Pacific Beach’s restaurant scene has been up and coming for a while from The Patio on Lamont to Firehouse. The cuisine has kicked up notch from bar grub to a California gourmet flare.
PB also incorporates culturally cuisine including North PB’s latest establishment: Ambrogio 15. Founded by Andrea Burrone, Giacomo Pizzigoni and Luca Salvi, they sure do have a passion for pizza!
They base their entire concept on the storytelling of the concept itself and of the products and ingredients. Guests will always find Giacomo and his partners, Andrea and Luca, talking and explaining everything in a fun way that introduces guests to new ways of dining they’ve likely never experienced.
Ambrogio 15 offers a unique place to enjoy superior pizza and taste small production foods that San Diego has never seen. When guests dine at Ambrogio15 they go on a “cultural food trip” of sorts as they learn about and experience the biodiversity of Italy.
I had the pleasure of having their Ahi Seared Salad to start and the Burrata e Prosciutto Crudo Pizza and chatted with co-founder Giacomo Pizzigoni.
Seared Ahi Salad
Natalie Neece: What made you open a restaurant in Pacific Beach?
Giacomo Pizzigoni: Two years ago, when we began working on the Ambrogio15 project, we spotted a huge gap in San Diego’s Italian food market, in particular pizza, so we created a concept that would fill that gap and would be unique and innovative. I used to live in Pacific Beach when I was studying for my MBA at SDSU, and I saw the opportunity for a new Italian food concept so I thought, “I know the PB market and have a big network here; why not open the first location here?” We were lucky to find a spot in North PB, which was perfect because this helps us target both the PB and the La Jolla crowds.
NN: What is the overall concept for Ambrogio15?
GP: We refer to Ambrogio15 as “The Milano Pizza Experience.” It’s a gourmet pizza concept that elevates pizza to a fine dining level by experimenting with the most sophisticated Italian ingredients to create original recipes, making it San Diego’s first real Pizza Experience. We believe Ambrogio15 to be the first authentic Italian restaurant in San Diego to combine pizza with a modern, cool design. The latter was crafted in Milano by famous architect Roberto Giussani in collaboration with Italian graphic designer Massimiliano Patrignani. Milano is the third most visited European city and the world capital of design and architecture, and we thought it was about time someone introduced its contemporary, modern ambience to San Diego’s Italian restaurant scene.
NN: What makes Ambrogio15 unique compared other Italian restaurants?
GP: Ambrogio15’s design and ambience guarantee you won’t see any of the typical pictures of Alberto Sordi or Sophia Lauren found standard Italian restaurants, nor you will listen to Pavarotti or Frank Sinatra. Instead, guests see modern designs on our walls that tell the story of Milano, and they hear modern lounge music.
Another aspect that separates us from other Italian restaurants is the care and attention we pay to the selection of the products. We source almost everything from small production, sustainable farmers in Italy. We are the first restaurant in the county to offer biodynamic, 100% natural small production wines that come from a consortium of biodynamic Italian winemakers called CoViBio. These wines ferment in a natural way without any chemical yeast, the grapes are handpicked and selected one by one, the temperature is not controlled and the wines are not filtered, which results in a product that really showcases its terroir. Between wines and food, we cover most of the Italian regions and are able to express the incredible biodiversity of the country.
Finally, we base our entire concept on the storytelling of the concept itself and of the products and ingredients. Guests will always find me and my two partners, Andrea and Luca, talking and explaining everything in a fun way that introduces guests to new ways of dining they’ve likely never experienced.
NN: What inspires your menu items?
GP: Our menu is entirely inspired by the slow food movement. We select only the best Italian products and we import the wines ourselves, having spent two years visiting several of the best small-scale producers in Italy to better understand their work, their agricultural techniques and their passion. We are also inspired by many of the top pizza chefs in Milano right now; in particular we learned a lot from one of the most famous dough-pizza chefs in northern Italy, Riccardo Scaioli. He is a real genius with dough.
NN: What is next for Ambrogio15?
Right now our focus is on delivering what we promise: the best pizza experience in San Diego. We work hard every day to come up with new ideas so that customers always have something new and interesting to try. We’re always finding new sustainable small farmers to complement our Italian menu and will continue to source more ingredients, particular produce, from local farms and purveyors. We hope to have a positive impact on this area and, once we’re established, we will bring the concept and its high quality products to new markets.