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Interview at Civico 1845 in Little Italy, San Diego

A new generation of Italian cuisine is here in San Diego’s Little Italy. Located at 1845 India St, Civico 1845 is the brilliant creation of brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo. Born and raised in Cosenza, Italy they grew up in the restaurant business by working for their father’s restaurant supply company. Join Dario and Jorge as we find out how this dream of owning a restaurant in Little Italy and creating one of the tastiest and authentic menus came to be.

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Jorge: Hi, everybody. This is Jorge Castellon. Welcome back to my channel where we explore all the great things that Little Italy has to offer. Remember to subscribe on YouTube and hit the subscription button so you get all of my videos about Little Italy. I am excited to be here in front of Civico 1845. Easy to remember because it’s located on 1845 India Street, right in the heart of Little Italy. This is one of the most authentic Italian restaurants in all of San Diego. The two brothers that opened this restaurant came here just a few years ago in order to provide us with a true Italian experience that we can all enjoy. Let’s take a trip to Italy.


Jorge: All right, so we’re here inside of Civico 1845 and co-owner Dario Gallo has been nice enough to let us in and chat with us for just a minute. Great to meet you. Thank you for having us. Appreciate it very much. We’re going to get right into it. Tell us a little bit about Civico 1845.

Dario: So Civico, it’s our first restaurant. We open it four years ago now with my brother, Pietro. We moved here in San Diego because we had this dream. We had the dream to open an authentic, traditional, but yet modern Italian restaurant. And we decided to open it right in the middle of Little Italy because of course Little Italy should represent being Italian 100%. So for us it’s very important to showcase our food in the middle, in the heart of Little Italy; and this is where we are.

Dario: So with Civico, our intention was to bring this authenticity, especially through the dishes that we have over here. We focus mostly on the Calabrian food. That is our region. Plus my brother Pietro, that is also a chef, he introduced the very first Italian vegan menu in the whole country. This has been probably the real biggest differentiator compared to the rest of the other Italian restaurants in town. And on the traditional part, only work with fresh ingredients. So our purveyors are local farms around San Diego County for produce. Then for the seafood only local fishermen. So wild caught, local from San Diego. And this is the best thing of course in order to get the freshest produce and of course then the authenticity of the Italian.

Jorge: All right. We’re going to have to take a sample.

Dario: Yeah?


Jorge: Maybe of your favorite dishes. What about drinks? You guys have a selection of Italian wines here and beers. What is the most popular drink here?    

Dario: So here we only have beer and wine, but we are focusing especially on the wine program to try to go more and more on the slow wine philosophy. The slow wine philosophy, it’s kind of like the son of the slow food philosophy that started in Italy. And there are those small producers that they don’t have big production but they can control the quality of the wines in this case that they produce. My favorite, and actually that it’s either my favorite then either the best seller, is our wine from Calabria. From my hometown, actually. Maybe 10, 15 minutes from my house. There’s this producers that he makes this Cariglio, it’s called, wine that is Magliocco grapes. It’s a red wine, medium full body and everyone is loving it. And for us we’re proud because of course it’s literally from our hometown.


Jorge: That’s crazy. This is a real authentic experience here. I mean there’s a lot of Italian restaurants here, but when I come in here, people are talking in Italian. Sometimes it sounds like they’re screaming at each other. So when you come in here you get a real, true Italian experience. I’ve been lucky enough to be there a couple of times and this is probably as close as you can get in San Diego to real deal Italian.

Dario: Thank you.                                                                       

Jorge: You have two Italian owners, Italian chefs-

Dario: Also the staff. All of our-

Jorge: The staff, yes. A lot of staff are from Italy.

Dario: They’re most Italian. Looks like we’re fighting all the time. Don’t worry. It’s just a way to communicate between us.

Jorge: That’s exactly my thought. I was like, “Wow, are you… That’s… Okay. Cool.” So what about, you guys now are starting another restaurant. Is that true?

Dario: Yes. We recently opened four months ago Il Dandy, that it’s our next step. So we start with the traditional with Civico. Now it’s finally time to showcase what is the food that us Italian we eat in Italy right now.

Dario: We introduced now also a restaurant within the restaurant. That is a very new thing here in San Diego. That is basically a chef’s table where people and our guests, they can experience this experience straight with the chefs. They do 12 courses per fixed menu, and that is the ultimate gourmet, modern Italian experience.


Jorge: All right, and that’s up in Banker’s Hill. I’ve actually been there for drinks. I haven’t eaten there yet, but I’ll definitely will do that.

Dario: Yeah.                                               

Jorge: And I recommend it for all of you as well. And Dario, now we’re going to have to take a look at some of the food and maybe get something to eat. But for all of you out there, when you’re walking by here on India Street, when you see these green awnings, Civico 1845, make sure you stop by. This is the real deal, true Italian experience, and that’s it. It’s a wrap.

Jorge: Thank you for joining me at Civico 1845 and join me next time as we continue to explore Little Italy.