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  • Writer's pictureJarnard Sutton

New contemporary Italian spot opens up in Hillcrest

New destination restaurant, Maestoso, has open its doors on University Avenue in Hillcrest and is led by Chef Marco Maestoso of celebrated New York City pop-up dinners and Rome’s leading restaurant. Maestoso is unique in its menu and concept, which surprisingly features no servers which means the chefs will visit guests’ tables in place of regular restaurant service staff.

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Maestoso is an intensely chef-driven restaurant that will introduce new Italian concepts such as pinsa and passaggi to San Diego’s dining scene.Maestoso is the aptly-named project of chef-owner Marco Maestoso, who has found global success while cooking for former Italian President Giorgio Napolitano and Donatella Versace. An alumnus of Rome, Italy’s prestigious Gambero Rosso culinary school, while living in New York City in 2013 Chef Marco was praised by national media for his series of sold out pop-up dinners served in his small apartment. In 2015, he opened his first restaurant Casa Maestoso, which spent more than five months in the number one spot on Trip Advisor’s list of the more than ten-thousand restaurants in Rome. New restaurant Maestoso will lightly model its predecessor while simultaneously embracing San Diego’s laid back dining culture.“I am very enthusiastic about this new adventure in beautiful San Diego. Our main goal as a culinary team is to educate the community through our Italian cooking techniques and deep daily study on how we treat Mother Earth’s products. This new concept has huge potential and will be lots of fun for both us and our guests,” said Chef Marco Maestoso.

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Maestoso is co-founded by Chef Marco’s longtime partner Dalila Ercolani, with whom he moved to San Diego in 2017, as well as childhood friends Christopher Antinucci and Giulia Colmignoli, well known throughout San Diego for their successful Napizza restaurant group, and Christopher’s brother and professional race car driver Richard Antinucci. “I am happy to be working with such talented individuals like Dalila and Marco and am sure that they will bring a breath of fresh air to the culinary scene here in San Diego,” said Christopher Antinucci. “I’ve always wanted to increase the representation of Roman food in San Diego as I feel like so far it hasn’t been represented to its full potential on the full service side. I think Maestoso will do just that.”

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Maestoso will be open daily at 4:30 p.m. and will debut novel concepts alongside comfort food favorites in a four-part menu comprised of (1) pinsa, the Roman ancestor of pizza blending rice and wheat flour for a lighter, crunchy bite (2) build-your-own fresh pastas like tagliatelle, ziti and pici (3) house favorites such as smokey beef tartare and cherry pork tenderloin, and (4) Chef Marco’s own innovation: the Italian concept of passaggi, translating to “to pass by” and equating to daily chef’s whims offered directly by the chefs to guests’ tables. Notably, passaggi will round out Chef Marco’s ambitions for a true chef-to-table dining concept, complimented by Italian wines and San Diego craft beers.

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Maestoso’s 2,000+ square foot interior will be centrally anchored by an open kitchen where Chef Marco and fellow chefs will create each day’s fresh fare in view of guests. A warm, modern industrial design complete with an open island kitchen, a copper accented wine display, and a majestic chandelier will span the indoor dining room, which will seat up to sixty guests. Outside, a 1,000 square foot wraparound patio featuring a fire pit will seat up to thirty guests.


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1040 University Ave., Ste B101, Hilllcrest. (619) 642-0777 or

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