The Park Boulevard space that previously held Pardon My French bistro, followed by seafood-centric spot Sirens Bar & Restaurant, has gone Italian, or more specifically, Sicilian. The four partners behind Rusticucina, veterans of San Diego’s hospitality industry, all hail from the same small town in Sicily. Executive chef/co-owner Marco Provino ran Giardino in Lemon Grove before opening Verandina in Imperial Beach. He and co-founders Vincenzo Loverso, Nino Cusimano, and Mario Liga are all connected through their past and present involvement with a handful of local restaurants including Farmer’s Table, Osteria Panevino, Greystone, Osetra, and Butcher’s Cut.
With Rusticucina, which is scheduled to open on Monday, February 3 with lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch, the team has configured the 3,000-square-foot space to include a 32-foot chandelier, draped with greenery, that spans the 100-seat dining room. There’s also a 60-seat, dog-friendly patio.
The menu is hearty and rustic, with housemade pasta, pizza, and flat breads, with gluten-free options available, and a dedicated vegan menu. Its plates range from arancini and crispy breadcrumb-coated burrata to cacio e pepe-style gnocchi, bone marrow risotto, and lamb osso bucco. Seafood is well-represented, with tuna and uni tartare, lobster lasagna, pan-seared salmon, and copping. A weekday aperitivo, or Italian happy hour, showcases its full bar, with half-off specialty cocktails from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. as well as deals on antipasti, wine, and beer.