Delicious Italian Cuisine at Pernicano's Ristorante

Enjoy Delicious Italian Cuisine at Pernicano's

Pernicano's Ristorante

Photos by Tina Pernicano

Family owned, Pernicano’s Ristorante is the place to go if you are craving some amazing Italian food. Local to San Diego, this Italian restaurant offers authentic homemade food and a great local history akin to the Italian history of their ancestors. 

Since Ancient Roman times, places have existed for people to gather and eat food, to “restore” themselves with “sustenance” for a price. These original restaurants primarily served soup and bread in a bowl built into the counter with a plate of bread. Think a Pasta e Faggioli, of sorts. At the ancient archeological site Herculaneum, near Naples, there are two separate places that visitors can look, touch, and learn about these “ancient restaurants.” Herculaneum, though lesser known, was perfectly preserved under layers of soot, ash, and mud, which supported and preserved much of the Ancient Roman city. Needless to say, the Italians have been in the restaurant business for centuries upon centuries and have quite a bit of experience.

Pernicanos is no different. They have experience, history, and they are Italian. George Pernicano is one twelve children, eleven boys and one girl, and had pioneered pizza here in the San Diego area. Having come from Detroit in a wind-up car, he opened the first Pernicano’s Ristorante some seventy years ago. Tina Pernicano, granddaughter of George, says, "We were the first to throw a pizza in the air, here in San Diego.” Though George came from Detroit, the Pernicano’s pizza is more of a New York Style pizza: thin crust, not deep dish. Their original location was on University Ave, Hillcrest; eventually Pernicano’s expanded again, and they have since tripled in size. Larry Pernicano, one of George’s twin boys, runs the Pernicano’s Ristorante on Mercy Road. 

If you think all Italian cuisine is the same, you're wrong. The type of cooking and way the food is prepared differs from region to region. Before Italy became Italia as we know it today, it was once comprised of numerous different republics. For quite some time, techniques and recipes were passed along from generation to generation. It wasn’t until after World War II that things became more universal and blended throughout Italy. Southern Italian foods are what most Americans think of when they crave Italian food: pizza, pasta, and red sauce. 

Pernicano's Ristorante

The Pernicano family traces both their heritage and the cooking style back to Sicily, an island in the south of Italy, right at the toe of the boot. It's the Sicilian area and culture that the atmosphere and food at Pernicano’s Ristorante is reminiscent of, says Tina Pernicano as we talked about her family’s history and their restaurant. “All of our Sauces are made from scratch,” she proudly states. “We have our traditional marinara sauce, we do Alfredo, we have a pink sauce, we even have a chipotle sauce. And, of course, a pesto sauce.” Not only do they make their sauces from scratch, they also make their fresh rolls from scratch and all of the dough that they use for their pizzas too. 

Italian food is an art, and if not done right, it just falls flat and leaves you disappointed. However, with experience and dedication to their craft, the Pernicano’s send out nothing but the best to the tables of their customers. If you've ever been to Italy, Pernicano’s will take you back there in just one bite.  

Tina Pernicano shared with me that many customers rave about their Lasagna, Homemade Meatballs, the Peppered Chicken with Peppered Gravy Sauce, and (of course) their pizza. Pernicano’s does offer gluten free dishes, so speak with your server if you have any dietary restrictions.