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Little Italy Food Hall Named Among USA Today's '10 Best'

The foodie attraction, located next to Little Italy’s Piazza della Famiglia, ranks No. 7 on USA Today’s list of the Best New Food Halls in America

A food emporium in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy community has been named among the top 10 best new food halls in the United States, according to USA Today.

The Little Italy Food Hall (LIFH) – located next to the Piazza della Famiglia, on West Date Street between India and Columbia streets – opened last summer.

After only six months in business, it seems the site has already made a mouthwatering mark: it recently ranked No. 7 among USA Today’s “10Best Readers’ Choice Awards,” in the category of “Best Food Hall.”

Food halls from across the country were nominated by a panel of food editors and contributors for USA Today and 10Best.com. For four weeks, people voted on the picks until the 10 best were named.

The LIFH – operated by the local hospitality group Grain & Grit Collective – features six food stations offering everything from tacos, pizza, Italian food, seafood and sandwiches to Japanese and Asian comfort food.

One of the stations – Not Not Tacos – is the work of San Diego-based TV personality Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien. As the name suggests, Zien is whipping up all kinds of creative tacos there such as “Sam’s Meatloaf” taco featuring chipotle apricot glaze, green onion, lettuce, Monterey jack, sour cream and crispy onions.

Not Not Tacos_Korean Short Rib Taco_photo credit Little Italy Food Hall
Little Italy Food Hall
Well, it's not not a taco, right? The Korean Short Rib Taco at Not Not Tacos, Sam the Cooking Guy's food station at the Little Italy Food Hall.

The other food stations are Mein St. Asian Kitchen, Single Fin Kitchen, Ambrogio15, Roast Meat & Sandwich Shop and Wicked Main Lobster.

The LIFH also features a central bar cranking out craft cocktails, local craft brews and wine. As of last month, patrons walk around the 11,000-square-foot Piazza della Famiglia with that drink in hand.

Little Italy Food Hall_cocktail_photo credit Little Italy Food Hall (2)
Little Italy Food Hall
A craft cocktail at the bar, the center of the Little Italy Food Hall.

Another cool feature of the food hall is its mobile outdoor chef’s area where pop-up cooking demonstrations are held, sometimes by Sam the Cooking Guy himself.

The LIFH features Happy Hour Monday through Friday, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., with deals on some dishes like sliders and Temaki (Japanese handrolls). Happy Hour at the bar goes until 7 p.m. The food hall is free to enter, but bring money to buy some snacks.

By the way, other food halls that made the cut on USA Today’s “10Best” poll are, in order:

  1. Keg and Case West 7th Market (St. Paul, Minnesota)
  2. Legacy Food Hall (Plano, Texas)
  3. Morgan Street Food Hall & Market (Raleigh, North Carolina)
  4. Finn Hall (Houston)
  5. La Centrale (Miami)
  6. Riverside Food Lab (Riverside, California)
  7. Little Italy Food Hall (San Diego)
  8. Auction House Market (New Orleans)
  9. Revolutsia (Wichita, Kansas)
  10. Pythian Market (New Orleans)

First Look: Little Italy Food Hall Opens Thursday

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