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Civico 1845 Owners Partner With Michelin-Starred Calbrian Chefs For Incoming Il Dandy Ristorante | Modern Italian Restaurant Set To Unveil In Bankers Hill On May 10

May 4, 2019

We broke the news last year that the family behind Little Italy's popular Civico 1845 had plans for a new upscale "Calabria meets San Diego" restaurant concept in partnership with father-and-son chefs behind a Michelin Star awarded Italy-based eatery. After much anticipation, the $3 million Il Dandy modern Italian dining destination is set to grand open in San Diego's Bankers Hill community on Friday, May 10.

For San Diego's incoming Il Dandy, the founding family of Little Italy's Civico 1845 (Eugenio and brothers Dario & Pietro Gallo), who hail from the city of Cosenza in the Calabria region of Southern Italy, have partnered with father and son chefs Antonio and Luca Abbruzzino of Ristorante Abbruzzino, the first spot from Italy’s Calabria to be awarded a Michelin star. Il Dandy will be a modern, seafood-focused Italian eatery with dishes that combine Italian and Southern Californian influences, including a menu devoted to plant-based options like that found at Civico 1845, only less extensive. The new restaurant takes up nearly 7,000 square feet of space on the ground floor of the iconic Mister A's building, offering an Italian art deco design with 150 seats and a wrap-around patio set to open this June just in time for summer.

Luca and Antonio Abbruzzino
This is not the first time the Calabrian natives collaborated in San Diego. In January 2017, Civico 1845 hosted the Abbruzzinos to help revamp the restaurant's menu, including incorporating more imported ingredients from Italy like the famed Calabrian chile peppers, red Tropea onions, San Marzano tomatoes, Campania’s buffalo mozzarella and more.

"The collaboration has been a long time coming," explained Dario Gallo, who serves as general manager for Civico 1845. "The Abbruzzinos share our passion for the authentic cuisine of our home."

The Abbruzzinos received their first Michelin star in 2014 and have since received it every year after, for Antonio Abbruzzino - a modern Italian restaurant in Catanzaro, the capital city of the Calabria. Luca Abbruzzino was also named "Best Young Chef" in the 2016 L'Espresso Guide. The Abbruzzinos also opened a new restaurant in Milan, Ristorante Abbruzzino, in December 2016. Civico 1845 owners and brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo have been close with the Abbruzzino family for years.

Milk, chamomile and loquats dessert
The 'Il Dandy' name refers to a sharply dressed gentleman with refined tastes, and that is exactly the type of clientele that the new restaurant hopes to attract. The upscale eatery aims to embody the modernity of Italian cuisine, offering a menu of elegantly plated dishes that combine Calabrian and local ingredients. The team behind Il Dandy wants to reinvent what San Diegans think of Italian cuisine, rejecting heavy sauces for an emphasis on fresh ingredients and lighter dishes. Expect luxuries like tableside tastings of cold-pressed olive oils, risotto made-to-order, fresh from the sea delicacies, and an extensive bar program highlighting natural and biodynamic wines, fashionable Italian craft cocktails and homemade digestivos like limoncello and grappa.

Il Dandy will also offer a unique version of a chef's table experience. Housed in its own room and dubbed as its own restaurant within a restaurant, Arama will be its own intimate experience available for only 6 diners at a time for two servings per evening with a 12-course price fixed menu featuring upscale Calabrian dishes.  Arama will be decorated to look like a miniature version of Milan's Ristorante Abbruzzino with decor set in hues of greens and blues with deco accents and plush furnishings. Arama aims to unveil within the first month of opening.

If all goes as planned, Il Dandy is expected to open on Friday, May 10, at 2550 Fifth Avenue, Suite 120, in San Diego's Bankers Hill neighborhood. For more information and to make a reservation, visit ildandyrestaurant.com.