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Miami’s The Amalfi Llama Opening at UTC

The new Mediterranean-Patagonian fusion eatery will be the first West Coast outpost for the restaurant
Amalfi Llama Miami restaurant opening new San Diego's UTC Westfield La Jolla featuring a chef making a pizza by hand
Courtesy of The Amalfi Llama

Growing up in suburban Northern Virginia in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, my dining choices at the mall were burgers, fries, and maybe some chow mein noodles from the food court. As Millennial teenagers, we were delighted with that—how could we possibly know what we were missing? (No comment from this now-millennial adult about inaccessible home-buying opportunities, student loans, and economic instability.)

But over the past few decades, malls have evolved into culinary paradises, and this is perhaps most glaringly true at Westfield UTC. Michelin-starred restaurants a few steps from where I get involuntarily spritzed with men’s cologne on my way to buy new socks? Oh, how times have changed. 

Amalfi Llama restaurant opening new San Diego location at UTC Westfield La Jolla featuring a chef cooking in an open fire kitchen
Courtesy of The Amalfi Llama

The Collection at UTC is already home to favorites like Menya Ultra, Somisomi, Salt & Straw, and more. Come Monday, it can add another dining destination to its roster when The Amalfi Llama opens.

Inspired by worldwide coastal cuisines, The Amalfi Llama opened in Miami in 2024. It features Executive Chef Jeffrey Mondaca’s Mediterranean-Patagonian fusion menu, focusing on live-fire cooking and smoky flavors. La Jolla is the restaurant’s first outpost on the West Coast, where Chef Jaime Sebastián Chávez Monte-Alegre will helm the kitchen after stints as the Chef de Cuisine at Coasterra, Island Prime, and C Level. 

Amalfi Llama restaurant opening new San Diego location at UTC Westfield La Jolla featuring a margarita pizza on a table along with a whiskey cocktail
Courtesy of The Amalfi Llama

The 2,038-square-foot outdoor patio seats 92 guests, while the 7,054-square-foot indoor dining space can hold an additional 152 people, plus a live-fire grill, wood-burning oven, and circular bar that seats 28 guests. Menu favorites include wood-fired pizzas, fresh pasta, salads, Italian steakhouse-inspired cuts of beef, the restaurant’s take on a Branzino, and plenty of wines, cocktails, and NA options. (I generally need a stiff drink after braving the roving mall masses, but it’s nice to have options.)

The Amalfi Llama opens on Monday, March 25 at The Collection at UTC for dinner only starting at 5 p.m.

Founders of Karl Strauss Brewing company in their brewery celebrating their 35th anniversary
Courtesy of Karl Strauss Brewing Company

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

Happy 35th Birthday, Karl Strauss Brewing Company

Cheers to 35 more years as San Diego’s oldest continuously surviving local brewery Karl Strauss. On March 27, they’re throwing a House Party at the Sorrento Valley brewpub from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. with special beers, bites, and probably some decent early ‘90s nostalgia. Tickets are on sale now. 

Exterior of The Friendly restaurant which is opening a new oyster and Champagne bar in San Diego
Courtesy of See North Park

Beth’s Bites

I honestly did not know if The Friendly opening an oyster and Champagne bar was fake news or not, but it’s real! Honestly, I’m into it. 

Vinyl records? Craft beer? The pop-up partnership of Vinyl Record Rarities at Modern Times Beer sounds like a match made in heaven. 

Speaking of birthdays, Pokez turns 30 this month. Geez, time flies.

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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