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Italian olives, smoked mozzarella, and roast beef

No pizza, but Buona Forchetta's wine bar makes a good sandwich

House-made roast beef on Buona Forchetta flatbread, with splashes of balsamic vinegar
House-made roast beef on Buona Forchetta flatbread, with splashes of balsamic vinegar

When word broke last year that the hip Italian restaurant in my neighborhood was opening a bodega on the same block, it primed me for a 2018 anticipating all the authentic, imported delights it would bring. In all my musings about how great it would be to have Roman pizza and take-home pasta sauces a short walk from home, it never once occurred to me that my first big takeaway would be a roast beef sandwich.

Place

Enoteca Buona Forchetta

3011 Beech St, San Diego

Not that I’m complaining.

Enoteca Buona Forchetta sits just two doors down from the original Buona Forchetta, the South Park restaurant so popular, even my dog expects to find a thick crowd of diners waiting outside when we pass by on our evening walks.

The largest of several varieties of olive served and sold at Enoteca Buona Forchetta

The word enoteca roughly translates to ‘wine bar,’ so there was never any doubt the place would offer a selection of Italian wines. It makes sense Buona Forchetta would open such a bar close by. An evening table at the restaurant usually requires an hour or longer wait, so diners habitually cross the street for drinks while they wait: beers at South Park Brewing Co. or cocktails at vegan restaurant Bar Kindred. Now, the hostess can steer them to the Enoteca for wines and Italian appetizers.

A wine bar and Italian market now open in South Park

The news out of last year was that the new sister shop would offer Roman-style pizza, baked in long rectangles and cut into slices with scissors. That rumor has not materialized. Enoteca has a small dining room and even smaller kitchen, and they tell me the Roman pizza will instead be made and served at the Buona Forchetta bakery slated to open elsewhere in South Park, at the site of the old Rebecca’s Coffee House.

Buona Forchetta's new wine bar sits two doors down from the original.

Buona Forchetta pizza dough and take-home sauces would purportedly be on the menu, but while that may eventually be the case, they aren’t yet. You can buy plenty of packaged Italian pastas in a bevy of shapes, and jarred marinara and cans of imported tomatoes. Such items will get you started making authentically Italian dishes in your own kitchen, along with other market items out of the bar’s glass counter: Italian deli meats and cheeses, plus pickled garnishes including olives, artichokes, and the classic spicy vegetable mix, giardiniera. There’s even a large variety of cerignola olives ($8/lb.); while buttery and crisp, bite gently, because the pit is huge.

The meats and cheeses compose most of the food menu. You may order tasting boards of selecting three meats and cheeses each ($12.99) or five each ($15.99). Meats include imported prosciutto, porchetta, and bresaola; cheeses include smoked mozzarella, pecorino, and brie. Any of the above may be ordered in sandwiches.

The place is open for breakfast from Wednesday to Sunday, making use of an espresso machine and house baked pastries, and I enjoyed a simple yet delicious chocolate croissant. But my favorite so far has been that roast beef sandwich. Though not what I expected, it starts as all Enoteca’s paninis do, with oven-charred flatbread cut from Buona Forchetta pizza dough, which is always satisfying for teeth to tear into. Unlike the imported deli meats, this beef is roasted in-house. It’s got deep yet mellow umami, a nice pink center, and comes thinly sliced on that bread along with avocado, arugula, provolone, cheese, and splashes of balsamic vinegar.

My dog will probably get used to me walking past the crowd to grab this $7.99 sandwich.

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House-made roast beef on Buona Forchetta flatbread, with splashes of balsamic vinegar
House-made roast beef on Buona Forchetta flatbread, with splashes of balsamic vinegar

When word broke last year that the hip Italian restaurant in my neighborhood was opening a bodega on the same block, it primed me for a 2018 anticipating all the authentic, imported delights it would bring. In all my musings about how great it would be to have Roman pizza and take-home pasta sauces a short walk from home, it never once occurred to me that my first big takeaway would be a roast beef sandwich.

Place

Enoteca Buona Forchetta

3011 Beech St, San Diego

Not that I’m complaining.

Enoteca Buona Forchetta sits just two doors down from the original Buona Forchetta, the South Park restaurant so popular, even my dog expects to find a thick crowd of diners waiting outside when we pass by on our evening walks.

The largest of several varieties of olive served and sold at Enoteca Buona Forchetta

The word enoteca roughly translates to ‘wine bar,’ so there was never any doubt the place would offer a selection of Italian wines. It makes sense Buona Forchetta would open such a bar close by. An evening table at the restaurant usually requires an hour or longer wait, so diners habitually cross the street for drinks while they wait: beers at South Park Brewing Co. or cocktails at vegan restaurant Bar Kindred. Now, the hostess can steer them to the Enoteca for wines and Italian appetizers.

A wine bar and Italian market now open in South Park

The news out of last year was that the new sister shop would offer Roman-style pizza, baked in long rectangles and cut into slices with scissors. That rumor has not materialized. Enoteca has a small dining room and even smaller kitchen, and they tell me the Roman pizza will instead be made and served at the Buona Forchetta bakery slated to open elsewhere in South Park, at the site of the old Rebecca’s Coffee House.

Buona Forchetta's new wine bar sits two doors down from the original.

Buona Forchetta pizza dough and take-home sauces would purportedly be on the menu, but while that may eventually be the case, they aren’t yet. You can buy plenty of packaged Italian pastas in a bevy of shapes, and jarred marinara and cans of imported tomatoes. Such items will get you started making authentically Italian dishes in your own kitchen, along with other market items out of the bar’s glass counter: Italian deli meats and cheeses, plus pickled garnishes including olives, artichokes, and the classic spicy vegetable mix, giardiniera. There’s even a large variety of cerignola olives ($8/lb.); while buttery and crisp, bite gently, because the pit is huge.

The meats and cheeses compose most of the food menu. You may order tasting boards of selecting three meats and cheeses each ($12.99) or five each ($15.99). Meats include imported prosciutto, porchetta, and bresaola; cheeses include smoked mozzarella, pecorino, and brie. Any of the above may be ordered in sandwiches.

The place is open for breakfast from Wednesday to Sunday, making use of an espresso machine and house baked pastries, and I enjoyed a simple yet delicious chocolate croissant. But my favorite so far has been that roast beef sandwich. Though not what I expected, it starts as all Enoteca’s paninis do, with oven-charred flatbread cut from Buona Forchetta pizza dough, which is always satisfying for teeth to tear into. Unlike the imported deli meats, this beef is roasted in-house. It’s got deep yet mellow umami, a nice pink center, and comes thinly sliced on that bread along with avocado, arugula, provolone, cheese, and splashes of balsamic vinegar.

My dog will probably get used to me walking past the crowd to grab this $7.99 sandwich.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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