Busalacchi Restaurant Group Opens Lala In San Diego's Little Italy

February 5, 2024

A founding family behind San Diego's Little Italy neighborhood, the Busalacchis have opened Lala Italian gastropub next door to sister restaurant Barbusa.

A Sicilian immigrant who moved to San Diego as a young boy, Joe Busalacchi took a leap of faith on Little Italy's then-desolate India Street in 1984 when he opened Trattoria Fantastica. Now, 40 years and many successful restaurants later, including Barbusa, Nonna, and Zucchero in Little Italy, Joe Busalacchi along with his two sons, Joey and PJ, are ready to unveil their fourth restaurant in San Diego's top dining neighborhood.
Earlier this year, the Busalacchis took over the 1,500 square-foot space that last housed a pet supply and grooming business sited directly next door to their Barbusa restaurant on India Street to open Lala. At Lala, Executive Chef Nino Zizzo has created a scratch-made menu of twenty or so dishes. Expect items like a slow-simmered cioppino, savory veal Parmigiana, Lala caviar blinis with crème fraiche, steak tartare with chicharrones, "loaded potato" gnocchi, a decadent New York Strip, a baked ziti draped in cheese, and Lala’s signature dessert, Busa Tiramisu with layers of martini-soaked lady fingers, mascarpone, and chocolate served in a martini glass.
Designed by Taylor Shaffer of LPA Design Studio and a former founding partner of Open Gym, the 60-seat space presents Italian charm with a plush dining room, a sheltered garden patio, and wrap-around cocktail bar. From the bar, there is a cocktail list with nine modern classics, a trio of Barrel-aged cocktails, a handful of boutique wines and craft beers including non-alcoholic varieties.
Lala is now open from 5-11pm nightly at 1919 India Street in San Diego's Little Italy. For more information, visit lalasd.com and check out the full menu below.