Asti Ristorante

Amidst a sea of Italian restaurants, Asti Ristorante in San Diego’s Gaslamp District is one that should not be overlooked. Specializing in Northern Italian cuisine, Asti does not disappoint. Whether you stop in for lunch or for dinner, Asti’s extensive selection of hand-made pastas, fresh seafood or traditional chicken, beef or veal entrees are sure to please even the pickiest diners. The restaurant offers outdoor seating overlooking the Gaslamp’s bustling 5th Avenue, as well as indoor dining in the restaurant’s meticulously decorated dining room. Asti Ristorante is one of the few restaurants in downtown San Diego that can please both the fussy tourist and the persnickety local while making it all look so natural.

A Downtown Destination for Authentic Italian Dining

The Gaslamp Quarter of Downtown San Diego is constantly bustling with people making their way through the crowded streets. A hot-spot full of luxury boutiques, popular bars, eccentric people, and of course, a multitude of fine dining destinations, this historic area is the perfect place to find a good time on any given day. So, on a crisp winter Wednesday evening, a colleague and I have come to enjoy an early dinner at Asti Ristorante on Fifth Avenue, just east of Horton Plaza between F Street and G. We spot the dark green awnings as we walk from Horton Plaza where we’ve parked, and I can see that several people are already enjoying meals out front.

The small patio is sectioned off from the busy sidewalk by a partition of clear glass panels, and when the temperatures are low, efficient heat lamps over-head can be adjusted to the perfect level of comfort. This is prime real estate for anyone who enjoys observing the people of Downtown as they mosey along. With a podium right out front, the hostess, Andrea invites those passing by to peruse the menu and enjoy the warmth of the patio with great success.

As we approach, Andrea greets us with a smile and quickly confirms our reservation. She invites us inside, offering us a round table next to the window in front. Once we’ve settled in, our server introduces himself as Silvio and offers us the choice of still or sparkling water. We both prefer still, so he pours the Acqua Panna Natural Spring Water into large stemmed glasses. In the meantime, a second server by the name of Giancarlo brings a basket of fresh, sliced bread wrapped in a clean white cloth along with a side of butter. As we enjoy the soft bread, I take a moment to observe my surroundings.

Though the actual floor space of the dining room is seemingly small, it stretches far back from the entrance and wraps around to the left with a partial wall creating separation between the two sections. Tables covered with crisp white linens and set with white plates, fan-folded napkins, and several stemmed crystal classes line the walls. A long line stretches down the center of the dining space, banquet style, with walkways on each side. This looks like the perfect area to host a dinner for a large group.

Near the back, on the right wall, there is a full bar able to accommodate almost any drink order, but there is no seating available here. The servers handle all of your drinks, and Happy Hour is offered at every table, so bar seating is not needed. The fine wood of the bar against the rough, red brick wall adds to the rustic feel of Asti’s décor, and every member of the service staff, including the bartender is sharply dressed.

High vaulted ceilings featuring beautiful paintings emulate domed, stained-glass windows, adding to the spacious grandeur, and along the right wall, directly adjacent to the bar, an enormous mural depicts the historic city of Asti in the Piedmont region of Italy. A city famous for the rigorous, bare back horse race known as “Palio”, the mural depicts men sporting colorful banners, some clinging to their horses, riding for their honor, while others have been thrown from them. Asti is also notorious for superb wines and hearty, Northern-Italian cuisine, which the versatile menu showcases in abundance. It’s quite obvious that we are about to experience authentic Italian dining at its apex, and I for one am eager to find out what it is that truly sets Asti apart.

This evening, we decide to leave the details of our meal to the professionals, asking for a tasting menu that covers some of the house favorites. This is where Marketing Director Jessica Patrick comes in. Friendly and knowledgeable, she chats with us for a moment, describing the northern-style cuisine that Asti provides, which is slightly heavier than that of more southern regions in Italy. She and Silvio are more than happy to put together a custom meal from the menu for us, and she tells us that the chefs are able to accommodate most special requests, whether you would like to enjoy a unique tasting menu for two, or you invite that one person who just have to have some old school spaghetti and meatballs.

