750 W. Fir St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Beer & Wine Only
Small Plates- Full Courses
Approaching the entrance to Bencotto Italian Kitchen you realize that you are not in for the typical cucina experience.
Located in Little Italy’s new urban living development the Q, Bencotto’s space also reflects that refined sense of urbane appeal.
With an exterior that’s just one big window, there is no secret as to who’s wining and dining inside: Like a two story fishbowl filled with feeding patrons.
Enter inside and the space and decor are very aesthetically appealing: Great taste paired with minimal design, it oozes urban sophistication. Instead of mixed matched art on the walls and murals, the cement walls are left bare, but vibrant fresh flowers give the space a welcomed sense of life against the clean lines of its contemporary industrial design.
For a little more private dining experience, asked to be moved upstairs to the benchy-booth seating. But be prepared to talk a little louder than normally: The acoustics against the low ceiling and cement walls makes the space very loud when occupied by four or more talkative tables.
All bread brought your table is freshly sliced upon serving, along with a plate of very high quality olive oil with a spray (yes, from a spray bottle) of balsamic vinegar to taste. The best topper however for the bread, is also the best fiver you’ll ever throw down: For $5 get a plate of superb quality Prosciutto di Parma, thinly-sliced by their red wheel slicer, it is unlike any Prosciutto you’ve ever had before.
The Calamari in Umido brings together a rich depth of flavor in the slowly-broiled tender Calamari, sauteed in a white wine, garlic tomato sauce that is a perfect dish to begin the meal with…. It’s so refreshing that restaurants have finally started moving away from the tired hum drum combination of fried calamari & [spicy?] marinara sauce.
The Piovra Insalata, steamed octopus and balsamic potatoes, to our unpleasant surprise is served cold. The potatoes lacking the promised balsamic, and instead offering an odd starchy film and the octopus tasting more pickled than steamed, is served alongside a bit of fresh arugula-which is the best part of the whole dish. Overall, this is not a dish I would suggest even to my frenemies. Steer clear.
For the main affair, Bencotto offers a selection with a bit of everything: Oven-baked lasagna dishes, from the traditional to the more unique- like the Lasagna alla Genovese, in a pesto sauce with Fontina cheese, and green beans. The Halibut Bencotto, sauteed in a herb, tomato, onion sauce, served with an onion tart, is a terrific flavor pairing.
But the offering Bencotto is most excited about is the Pasta a Modo Tuo (pasta your way): Choose from a number of sauces such as the house signature sauce- a spicy pink pancetta- or the Salsiccia- a spicy tomato sauce with sausage; and pair it with any of their made in-house daily or artisanal pasta varieties they offer.
End the meal off with the Frutti Di Bosco Con Crema Al Mascarpone- despite its complicated, long name, the dish is simple: Mascarpone cream is topped with poached mixed berries, to become a sweet & creamy, yet deliciously light way to cleanse your palette after a rich meal.