April 5, 2021 Del MarPress0

San Diego’s best-known Italian restaurateur trios are unveiling new culinary projects this week. The Milanese trio who launched Ambrogio15 pizzeria in Pacific Beach in 2016 have three new projects this spring: Ciao Ciao Piadina, an aperitivo/sandwich wine bar they’re opening today with two partners, as well as a reinvention of their Semola pasta bar concept in La Jolla and a more upscale Ambrogio15 location in Del Mar.

Ciao Ciao Piadina

Ciao Ciao Piadina is billed as a “social club,” where diners can enjoy a new take on the traditional Italian aperitivo service — pre-dinner drinks and unlimited appetizers — as well as piadina, which are the famous toasted flatbread sandwiches from the Italian coastal city of Rimini.

Semola, the Ambrogio 15 Pasta Bar

In mid-to-late April, the Ambrogio15 trio will open the new Semola, an elevated Milanese-style sit-down restaurant in the former PrepKitchen space at 7556 Fay Ave. in La Jolla. The partners originally launched Semola in 2019 as a quick-service pasta booth at the Little Italy Food Hall. But Pizzigoni said the experience convinced them that they’re not fast-food purveyors, so they closed the booth last fall.

The new restaurant, which will seat about 30 to 35 patio diners initially, will have a menu developed by Michelin-starred Italian chef Silvio Salmoiraghiand Italian gastronome Paolo Tucci. Head chef will be Daniela Martinez, formerly of Il Dandy and Ironside. Pizzigoni said the menu will feature modern Italian pasta dishes and entrees like veal Milanese that incorporate seasonal local ingredients at affordable prices.

Ambrogio15 Del Mar

On May 27, a new incarnation of Ambrogio15 pizzeria will open at the Sky Deck, a 20,000-square-foot upscale food hall a the Del Mar Highlands Town Center at 12925 El Camino Real in Carmel Valley. The 55-seat, indoor/outdoor restaurant, designed to resemble Milan’s Piazza del Duomo, will offer pizzas that Pizzigoni hopes will revolutionize pizza-making in California, if not the U.S. Semola’s menu developer, Salmoiraghi, has also created the recipes for the new Ambrogio15, that will combine unique doughs with gourmet, seasonal toppings. The restaurant will have its own sommelier.


Next spring (2020), The Sky Deck will open its doors in The Del Mar Highlands Town Center. This anticipated project is a part of The Collection, a $120 million expansion adding 40+ retail spaces to the center.

Patrick Donahue, CEO and chairman of Donahue Schriber Realty Group, came up with the idea for Sky Deck five years ago on a trip to Barcelona, Spain. When visiting his son, he discovered and fell in love with La Boqueria, a large public market, as well as innovative restaurant concept El Nacional characterized by separate culinary and bar areas.

When Donahue returned to the U.S., he decided to bring a similar model to San Diego in turn developing the plans for Sky Deck — a collection of eight to 10 restaurants, ranging from 500 to 3,000 square feet.

Confirmed tenants in the new space include Beeside Mediterranean Kitchen, Chi Extraordinary, Le Parfait and Ambrogio15. Tom Slater, founder of Slater’s 50/50, will operate Noblesse Oblige, a large cocktail bar that will be stationed in the center of the venue.

Ambrogio15 Owners Luca Salvi, Andrea Burrone and Giacomo Pizzigoni alongside Nina Elettra from DOCG Imports at the construction site.

“We are very proud of opening the third location of Ambrogio15 at the Del Mar Sky Deck, we have some surprises for you!!!” says Giacomo Pizzigoni

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Building Sky Deck from the Ground Up

Still being built from the ground up, Sky Deck is characterized by high-ceilings, indoor and outdoor patios, and a large skylight with tinted windows. The blue skylight panels, which are controlled by an iPad, have the ability to lighten and darken based on temperature and time of day, as well as display graphics or messages.

A winding staircase will lead to an elevated, outdoor deck featuring three breweries — Rough Draft, Northern Pine Brewing and Boochcraft. The open-air space will embrace the elements, relying on the San Diego’s penchant for good weather and heating lamps when needed.

There will also be a glassed-in “cold space” upstairs highlighting exposed kegs from the three breweries visible to diners below. In addition to serving as a resource for the breweries, the glassed-in design is intended to encourage visitors to venture upstairs for a drink after their meal.

Donahue said he envisions Sky Deck to be the “ultimate date night place” where people can meet after work for a reasonably priced dinner, drink or dessert. The project seeks to be approachable without sacrificing any design elements.

He noted that although time is the commodity during lunch breaks, the priority switches to a venue’s atmosphere and entertainment value when evening falls. Rather than calling Sky Deck a food hall or food court, he refers to the vision a “restaurant collective.”

Original article by Sara Butler for Pacific Magazine – You can read the article here

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