For me, a big part of quality service is the ability to cater to the needs of all, and Jessica goes on to explain that Asti is a place where you can always find something for everyone. The menu is quite diverse, offering a long list of signature pasta dishes, as well as Italian steaks, several veal selections, fresh seasonal fish, a few chicken entrees, and a vegetarian favorite, eggplant. The appetizers, both hot and cold, also offer several vegetarian options like the Bruschetta Di Asti or the Portobello Alla Primavera, and other starters include home-made soups, crisp salads, and a handful of risotto dishes. Whenever possible, ingredients are gathered from local, organic purveyors, yet another aspect of Asti that raises the bar of quality.

To spark our appetites, Silvio presents our first course, which includes the Fritto Misto Con Calamari from the Antipasti Caldi (Hot) portion of the menu, as well as the Caprese Di Bufala Con Prosciutto, one of the Chef’s Special appetizers. He graciously offers to pair our seafood with a 2011 Venica & Venica Pinot Bianco from the wineries in the Collio region of Italy. This crisp white wine begins with a very sweet aroma. It’s clean going down, with a mildly acidic finish that will complement the bold flavors of the caprese and pair perfectly with the salty, fishy flavor of the calamari.

The caprese showcases large, round slices of ripe heirloom tomatoes that are drizzled in olive oil and topped with fresh, shredded basil, alongside a large helping of Italian buffalo mozzarella and several pieces of air cured Parma ham. The deep red of the tomatoes creates a sharp contrast against the white plate, and each slice serves as the perfect base for a multi-tiered helping of salty prosciutto and creamy mozzarella. Every bite offers a well blended compilation of distinct flavors, textures, and aromas, each of which plays a key role in the overall essence of the dish.

The prosciutto is perfectly tender, with a very mild hint of pepper. It is a satisfying precursor to the juicy tomato, and the creamy cheese seamlessly ties everything together. I could eat an entire platter of this alone and leave here a happy man, but alas, I would then miss out on the other surprises in store for us this evening. I enjoy two helpings before focusing my attention on the second, slightly larger portion of our appetizers.

The Fritto Misto Con Calamari is very light because there is no egg in the breading at all, and I notice subtle hints of different herbs as I take my first bite. The squid is slightly chewy, and a mixture of zucchini, broccoli and carrots are scattered amidst the ringlets, also battered and fried. The veggies reveal a new, fresh dimension to the dish, and the peppery marinara helps add a bit of weight to the extra light breading. I also like the fact that there are whole, miniature squid in the mix, not just the typical ringlets of tentacles. For these meatier morsels, I use no marinara; instead I add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, which provides a fantastic zing to the salty meat. Once finished, we sit back and sip our wine while Giancarlo quickly clears away our plates and utensils, replacing them with clean ones.

Before our main courses arrive, Silvio presents a red wine that he believes will be a suitable match for a savory meat dish. He first tastes, then pours the 2009 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon, made with the highest quality grapes of Sonoma County. From what I can see, the wine list here at Asti relies heavily on the regions of Northern California and Italy, however, other international varietals also hold their own from countries such as South Africa, New Zealand, and Argentina. While there is no appointed sommelier, Silvio is more than capable of pairing each course with eighteen years of experience under his belt. He tells us that the Pinot Bianco from our appetizers will pair nicely with our first entree, the Mixed Grilled Seafood Linguine.

I am amazed by the size of the mountain of seafood before us. Featuring thick fillets of fresh salmon, ahi tuna and swordfish along with a whole prawn, several large shrimp, scallops, mussels, and clams, it is a spectacular array of diverse flavors. Beneath this beautiful bounty from the sea, a bed of hand-made linguini pasta with a slightly spicy marinara sauce brings Asti’s signature dish full circle, and beckons us to dig in.

Fish is flown in regularly for the many different seafood selections on the menu at Asti, and none of their products are ever frozen, ensuring that everything is at the peak of freshness. As I take my first bite of the steaming salmon, I find it to be moist, tender, and full of flavor. It is slightly salty, but the notes of fresh herbs are more pronounced, with an aftertaste that remains on my tongue until a sip of wine washes everything away. Silvio has chosen well, pairing a delicious white wine that complements both my calamari appetizer and this mixed seafood entrée.

