Located in the historical part of Oceanside, on California US Route 101 (AKA Coast Highway) lays a true original. It boosts delicious authentic Italian food right in the heart of one of America’s most popular surf destinations, so close to the ocean you can see it from the street.
Even though the food here is stellar, the real treat is meeting restaurateur Pino Bottalico. Pino is no stranger to the culinary world having run popular restaurants for the last 30 years. He got his start from his father at the young age of 8 in the Southern region of Italy. Pino hails from Puglia, Italy; at 19 he made his way to Florida and landed a job at Alfredo’s in the Italian Pavilion of Disney’s Epcot in Orlando. After a brief stint back in Italy he came back and continued his culinary career in Encinitas by opening Pino’s, then worked at Tuscany in La Costa and Il Fornaio. Pino was featured in 2 magazines recently; Mainstreet Oceanside, and The Coast News. Veneto’s has been opened for 14 months.
Veneto’s specializes in classic dishes from many regions in Italy. The name Veneto or Venetia comes from the northeastern part of Italy where it is located, between the Alps and the Adriatic Sea, Venice and Verona being among them.
Pino is in touch with the community and what Veneto’s old customers want to keep as their tradition. Pino is keeping Veneto’s fresh and exciting, has live music on the weekends and a wine tasting on Tuesday.
The interior is cozy and quaint with a lovely mural of a Venice canal neighborhood (having been there I recognized the area). They play a variety of great music: from Frank Sinatra, Opera, to Nat King Cole, they have it all covered. There was a nice bar scene during their lunch hours as well, tourists, military and locals alike, enjoying their food and friends.
Here’s What I Tried:
Thai Calamari: Lightly breaded squid, cooked to a crispy golden brown, tossed with a sweet chili sauce. These little darlings came with both a nice marinara sauce, and a delicious Thai sweet chili, both sauces were killer.
Funghi Alla Padella: Sautéed seasonal bottom mushrooms in Marsala wine sauce, plump mushroom with an amazing sauce, just the ideal way to start my wonderful meal.
Garlic Knots, Served w/ marinara sauce. These knots are just scrumptious with lots of great garlic flavor, a perfect accompaniment.
Insalata Di Spinaci: Baby spinach, goat cheese, olives, walnuts & crisp pancetta in warm pancetta Italian dressing. The dressing is tangy and the pancetta is hearty, just a nice spinach salad.
Seafood Linguini: Lots of perfect seafood tossed in a wonderful light red sauce, every bite cooked delicately, with nice tomato nuances.
Fettuccini Alfredo: Flat slender noodles sautéed in a rich cream sauce. Oh there is nothing better then a super creamy Fettuccini Alfredo, one of my most favorite pasta dishes.
Osso Bucco: Tender Veal Shank, braised vegetables in a tomato white wine sauce, served over creamy Parmesan risotto. This dish is just like a Jewish Grandmother’s stew but Italian. It is the same type of warm yummy comfort food, and the risotto is the perfect addition.
Stuffed Eggplant Florentine: Fresh marinated eggplant stuffed with ricotta cheese spinach and Italian herbs. Baked and topped with melted mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce served with penne ala vodka. Another super fantastic dish, with all of the right seasonings, cooked to perfection.
Homemade Tiramisu: Layers of ladyfingers cookies and sweet creamy coffee inspired whipped cream, served with a drizzle of syrup. A large healthy piece packed with all of the creamy coffee goodness you would expect, but just a touch more elegant.
Cannoli: Crunchy cannoli shell stuffed with a sweet, creamy, chocolate chip filling. This for me was the cat’s meow. The filling is what I really loved, yum!
I had a couple nice glasses of Chardonnay to taste, but because it was a daytime tasting I did not do my usual extended wine pairing. Their wine list is very good for single glasses. I had a glass of Josh, Craftsman’s Collection. They have a well-rounded list of wines to choose from.
When the word gets out about the great food at Veneto’s it will be a hard place to get into, so get there now! This place is a keeper; in this fun beachside community you can have perfectly authentic Italian cuisine that is fresh and affordable. Mangiamo.
608 N Coast Hwy
Oceanside, CA 92054