LAVO San Diego has a large space with windows to let in the sunlight. Stay through nightfall and you'll witness the restaurant transform. Much like the sun setting, the dining room lights dim every once in a while until you're left with a lowlight. You can hear the restaurant buzzing with life; the chatter hums through the 15-foot high ceilings. LAVO San Diego guests include couples on dates, groups of friends, some trios. At the large bar area, a barstool sits between one man in a black suit, black socks, and black loafers and one man blue t-shirt, blue jeans, and flip flops. LAVO San Diego doors open at 5 pm every evening. Come for LAVO's playful cocktails and dinner. Enjoy the evening and stay until 11 pm, or 12 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Cheers!

LAVO San Diego Italian Restaurant the meatball downtown gaslamp Carmen Varner food writer
LAVO San Diego serves up cocktails and food until 12 am on Friday and Saturday.

LAVO Italian Restaurant in Downtown San Diego

The restaurant is located in Downtown San Diego at 611 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101, LAVO Italian restaurant serves appetizers, salads, brick oven pizzas, housemade pastas, specialty cocktails, and more. 

The dining room area has 235 seats. Tao Group Hospitality Chief Culinary Officer Ralph Scamardella created a menu of dishes to delight your tastebuds. Popular items include the delicious pasta truffle dish, Truffle Ricotta Cavatelli, truffle fries, 20-layer chocolate cake with peanut butter mascarpone. Learn more on their website!

There are many fantastic restaurants, eateries, and bars in the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp is a lively neighborhood with artisan markets, live music, skate Sundays during the summer, and so much more. 

LAVO San Diego Italian Restaurant chopped antipasto salad
Pictured here are the chopped antipasto salad, the garlic bread, and The Meatball from LAVO Italian restaurant.

interior LAVO downtown San Diego Italian Restaurant Carmen Varner travel writer


On the LAVO restaurant San Diego menu, you can find popular appetizers such as the Baked Clams Oreganata made with Littleneck Clams, toasted breadcrumbs, and garlic butter or the garlic bread that comes with three types of dipping sauces: Basil Pesto, Marinara, and Gorgonzola Dolce. As a garlic lover, I loved the garlic bread as well as the variety of sauces to dip it in. If you enjoy the acquired taste that is Gorgonzola, you will love that sauce. I also tried the tuna tartare made with diced yellowfin tuna, avocado, crispy garlic, black olive dressing, and little crispy crackers. 

one pound Wagyu The Meatball LAVO San Diego Italian Restaurant Carmen Varner travel writer

The Meatball

The Meatball is the noticeable one pound Wagyu meatball served with marinara and a creamy fresh whipped ricotta. The Meatball is photo-worthy and video-worthy, perfect for foodies and anyone who loves head-turning food. The meat is tender, moist, flavorful, and almost melts into your mouth.


The chopped antipasto salad has gem lettuce, a variety of Italian cured meats, provolone, artichokes, roasted peppers, pepperoncini, marinated mushrooms, green beans, cherry tomatoes as well as the Creamy Italian Dressing. 

House Specialties

Then there are the house specialties like the Chicken Marsala or the grilled branzino with heirloom tomato, Panzanella, and salsa verde.


Savor the flavor of housemade pasta. If you like truffle, mushroom, and pasta then you really can't go wrong with the Truffle Ricotta Cavatelli. This truffle pasta dish is decadent and scrumptious. Made with crema, mushroom ragu, and shaved truffle.

Brick Oven Pizzas

Brick oven pizzas are known for the char flecks, the texture, the taste. They make a statement, especially if you love pizza crust. LAVO Italian restaurant San Diego serves pizzas such as the Angry Maria with Calabrian chili, tomato, vodka sauce, basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella cheese.


Notable desserts include the tiramisu or the 20 Layer Chocolate Cake made of chocolate devil’s food cake and peanut butter mascarpone.


Reviewers talk about the Sicilian Cartel with Dos Hombres Mezcal, fresh lime, egg white, and grapefruit cordial. I tried the Amalfi G N'T with Malfy Gin, Fever Tree Tonic, Italicus Bergamont, juniper, laurel bay, and lemon, delightfully botanical!

LAVO San Diego Italian Restaurant the meatball downtown gaslamp Carmen Varner food writer


  • LAVO San Diego Address: 611 Fifth Ave, San Diego, CA 92101
  • Phone number: (619) 762-5286 
  • Chief Culinary Officer Ralph Scamardella
  • Find it located in the city's historic Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego
  • Popular items at LAVO San Diego include the truffle cavatelli, the truffle fries, and garlic bread.
  • LAVO Website
Reviewers say they've come to LAVO for their husband's birthday, moms birthday dinner celebration, date night, group dinner, self-care solo dinner, and generally have a wonderful time hanging out at the restaurant. Based in a prime corner of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, this restaurant aims to serve a vibe led dining experience with the absolute warmest welcome. Their food and decor come with a Southern Californian flair. People say they had such a special occasion, perfectly cooked seafood, sizeable food portions, and loved the food, especially The Meatball.

Looking for other food options in San Diego County? I talk about some food options in this article about Things to Do at Mission Bay San Diego. Windmill Food Hall in Carlsbad, California has a variety of vendors. I cover Encinitas coffee shops here. And of course, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google have heaps of information too.

What's your favorite item to order at LAVO? Have you been to the Lavo Las Vegas location?