Next I sample the ahi, which stands out stark white against the colorful arrangement of different items. The meat is a much lighter consistency than the salmon, and the flavor is a bit saltier. This is a very pure, very lean fish, and the fresh flavor of the sea pairs well with the bite of the marinara sauce from the linguini. I notice that the linguini plays a major part in transitioning from one flavor to the next. The sweet, acidic sauce and a touch of pepper act as perfect palate cleansers, allowing me to taste every variance between the two different types of fish.

Moving on to the swordfish, I am delighted by the thick, hearty meat, which is much different than the tender salmon and light tuna. This is my favorite of the three because it contains a bold, more distinct savory flavor and the texture is somewhat steak-like to me. Also, the slightly charred exterior provides a smoky aroma that heightens my enjoyment of the soft, warm interior. It’s refreshing to find such generous portions of high quality fish, and Jessica tells us that this dish truly is the signature seafood specialty at Asti.

I make my way to the far side of the platter now to sample the shell fish selections. The mussels and clams are skillfully cooked, bite-sized morsels packed with the pure salty flavor of the sea. The shrimp is well seasoned with herbs and the meat is pleasantly chewy. Each snaps nicely as I bite down, releasing a burst of juice. The prawn, served eye-balls and all, is surprisingly tender in comparison to the shrimp. Though chewy at first, the meat seems to break down completely and dissolve after a brief moment. The crustacean is split in half for easy access to every morsel.

The second entrée is Lamb Chops Al Rosmarino, delicately fanned out and covered in rich, brown rosemary sauce. The rosemary is surprisingly subtle, and does not overpower the tender, succulent meat. As tempting as it is to simply pick them up by the bones, I mind my manners and slice through the delicate lamb with ease. Being sure to smother the piece in sauce, my first bite practically melts in my mouth. It is thick and rich, lending a more concentrated dose of rosemary to the dish and blending well with the charred, smoky flavor of the lamb’s exterior.

Inside it’s cooked through, but only to a medium temperature, preserving the flavorful juices. The skill of the chef is apparent in this premium dish, and I respectfully devour every last bite, disregarding how full I am becoming. I savor the bold, almost spicy flavor of my wine between pieces, and once again, Silvio has done right by me. While Giancarlo begins removing the remnants of our entrees, Jessica joins us once again, delighted that we are so satisfied. All that remains is dessert, and rather than two individual dishes, we decide that one to share ought to do just fine.

A traditional tiramisu, the ultimate classic Italian dessert, is the perfect selection to close out such a satisfying meal. Presented upon a long rectangular platter, my eyes are drawn to three colorful sauces that have been drizzled alongside the small cube of layered decadence. A garnish of sliced strawberry placed upright atop fresh whipped cream finishes the plate with class, and after admiring the presentation for a moment, the two of us begin separating the tiramisu in half.

I sample each of the three sauces, which Silvio informs us are all made in house. The first definitely contains strawberries, with a deep red hue and very sweet flavor. The second, a pale orange color, features the more subtle notes of mango, and the third is a bright green, somewhat tart kiwi sauce. 

The dessert is layered, first ladyfingers, thoroughly soaked in a mixture of authentic Italian espresso and Marsala wine, then creamy mascarpone cheese, another layer of lady fingers, and a final helping of cheese, topped with a generous coating of fresh cocoa powder.  It is light, airy and loaded with the notorious flavor that only coffee beans can provide. Simple and satisfying, I savor the last bite before Giancarlo swoops in to take everything away.

With our meal complete, Jessica makes one final stop to be sure there is nothing more we need. She introduces us to Manager Alan Paulo, who insists that before we leave we relax a little and enjoy one of Asti’s authentic cappuccinos to help settle our stomachs. We sip the frothy, hot coffee, made with imported Italian beans, and Jessica tells us the cappuccinos at Asti are some of the best she has ever had, including those she tried while traveling through Italy.

