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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

In the Kitchen with Nino Zizzo of Barbusa

The Busalacchi family is at it again! Celebrating its one-year anniversary, Barbusa, located in Little Italy, are putting a spin on modern Sicilian food. With the help of executive chef Nino Zizzo, this stylish Italian restaurant is bringing Southern Italian favorites to the menu such as the Carbonara Con Piselli dish.

Carbonara Con Piselli


Fettuccini, Sweet Peas, Caramelized Onions, Pancetta, Farm Fresh Egg Yolk

What's the story behind adding this dish to the menu?

We wanted to create an italian classic dish, but with our own Sicilian flair which is where the peas come in. A traditional dish in Sicilian cooking is eggs and peas which is where the inspiration comes from in creating that dish. What's the key component to this dish?

Our fresh, house made fettuccine is a key component of the dish, as well as the inclusion of the egg, which makes the pancetta flavors really shine.

Describe the taste to someone who hasn't had this dish.

You’ll experience a savory, saltiness up front from the pancetta, which then becomes a silky smooth cream finish to go out on.

What's a good beer and/or cocktail to pair with this dish?

Our Siciliano cocktail is what you need.

Watch as executive chef Nino Zizzo shares his Carbonara Con Piselli dish.

What kind of experience will a diner get at Barbusa?

We pride ourselves on having a very modern, chic environment with a friendly warm atmosphere.

About Nino Zizzo

Are you from San Diego?

I’ve lived my entire life in San Diego, but my parents were born and raised in Sicily.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My Uncle Joe, who at the time was the owner and executive chef of his first restaurant, Busalacchi's, in Hillcrest.

What has your journey been like leading up your current position at Barbusa?

I’ve been cooking since the age of 18, working primarily for my Uncle Joe, though I ventured off and opened my own restaurants for about 10 years.

What is your favorite dish on Barbusa's menu?

The Pasta Pallina.

What motivates you as a chef?

Seeing people enjoy something I’ve created.

What's your favorite ingredient to cook with?


What is one culinary trend you're noticing in San Diego?

Small Plates.

What do you feel is the biggest challenge when it comes creating new dishes?

To be innovative while still paying homage to the classics.

When you're not coming up with delicious dishes, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?



1917 India St., (619) 238-1917 or

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