These spots depend on return business and don’t have a vista to distract from any weaknesses. La Taverna is snuggled between a dry cleaners and a shoe repair shop at 927 Silverado Street (858-454-0100) and it’s one of my favorite places to eat.
The tiny restaurant offers only a half dozen tables inside and about the same number on a sidewalk patio. The menu of Italian comfort food includes grilled salmon on white bean salad (my favorite), pan-roasted shrimp with garlic and arugula-basil pesto, Parmesan chicken on roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and other satisfying dishes.
At La Taverna, everything is made on site, including wonderful bread, sausages, and gnocchi. If you go, leave room for dessert. The restaurant’s multi-layer banana cake is the stuff of legends. Lunch is served Monday – Friday and dinner is Monday – Saturday.
Chef/Proprietor Mary Ann Vitale also owns Sorella della Taverna (7420 Girard Ave., La Jolla, 858-866-6400), a deli where locals load up on items such as eggplant lasagna, penne pasta, and grilled vegetables. She also offers salads, sandwiches, and pizza. This gourmet-to-go spot is the perfect place for assembling an extraordinary picnic. They’re open 10-5 Monday – Friday during the summer. Best to call for winter hours.