It’s obvious that she is passionate about Italian culture, and there is no better place to immerse yourself in it than Asti Ristorante. From the rustic décor to the authentic northern-style cuisine, Asti lives and breathes Italy. All of the servers and chefs here are professionals who have decided to make this their career, and it’s not a part-time gig. Customer service is mandatory and always executed perfectly. The kitchen is flexible and happy to accommodate the needs of every diner including gluten-free or whole wheat pasta, vegetarian preparation, and just about any other special request you can imagine. The menu and wine list provide a broad selection of different styles and flavors, making it possible for anyone to find a combination to enjoy. After nearly twenty years of dedicated service, Asti remains one of the premier Italian restaurants in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. As we say our goodbyes and step out into the brisk evening air, I have already decided to return again soon.

Insider Tip: Asti is one of the most flexible establishments in Downtown San Diego when it comes to accommodating large parties and diners with very particular prefrences. The menu is expansive enough to touch on every food group, vegan and vegetarian included, and customizable preset meals can be arranged for birthday parties, business lunches, and even wedding dinners!

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Restaurant Info

  • 728 5th Avenue
    San Diego CA 92101
  • Address: 728 5th Avenue, San Diego CA 92101
  • Cross Street: G Street
  • Location: Downtown | Gaslamp Quarter
  • Cuisine: Italian | Seafood | Pasta |
  • Cost: $$$ | Moderate | $50 - $75
  • Category: Fine Dining
  • Star Rating:
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Meals Served: Lunch | Dinner |
  • Parking: Street |
  • Payment Options: VISA | Amex | MasterCard | Discover |
  • Corkage Fee: 15.00 | Per 750ml bottle
  • Staff: Jessica Patrick | Marketing Director
    Alan And Jose Paulo | Manager
    Emanuele Daniele | Executive Chef
  • Phone: (619) 232-8844

Business Hours

Monday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Tuesday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Wednesday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Thursday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Friday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11:45 p.m.
Saturday
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11:45 p.m.
Sunday
Main Dining Room | All Day 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Main Dining Room | Happy Hours 3 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Features

  • Full Bar
  • Late Dining
  • Outdoor Seating
  • Takeout Available
  • Wheelchair Access
  • Happy Hours
  • Healthy Options

Occasion

  • Child Friendly
  • Romantic Dining
  • Dining Alone
  • Business Dining
  • People Watching
  • Quiet Conversation
  • Special Occasion

 


F.A.Q. - Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Asti does have a full bar but no seating is available.
Yes, Asti's outdoor patio looks out onto Fifth Avenue.
Yes, Every Sunday Asti offers an Italian-style family brunch.

Menus

Lunch

  This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.


Le Insalate

Insalata Grande

Zuppe

Antipasti Caldi (Hot)

Antipasti Freddi (Cold)

Panini

Pizza

Le Paste

Risotti

Pesce

Pollo

Manzo & Vitello

Dinner

  An 18% gratuity will be added for parties of 5 or more, and a 20% gratuity for parties of 10 or more. This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.


Antipasti Caldi (Hot)

Antipasti Freddi (Cold)

Zuppe

Le Insalate

Risotti

Paste

Pesce

Pollo

Eggplant

Manzo & Vitello

Happy Hour

  From 3:00pm-6:00pm. This is a sample menu only. Prices and availability may be subject to change.


Cocktails & Martinis

Beer

Antipasti Caldi (Hot)

Antipasti Freddi (Cold)

Wine and Dine ($65.00)

  The last Sunday every month $65 per person (taxes and gratuity not included)


First Course

Second Course

Third Course

Dessert


User Reviews

Great  

The calamari-best ever had. Entrees-excellent.

Christmas Eve Treat  

While visiting San Diego for the holidays we wanted to have a special dinner on Christmas Eve and chose Asti. The staff was friendly and our waitor Stefano was great. The intimate size of the dining area allowed for privacy while dining in a warm and cheerful atmosphere with tasteful Christmas decorations. The menu was great and the appetizer,bread,Ceasar salad, entres and desert were cooked and prepared to perfection. It is a great family place to go for a top shelf dining experience.It should be rated with $$$$ because I did spend more $ then I had planned, but it was worth it! I would return again and will recommend the Asti to friends and business associates who might venture to the Gas Light District in downtown San Diego.

