Hillcrest has Charisma - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

WEDNESDAY, April 28, 2010

Hillcrest has Charisma

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8) - Add another delicious destination to Hillcrest's fine dining lineup -- Charisma Cucina Italiana on University Avenue.

"It's a real cool little place," San Diego Magazine restaurant critic David Nelson said.

It also has a hip little menu.

"One of the most popular appetizers in San Diego in an Italian restaurant is fritomisto, or fried calamari. But Charisma goes it one better by making it a misto, a mixed fry. It's got squid, it has shrimp, zucchini, eggplant, artichoke, dates. Now when was the last time you ever had a deep-fried date?" Nelson said.

"This is one place where you can find picari, which means packages, and the dish called picari Charisma tosses these huge, huge, huge pastas. You get several bites out of one, with a very nice, very light sauce, crumbled Italian sausage with wild mushrooms, peas and a little bit of cream.

"Another dish with a much stronger flavor which is very good is bucatini. Bucatini is a hollow spaghetti. I love it, it's got a hole drilled down the middle of it, and this is tossed with Italian bacon, a lot of onions and fresh tomato sauce.

"Something more familiar is linguini with a nicely done clam sauce. It's a white wine garlic sauce.

"There's a lamb shank. It's braised a long time until it almost falls off the bone and it's served with a polenta that's enriched with goat cheese," Nelson said.

Well placed in the heart of Hillcrest, this charming Italian eatery is also well named: Charisma.

Charisma Cucina Italiana

142 West University Avenue
San Diego, CA 92013
(619) 209-3636

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