beloved flagship concepts, Trattoria Fantastica and Café Zucchero, in the epicenter of Little Italy’s India Street.

The two spaces, formerly divided by a wall, have now been combined into one under the umbrella of the affectionately named Nonna, a familial nod to every Italian family’s respected matriarch and especially to the Busalacchi’s own grandmother, Christina.

Maintaining the property’s heritage, the Italian café offshoot of Zucchero still occupies a portion of the newly revamped 5,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space serving all-day coffee and traditional pastries, deeply rooted in Italian technique.

Fresh off the heels of the well-received resurrection of the Po Pazzo space into Barbusa in 2016, the Busalacchi family decided to breathe new life into the Trattoria Fantastica space that first opened doors in 1995 in a then-desolate Little Italy. At the time, the restaurants were headed by the family’s patriarch Joe, often regarded as a pioneer in San Diego’s Little Italy district, and his brother Frank, both Sicilian immigrants who moved to San Diego as young men.

Now, more than 20 years and several successful restaurants later, Joe and Frank are passing the reins to Frank’s son, Vince Busalacchi who, along with his older brother Peter, plan to introduce a familial perspective on their Sicilian heritage.

Family Recipes on the Menu

Menu highlights include classic Antipasti starters from Calamari Fritti with marinara and lemon wedge and Caprese with burrata, tomatoes, pesto, balsamic and extra virgin olive oil to Arancine with saffron rice, beef ragu and mozzarella and Carpaccio with arugula, capers, parmesan and lemon.


Photo credits: James Tran

Other notable signature dishes include family recipes for Lasagne with meat ragu and béchamel, Bolognese Nonna with mafaldine and meat ragu, Bucatini Amatriciana with pancetta, onions, pomodoro and pecorino in addition to more experimental dishes including Casarecce Al Funghi with stuffed shells, oyster mushrooms, mascarpone, breadcrumbs and vodka cream sauce and Pasta Con Sarde with bucatini, sardines, fennel, pine nuts and currants.

Photo credits: James Tran

Rounding out the Nonna menu are a variety of pizzas including Margherita and Proscuitto from the restaurant’s stone oven along with Vitello Marsala with veal loin, mushrooms, florio marsala and seared gnocchi and Pollo Parmigiano with chicken breast, marinara sauce, mozzarella and tortellini.

We’re thrilled for the opening, and looking forward to going back soon!

See you there!

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