Loved the Food Loved the Service  

I dined at Asti on a Tuesday evening this week. I sat on the patio and enjoyed the evening as well as the waiting staff and the people passing by. I ordered the rack of lamb and enjoyed a glass of wine. I would and do recommend others to Asti as the food cannot be beat and the staff was very professional.

Best Dinner I've ever had  

I went for dinner a couple of days ago and the food was excellent! For the appetizer, I had the calamari and it was absolutely delicious, I continued with the Mixed Seafood Platter which was superb, I loved it! I highly reccomd this restaurant, the food was great, the waiter was amazing, very friendly and attentive.

Great food and service !  

I came with my husband at Asti two days ago and I loved the food and the service. Our waiter had a very deep knowledge about wine, so he helped us to choose the best wine for our dish, which was a house Cabernet. I had the Cavatelli Michelangelo pasta and the homemade ricotta dumplings were very tasty. My husband had the one of the specials, the stuffed seabass, and I was excelent. I definitly recommed Asti for dine. I looked at the Brunch menu and it looks very sofisticated. It will be my next stop at Asti !

Best Italian in San Diego  

We went to Asti a week ago and we had an incredible experience. I was part of my corporate group of 30 people who were amazed with the impressive service and ambiance. I strongly recommend it and suggest anyone to try the menu option that we had which included fried calamari served for the whole table a pasta dish served with curry Barolo sauce(I am pretty sure it has Barolo in the name). For the deeper pockets I would certainly suggest the chef special surf an turf, consisted of fillet and lobster together, which made me a little jealous when I've smelled and saw it.

Outstanding Italian experience !  

Last Night I visited Asti Ristorante for the second time. I was in San Diego for pleasure and work. I was truly impressed with service and the food at Asti. From the very professinal and attractive Hostess to the table service, the food and the ambiance. Our Server was a young man Silvio from Palermo. The service was perfect and our meal wonderful. We ordered Chilean Sea Bass for my wife and Surf and Turf for myself that was just incredible. The Wine List is well priced and match with extensive variety of Italian and California Wine. The beautiful mural of Palio de Asti and the celebrity pictures in the wall definently makes Asti even more charming. Asti is the best Italian Restaurant in San Diego without a doubt! We Recommend Asti for everyone that enjoys the true Italian Food and Service! Grazie Asti Ristorante!

Wow  

What difference, this is my second time at Asti it is a totally different. To start out with pleasant staff, the manager was super Mr. Donato makes you feel like you are in his home. It was so busy, although he made a point to make sure my husband and I were well taken care, but he seems to treat all the customers in that fashion. The food was incredible I had the Tagliata Di Bue, the filet mignon was absolutely delicious, the wine selection also excellent we had a Barolo that just matched our meal. I would recommend Asti to anyone that enjoys a true Italian cuisine. What a wonderful experience please San Diego check out this place you will not be dissappointed

INCREDIBLE !  

I thought I had died and gone straight to heaven when the first dish of the Traditional tasting menu came out. It was superb and so were all the other dishes that followed it. The sommelier was attentive and helpful. He made navigating the generous wine list a much easier task. It can get loud but the food transports you to a different dimension, so you might not even notice. Best meal I've had in a while. Will definitely be back!

Local Gem  

Tuesday night four of us went to a movie downtown. The streets were pretty quiet afterwards with the exception of one restaurant across the street. We were hungry and decided to give Asti a try. We did not have a reservation however the manager treated us like royalty and had us seated with cocktails within minutes. Fabrizio was the managers name and he was thrilled that we were locals trying Asti for the first time. He gave us a brief history of Asti and then introduced us to our waiter who described(in detail) Asti's specials for the evening. The fish was incredible! I had the linguini with seafood special and my wife had the sea bass. Our friends had the osso bucco and the rack of lamb. The meat was so tender you did not need to use a knife to cut it! I gladly picked up the check and we all agreed that the experience was worth every penny! Don't let it's small size fool you, Asti is huge when it comes to food and service!

Asti Ristorante  

I had made a reservation for Asti based only on the reviews I had read. We were down from O.C to celebrate my son's college graduation and had made the reservation for 7:30. We showed up an hour earlier than expected but it was no problem and we were seated immediately. The staff was very friendly and attentive. I can't remember the last time I was with a party of six and all at the table were happy with the dish they had ordered!! The food was simply fantastic. It was so great we decided to order desert too and we weren't disappointed. Don't miss this place.

