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Charisma Cucina Italiana

#483 of 3,791 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
$$ - $$$
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142 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-3000
+1 619-209-3636
11:30 - 14:30
17:00 - 22:00
Closed now
See all hours
Sun 16:30 - 21:30
Sun - Mon 11:30 - 14:30
Mon 17:00 - 22:00
Wed - Fri 11:30 - 14:30
Wed - Sat 17:00 - 22:00
More Info
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48 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Showing 43: English reviews
Fox Lake, Illinois
Level Contributor
21 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 weeks ago

This is a cozy, family-run restaurant with excellent food. We had two pasta dishes, steak, and a stuffed chicken entree. The lasagna and stuffed chicken were especially good, the steak was so so. The portions were large, so we ended up with leftovers enough for 2-3 more meals. The owner served us, and was very gracious. The wine menu is... More 

Thank Scott60020
Level Contributor
48 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2016 via mobile

We were visiting the area for a conference and ordered takeout via Grubhub. It was absolutely delicious. The penne sauce my son ordered was robust without overpowering, my husband barely said a word because he was so busy enjoying the lasagna and the ribbon pasta with sausage and cream sauce was scrumptious. (Coming from southern Va this was reminiscent of... More 

Thank pettalk
isle of Palms, SC
Level Contributor
113 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 August 2016 via mobile

We found this authentic Italian place on TripAdvisor, which was founded and run by real Italians from the Amalfi coast. Real Italian food, Italian wines, made and served by real Italians! What's not to like! We happened to go on a Monday night, which is half price wine night on bottles less than $40. We lucked out! We had caprese... More 

Thank love2live4ever
Stateline, Nevada
Level Contributor
404 reviews
266 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 April 2016

We have eaten here each time we visit San Diego. The meals never disappoint. We ate at two restaurants during our brief stay and both were very good. My granddaughter rated CC the best. Probably a 10 and the other restaurant was a 9 It is out of the Gaslamp/hotel area but well worth a visit. Parking is tough so... More 

Thank sunnski
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 March 2016 via mobile

Had dinner numerous time at this little gem in Hillcrest. In my opinion, hands down this is San Diego best value. Friendly staff, great selection of wine really well priced. Start with either the calamari or the buffalo mozzarella with prosciutto and arugula.The Cioppino (for 2) , the black squid ink pasta, and the lamb ragout pappardelle are simply exceptional.... More 

Thank David M
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 March 2016 via mobile

The Mrs and I fancied some Italian for dinner while on holiday in San Diego. Being from Italy myself originally, I find it hard to be wholly satisfied when you go to the " wannabes ". We had the best Italian meal we could have wished for. It reminded me of home. The older gentleman, which looked like was running... More 

Thank Ogiovane1
West Chester, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
75 reviews
58 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 March 2016 via mobile

Small Euro style bistro in busy area. Friendly family operation that gives patrons their full attention. Varied wine list. Menu offerings are not your typical Italo-American but unique and authentic. Somewhat tight seating and a little noisy when crowded but the friendliness of the owners and the food make up for that. Satisfying and very reasonably priced for what you... More 

Thank r k
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
133 reviews
99 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 31 January 2016

We were walking by this little spot and thought we'd give it a try. Location is great....small place and they have a sidewalk section of tables. The service was warm and welcoming, but a little slow. They served a complimentary bowl of fried puffed dough with red sauce. It was tasty, but it almost stopped us from getting appetizers. Glad... More 

Thank LLJ56
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 August 2015

This is a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that it would be easy to miss, next to a raucous bar on the corner. But it serves really great Italian food; friends who know tell me its authentic. I had the eggplant parmigiana, and it came as a sort of lasagna--but with thin slices of eggplant instead of pasta. Delicious! One of my... More 

3 Thank Susan M
San Diego, CA
Level Contributor
61 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2015 via mobile

This is my favorite Italian restaurant in San Diego. It's located in Hillcrest and walkable to all the stores, movie theatre, bars and nightlife there. It just changed ownership. I loved it before but now it's even better. The owner hales from Naples and it's a family run business. They are super nice. Their sauce is delicious, the chicken parmessn... More 

Thank cblaiz

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Restaurant Details

Rating summary
  • Food
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Average prices
US$15 - US$25
Lunch, Dinner
Restaurant features
Delivery, Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Digital Payments, Accepts Discover, Reservations
Good for
Open Hours
11:30 - 14:30
16:30 - 21:30
11:30 - 14:30
17:00 - 22:00
11:30 - 14:30
17:00 - 22:00
11:30 - 14:30
17:00 - 22:00
11:30 - 14:30
17:00 - 22:00
17:00 - 22:00
Location and Contact Information
  • Address: 142 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92103-3000
  • Location: United States  >  California (CA)  >  San Diego
  • Phone Number: +1 619-209-3636
Family run italian bistro

Questions & Answers

Questions? Get answers from Charisma Cucina Italiana staff and past visitors.
Posting guidelines
Typical questions asked:
  • Do you have gluten-free options?
  • Is there a dress code?
  • Do you allow dogs on the outdoor patio?