Welcome to SDM’s Guide to Food + Drink, a series created to help you decide on where to eat in San Diego—curated by the team at San Diego Magazine.
Today, we’re talking Ambrogio by Acquerello in La Jolla. A tiny Italian restaurant that’s home to one of the best vegetarian dishes I have ever eaten.
Co-owner Giacomo Pizzigoni got his business degree from SDSU. Went back to Milan, where he grew up. Took a job at a big important firm. Spent a week staring at spreadsheets. Walked into his boss’s office, quit, moved back to San Diego and opened a Milan-style pizza joint, Ambrogio15).
It did very, very well. Still does. He could have not done this next thing. He could have just made pizza and his life would’ve been easier. But ideas haunt until you act, that’s what they do.
He wanted to create a tasting menu-only modern Italian restaurant. To show that Italian food has evolved far, far beyond just pasta. So he contacted Sylvio Salmoiraghi and Choi Cheolhyeok, chef-partners of Milan’s Michelin-star restaurant, Acquarello.
They liked each other. They became partners, opened Ambrogio by Acquarello, a tiny spot in La Jolla with two tasting menus only (one vegetarian). Sylvio and Choi fly back and forth between Milan and San Diego.
That vegetarian dish that blew my mind was the Rossini Acqurello. It’s one of Sylvio’s most famous dishes at his Michelin restaurant. He took one of the most famous carnivore dishes, tournedos rossini (filet mignon and foie gras) and made it plant-based with eggplant, daikon radish, and miso. It’s incredible.
This is our video series dedicated to the people of San Diego’s food + drink. At the end of the summer, I’m bringing all of them together at the Del Mar Wine + Food Festival for a two-day Grand Tasting with some famous chef friends to celebrate the region’s food scene.