Amici's in La Jolla

On Sunday I was fortunate to be invited to private pre-grand opening of Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria in La Jolla, their first So Cal outlet for this Nor Cal favorite. Amici’s is located in downtown La Jolla on Prospect Street, which initially made me question the parking opportunities (since they are often few and far between in La Jolla), it was no problem! With their location a tad south of the heart of the village, parking was easy to find even on a Sunday afternoon.

As I arrived, I walked in to a warm-hearted, friendly, contemporary atmosphere and a “Hi Holly!” from Peter Cooperstein – the only person I knew. I met Peter through Gilroy Garlic Festival contacts and see him maybe once a year, so it was so welcoming to be recognized and greeted right away. I felt like a superstar!

Next I was introduced to a few people including Richard who gave me a “behind the scenes” tour of the revamped, refurbished, repurposed kitchen and catering area – there was a dedicated staff just to make dough balls! (I wanted to take one home, but maybe next time.) Next stop the dining room, wait until you see the outdoor patio it is fabulous with a beautiful southern exposure view and a glimpse of the ocean (as it should be in La Jolla.)

This visit to Amici’s was supposed to be a “date” with HH, but unfortunately duty called so I went solo. At this point I was seated, and I have to say I have never dined along. I have actually avoided dining alone in restaurants in that past, but this was okay. Both Pete and Richard joined me at different points to visit about San Diego/La Jolla and what brought them to this location.

As my lunch arrived, I enjoyed Spicy Pepper Chicken Pizza and Spinach Salad. The pizza with sliced chicken breast, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, cilantro, oregano and hot red pepper flakes was delicious. But the highlight, that spinach salad. That was the best spinach salad I have ever had, hands down. The salad had the traditional elements, but the bacon was in mini strips so it was actually recognizable! Then the Feta and the pine nuts, oh my gosh! Delicious!

My server, Alison, talked me into dessert (I really didn’t need it, since I finished all my lunch not saving a morsel for HH), a delicious white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Thanks Alison for convincing me to indulge.

So as impressed as I was with everything from the parking situation to the patio, to the hospitality and the warmth of the restaurant, from the pizza to the amazing spinach salad I was most impressed with something I didn’t even partake in – the gluten-free pizza menu. One of the tell-tale parts of a pizza is the crust. If you don’t have a good crust you don’t have a good pizza. And what is the cornerstone of pizza crust? Flour. So the option to have pizza with a gluten-free crust is amazing. When you sit down at the table, you are presented with two menus – one traditional and one gluten-free. I have friends who have kids with severe food allergies and dining out is almost impossible. I’m recommending Amici’s to them and hope that they have a more successful dining out experience than in the past.

By the way, my photos are limited as I was having issues with my camera. It turns out it was operator error, if I had had my rhinestone readers I would have been fine! Apparently this presents an opportunity to visit Amici’s again soon now that they are open to the public (as of today) and taste more, and successfully snap a few more photos. Stay tuned…

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