Excellent  

Great service, great location, great food!! Osso Bucco was the dish of choice and it was outstanding!!

Loves this Restaurant!!  

We wanted to go to an authentic Italian restaurant and that's exactly what we got. The atmosphere was great in that the restaurant was a little less casual, but not so much so that you had to be dressed in a suit. The waiters were great and checked on us several times, but very discreetly. The food was fantastic. The pasta tasted homemade and cooked perfectly. Both my husband and I had dishes with crab meat and they were extremely tasty!! We will definitely go back!!

Glad we chose to eat here  

Great food and great service

Don't miss this one!  

I was only in San Diego for a few days. I wanted to meet a friend and go out to dinner so I went on your website to check for restaurants. There were so many to choose from. But this one caught my eye. It was the most wonderful delectable meal from start to finish ( the zabione was out of this world. I live in NJ, however next time I am in San Diego you can be sure I'll go back again. Thanks for making my meal so enjoyable.

Great Italian Food!  

Definitely try this Italian restaurant, they have the usual dishes (lasagne, spaghetti, etc), plus some other wonderful entrees. I had the lasagne, and it was just about the best I've every had!

Night Before 3-Day 60 mile walk  

As a particpant in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Breast Cancer 60 mile walk, we wanted to load up on pasta the night before the long walk began. We are from out of state so I had searched on the internet for small, unique Italian restaurants. We were more than thrilled when we arrived at Asti Ristorant and greeted immediately and seated promptly. The meal was fabulous, along with the choices of wine. From the greeter, to the waiter to the amazing food We would reccommend this place to all.

Great First experience  

Food and service was great. Prices are moderate but the food does not disappoint.

amazing italian restaurant  

Amazing staff, food, and reasonable price.

AMAZING  

I read good reviews on yelp about Asti Ristorante and took my husband for his 30th birthday. The food was amazing and the service was wonderful. We had a great time.

Authentic Italian Restaurant w/ Great Seafood  

The portions were unbelievably generous , great value , beautiful selection of reasonable wines , seafood /pasta presented was very fresh . Hats off to Asti Ristorante !!

Fun evening  

Great restaurant. Enjoyed meal and wait staff. Given a Valentine's Day reservation with 24 hr. notice at window seat in front of restaurant. Couldn't have been nicer and gave out single roses to ladies upon leaving. Thoughtful!

Fabulous Restaurant  

Outstanding experience!! From planning the event to paying the bill! Our server Mark, was everything and more!!

great service and food  

A little pricy but overall experience was worth it. Delicious food and excellent service

Greatest Italian in San Diego!  

Ever since I first went to Asti, it has been my favorite Italian restaurant in San Diego. I highly recommend it to everyone.

Best Italian in San Diego  

The food, the wine, the service, the ambience... everything you can imagine is good on Asti. I trully recommended for all my friends! The fried Calamari is awsome. The patio make you feel comfortable and gives you chance to look the street moviment in Gaslamp Quarter. Very, very, very GOOD!

Common Excellence  

Another good Italian restaurant in the gas lamp area. The price (high) matches the quality of the service and food.

Asti  

Very nice setting little bit of a wait.The menu was good selection of fish and meat. I had the pork chops presentation excellent and cook perfect medium well. We were early I'm sure it must fill up fast for the night. We will return

Italian food was good---Sunday meals after church  

We made a new years resolution to go to a new resturant very Sunday after Church. We have 5 kids. The oldest, usually does not go with us as he goes to church with his girlfreind at a later mass. However, the food here was good. The best at our table was my husbands order of lamb. Very good. Expensive but great. The rest of our dishes were good. Not anything to fall out of your chair for. The cheese plate was good too. Parking is never fun.

Great food at a great price!  

I arranged a dinner for 8. Service was attentive with a smile and good light conversation. Food was PLENTIFUL and very tasty; plenty of options for vegetarians. The entire party was satisfied with the food. Wine selection was good with very reasonable price points. All in all, I'd recommend.

