University Heights' Short-Lived Basilicò La Pizzeria Rebrands To Become Al Dente Italian Restaurant

December 5, 2022

After only a year in business, Basilicò La Pizzeria shuttered in the space that long housed Pizzeria Bruno in San Diego's University Heights and has reopened as Al Dente Italian restaurant.

Basilicò La Pizzeria was the product of an experienced team of Italian restaurateurs, including Giancarlo Guttilla, Alfredo Piraino, Mario Liga, and pizzaiolo Vincenzo Palumbo. Last fall, the crew leased the space that housed Pizzeria Bruno for 12 years and renovating the building with the addition of an impressive back patio space. 

Half the team that founded Basilicò La Pizzeria, Giancarlo Guttilla and Mario Liga, made the decision earlier this year to partner with the owners of RustiCucina in Hillcrest to rebrand the concept and recently reopened as Al Dente Southern Italian restaurant. The restaurant is no longer a pizzeria, and rather, serves a menu of homemade pasta and elevated entrees centered around wild game meat like bison, duck and elk. Highlights from the menu include bison tartare with capers, onions, lemon zest and quail egg; braised duck pappardelle in a light red wine sauce with Parmesan cheese; and a porcini crusted elk chop served with herb potato puree and Madera berry reduction sauce. From the bar, there is a curated wine list, local & Italian beers, and wine cocktails.

Al Dente Italian restaurant is now open at 4207 Park Boulevard on the border of San Diego's University Heights and North Park neighborhoods. For more information, visit and check out the menu below.