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Tasting Tradition: Cesarina's Authentic Italian Culinary Heritage

Niccolò Angius, Cesarina Mezzoni (Niccolò’s wife and executive chef), and their longtime friend Giuseppe Capasso are all Italian expats and are the driving force behind Cesarina in San Diego, created a restaurant that isn’t just a place to dine—it's an Italian haven where elegance meets authenticity. Niccolò's roots in Rome’s restaurant scene paved the way for his venture into America. Starting by sharing his handcrafted pasta at San Diego's farmers' markets, he captured hearts and eventually birthed Cesarina. 

Cesarina Mezzoni, chef/partner and muse behind the eponymous Point Loma restaurant, is a rising star within San Diego’s dining scene. Raised in Rome, Cesarina’s sentimental affinity for cooking is fixed in her childhood memories. Her mother, who immigrated to Italy from the East African islands of Seychelles, used cooking as a means of assimilation into the foreign culture. She mastered the intricacies of homemade Italian dishes, passing along this virtue to Cesarina.

Alongside her husband, Niccolò  Angius, Cesarina moved from Rome to California in 2015, quickly making their first imprint on San Diego’s slow food movement with the launch of their farmer’s market pop-up, offering vegan handmade pastas and all-natural sauces. Aspiring restauranteurs, the pair worked tenaciously for several years to grow the roving business, eventually acquiring a brick-and-mortar venue and opening doors to Cesarina Restaurant in February 2019.

At Cesarina, the philosophy is deeper than just serving food—it's about reviving the lost art of traditional cooking. Every handmade ravioli and freshly baked focaccia speaks volumes, echoing ancestral recipes steeped in history. It's a celebration of familial love for food, ensuring customers feel embraced and cherished through classic Italian hospitality.

The essence of Cesarina lies in creating cherished moments etched in guests' memories, transcending culinary excellence alone. The impassioned staff, deeply connected to the restaurant’s vision, brings this aspiration to life at every table, infusing every interaction with genuine warmth.

Not to be overshadowed, by the owner and the staff, the food is truly unmatched in flavor and quality. Hence, Cesarina proudly earns our "Best of the Best" award for serving the most exceptional pasta we've ever encountered.

From the moment one steps into Cesarina's elegant dining room, an atmosphere of refined yet unpretentious Italian charm envelops the senses. Cesarina's pasta, made fresh daily using traditional techniques, is the heart of their culinary offerings. Each dish showcases the perfect balance of al dente perfection and delicate sauces that enhance the pasta's natural flavors.

We were greeted with warm garlic bread generously adorned with flavorful marinara sauce. Throughout the meal, the bread kept coming, a delightful touch that didn't require a request. Trust me, don't miss out on this bread—it's simply irresistible!

At Cesarina, the pasta selection is vast, allowing you to personalize your meal by choosing both the flavor and dish, and then selecting the perfect pasta shape to accompany it. We opted to defer to the waiter's expertise, and they skillfully matched each dish with its ideal pasta shape. We'd recommend entrusting their knowledge—it truly enhances the experience. Make sure not to miss the gnocchi and ravioli; they're truly exceptional. You won't regret it!

We started with Cesarina's Pomodoro Fresco, which embodied simplicity and quality. Fresh tomato sauce pairs beautifully with confit cherry tomatoes and creamy vegan mozzarella. The pesto adds a refreshing blend of flavors to the dish.

We then savored the Lasagna—a genuine delight. Its layers of perfectly textured sheets embraced a savory meat substitute crafted from mushrooms and eggplant. This distinctive blend of flavors captures the  essence that defines Cesarina.

The Nuova Funghi Vegana dish was a culinary surprise. A creamy mix of cremini, shiitake  and porcini mushrooms brings depth. The bread and herb crumble offers a delightful contrast, complementing the dish's complexity.

Authenticity shines in the Norma. In this dish fresh tomato sauce complements grilled eggplant, infused delicately with basil and vegan mozzarella for a creamy touch.

The Romesco and Vodka dish presented a unique twist from our perspective. The homemade romesco sauce enhances the green peas, while a touch of vodka adds a distinct note.

For dessert, Cesarina's Tiramisu and Gelato dishes offer a delightful finale. Their gelato, crowned with house-made whipped cream, reflects their mastery of creams and cheeses. Creamy and subtly sweet, it's a definite must-try, especially with an extra dollop of their delightful whipped cream. Meanwhile, the tiramisu, made with homemade vegan ladyfingers, bold espresso, and a velvety vegan crema al mascarpone, remains a crowd-pleaser and a perfect conclusion to a memorable meal.

Cesarina isn't just a restaurant; it's a bastion of authentic Italian cuisine in San Diego. Their dedication to using premium ingredients and extending warm hospitality has garnered them a devoted following. With an evolving menu and a steadfast commitment to excellence, Cesarina continues to promise culinary delight for food enthusiasts, one exceptional dish at a time.


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