Offended by Suggestion on Tip $$$  

Offensive note on bill "Service not included"

no interest  

Not my favorite place.

Don't Let The Name Fool You!  

I re-learned a lesson this weekend; one that you may need reminding of too, and it's this: Don't let a Fancy name fool you (Asti)! I left that place politely pissed over the poor service, the luke warm food, the uneven table, the $5 salad (could have been $4..we declined) the bread with the HARD bread crust, the bus boy who took our order for drinks (waiter?) a $34 steak of mediocore quality;a no offer for desert and a reminder they don't include a 15% gratuity (I would have been livid if it were included. I left them 5%,on a $83 bill, for 3. I felt was generous. Never again. I'm so turned off I may never eat in the Gaslamp again. Thanks Asti!

Talk to your server  

I do not know who rates on this site. All I have to say is, when you're at Asti ask questions.

Slop  

Having eaten in my fair share of "tourist" restaurants over the years my expectations were not set very high. In fact, the meal started out OK with a pleasant waiter and an OK first course. Then the wheels came off. Based on the waiter's recommendation we tried one of the salmon dishes. ("People are never disappointed.") Well, we were when the Wal-Mart quality fish came out buried under a lifeless pile of steamed vegetables. The sides listed on the menu, roasted potatoes and asparagus, were replaced with cold mashed potatoes and steamed brocolli. When the waiter was asked about the substitution his response was "We are out of the roasted potatoes." When it was clear that this explanation was not selling, he resorted to "I've been telling the owner's about this for some time but they keep telling me to push the salmon." Ouch. A bowl of pasta was ordered by another diner and it was delivered by a server who disappeared without ever offering grated cheese. To make matters worse, the pasta had obviously not been drained properly and was closer to soup. On the plus side, it was served warm. Yippee. Maybe this place was once a nice alternative to the growing hipster scene in the Gaslamp, not anymore. When a dinner approaches $100 for two, a bit more effort is expected . . . no matter the tourist location. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Duh  

I read the reviews before picking Asti to enjoy a nice Valentine meal with my wife. So much for trusting others taste buds much less opinions, duh! As the menus arrived by an attentive server I quickly noticed the lack of room to comfortable open the menu while trying to find a place to put the over-sized wine list. I had to rearrange the light source, flowers in addition to the necessary silverware, napkins and water glasses. The table top should have been the first warning...but I thought the autographed pictures of hundreds of celebs adorning the walls trumped the overly busy table! Then the Della Casa salad arrived. I never tasted a leek or fennel and it barely covered the plate however the red wine vinagrette dressing was very tasty. In the meantime the servers spoke about their latest trades on the stock market while I waited for my wine. Our entrees arrived. I ordered the Cavatelle Michelangelo because the combination of ricotta cheese dumpling pasta with sun dried tomatoes, brandy, chicken, light marinara sauce piqued my pallette. My wife ordered

Duh  

I read the reviews before picking Asti to enjoy a nice Valentine meal with my wife. So much for trusting others taste buds much less opinions, duh! As the menus arrived I quickly noticed the lack of room to comfortably open the menu. I had to find a place to put the over-sized wine list while trying to make room so I could open the dinner menu. I had to rearrange the light source, flowers in addition to the necessary silverware, napkins and water glasses. The table top should have been the first warning...but I thought the autographed pictures of hundreds of celebs adorning the walls trumped the overly busy table!

Then the Della Casa salad arrived. I never tasted a leek or fennel and it barely covered the plate however the red wine vinagrette dressing was very tasty. In the meantime the servers spoke about their latest trades on the stock market while I waited for my wine. Our entrees arrived. I ordered the Cavatelle Michelangelo because the combination of ricotta cheese dumpling pasta with sun dried tomatoes, brandy, chicken, light marinara sauce piqued my palette. My wife ordered Gnocchi Filanti as she enjoys the flavor of smoked mozzarella cheese.

The dishes arrived and we both received the obligatory fresh ground black pepper and pasta cheese. I could not taste the sun-dried tomato or any hint of brandy much less the few pieces of chicken that did not contribute any flavor to an otherwise bland dish. I assumed that my taste is too sophisticated as I am a trained chef, however the Gnocchi was also void of the robust flavors attributed to Italian food. The sticky Gnocchi dumplings were most disappointing pasta my wife has experienced.

