Credit: Ryan Forbes
Credit: Ryan Forbes

An Inside Look at Tao Group Hospitality’s LAVO Italian Restaurant, Now Open in the Gaslamp Quarter

Dine in Decadence at San Diego’s Newest Italian Hotspot

Having just opened in June 2022, LAVO Italian Restaurant in San Diego is TAO Group’s latest and greatest venture. Whether you’re looking to dine or drink, LAVO San Diego offers an elevated experience that is enhanced by sleek banquet tables, a massive marble bar and an industrial-style ceiling with exposed beams and pipes. Located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, LAVO offers locals and visitors the chance to dine and drink surrounded by curated artwork and towering olive trees. LAVO Italian San Diego

Credit: Ryan Forbes

No matter the occasion, from intimate date nights to celebratory dinners, LAVO San Diego invites guests to get cozy and let loose. The spacious restaurant and bar has more than 230 seats, yet despite its large and open layout, the chic leather booths and round tables create an intimate and community-like setting. 

@localemag Have you been to LAVO Italian Restaurant in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter? #lavosd #lavoitalianrestaurant #sandiego #gaslampquarter #sdfoodies 🎥 by: Urbancell Gastronomy & @Carmen ⭐️ Food & Travel Writer ♬ On an Evening in Roma – Dean Martin

TAO Group is known for its stunning properties that possess a stylish and swanky flair, and LAVO is no exception. This Italian-inspired hotspot is located on a charming corner in the heart of the city, and the red lamp shades and dim lighting work together to make this space both mysterious and romantic. If you prefer outdoor seating, there is also a small patio section out front that features bistro tables reminiscent of what you’ll find on the sidewalks of Paris. LAVO Italian San Diego

Credit: Ryan Forbes

When it comes to the food, Chief Culinary Officer Ralph Scamardella has created a menu that blends traditional Italian flavors with a California twist. Start off your meal with a classic and refreshing chopped antipasto salad and some zesty Scarpariello wings, which are made with lemon, rosemary and roasted garlic. For the main course, you can’t go wrong with the Angry Maria pizza–cooked in a traditional brick oven and topped with vibrant ingredients like Calabrian chili, vodka sauce, basil pesto and fresh mozzarella cheese. The housemade pastas, such as the truffle ricotta cavatelli, are also made to impress, boasting bold flavors and freshly shaved truffle. But regardless of whether you order pizza or pasta, The Meatball is a must. This one-pound Wagyu beef meatball steals the show thanks to its succulent texture and fresh whipped ricotta. If you manage to save room for dessert, cater to your sweet tooth with the 20-layer chocolate cake, and enjoy a rich combo of devil’s food cake and peanut butter mascarpone.

8/10

Just like the fare, the drinks at LAVO go above and beyond, featuring innovative concoctions that refresh and tantalize the palate. Mezcal-lovers will appreciate the light and crisp Sicilian Cartel cocktail that is made with fresh lime, egg white and grapefruit cordial. However, the signature LAVO-tini offers a fruitier refreshment, and it is even topped with raspberry caviar, giving it a sweet yet sour punch. All of the cocktails have a playful appeal, and the wine list is stacked with a variety of vinos for different tastes and food pairings. 

No matter what the occasion, the antique wood floors and glowing vintage pendants set the scene for a lavish yet laid-back experience at LAVO San Diego.

LAVO Italian San Diego

LAVO Italian Restaurant
​​611 Fifth Ave
San Diego, CA 92101
619.762.5286

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Allie Lebos graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2017 with a BA in Communication. While in school she was a staff writer at The Daily Nexus for nearly two years. Since graduating she has written for The Palisades Magazine, as well as Hidden Hills Magazine. Currently living in Santa Monica, Allie loves to indulge in good food, hot yoga, and daily walks along the beach; writing articles on travel, special events, as well as features on local businesses and individuals.

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