We enjoy eating out several times a week but will never visit nor recommend Asti Ristorante any time soon.

Over-rated  

Usually I don't feel compelled to write a negative restaurant review but in this case it deserves it. Waiter too thin too tanned too white teeth recommended two "specials", the spinach salad which was ordinary to say the least with nothing to recommend it, and the mixed seafood grill that was also very ordinary except for the scallop - much of the rest of the grill was overcooked and not worth the effort. Not recommended.

Disappointing  

My husband's chicken was cold, the sauce bland, and the mashed potatoes tasted like powdered from a box. I ordered the special Crab Linguine and the crab was not fresh, the sauce was not very flavorful. The large prawn on top was tough and frozen tasting. The price was not on the 'special' menu and the crab was $34. Definitely not worth the price. The Caesar salads were pretty good though.

 

THIS SITE IS A SCAM  

SSPAMMERS

Awful Asti  

I dine out frequently and love Italian food, and I can say that my experience at Asti was terrible service, awful food, and management (owner?) that would not know good customer service or food preparation if it came up and bit him in the Asti. The "fresh" grated cheese could easily have been sawdust; the olive oil on the table could have been canola since it had no flavor; the seafood & pasta dish served in the basil and white wine sauce was too salty to eat, had no basil, and the mystery fish in it was so overcooked that even the overly salted sauce didn't moisten it. On top of this, even though it was towards the end of the evening and not very busy, our server still did not come over to the table to check on us once without us having to catch his eye. The finale had to be when the manager (or owner) came over to the table after I had asked to have the inedible pasta dish taken off the bill and said that it was so salty because of cheese and the juice from the clams. I am a very experienced cook and have never once had grated romano or parmigiano or clam juice or all three make a dish too salty to eat. Skip Asti unless you enjoy bad food, terrible service, and insulting management.

Worst customer service ever!!!!!!!!  

We were going to book our rehersal dinner at Asti. At first we were emailed the menu which we all agreed on with the event planner. Then 2 days before the manager decided that they weren't making enough money which he said to my fiance. He referred to himself as the "big cheese" and said that his lease was $15,000 a month so he didn't want to host our party of 32 people with the menu they had sent and we would have to order off of the menu instead. Raising our prices about half of what we had agreed on. He told us this was "the gaslamp and they had higher standards." Well as a buisiness owner myself, if I had this kind of person running my business I would first get rid of him and then I would really reconsider the amount of money that they lost to pay that $15,000 lease. Oh well, we ended up having a great time, ( and spent alot of money) at Buster's Beach House, and had great service and wonderful food, and our wedding planner who does ALOT of weddings in the San Diego area will also advise never to use this restaurant. Good luck with the lease!!!

You should definately hire another manager!!  

We were going to book our rehersal dinner at Asti. At first we were emailed the menu which we all agreed on with the event planner. Then 2 days before the manager decided that they weren't making enough money which he said to my fiance. He referred to himself as the "big cheese" and said that his lease was $15,000 a month so he didn't want to host our party of 32 people with the menu they had sent and we would have to order off of the menu instead. Raising our prices about half of what we had agreed on. He told us this was "the gaslamp and they had higher standards." Well as a buisiness owner myself, if I had this kind of person running my business I would first get rid of him and then I would really reconsider the amount of money that they lost to pay that $15,000 lease. Oh well, we ended up having a great time at another resturaunt, ( and spent alot of money), and our wedding planner who does ALOT of weddings in the San Diego area will also advise never to use this restaurant. Good luck with the lease!!!

Just Awful  

Went there for dinner on a Saturday night.... Busy on 5th Ave. and Asti host was standing on the sidewalk with menu in hand, looking for new customers. Well, we went in to have dinner. I ordered osso bucco and couldn't have been more disappointed. The meat was not even edible (chewy and tasted like cardboard) and I could not even swallow it. To be served with risotto, but their idea of risotto was minute rice with way, way too much salt. That was also inedible. The meat and fish are not good quality and no matter how much salt they put on their food, it just isn't up to par.