There’s a father-son duo who would love for you to join them for some warm Southern Italian hospitality this winter and to indulge in one of San Diego’s most intimate, decadent dining experiences. Antonio and Luca Abbruzzino, the Michelin-starred chefs who made a splash last spring with the opening of their stylish eatery Il Dandy in Bankers Hill, have followed that up with the unveiling of Arama, a bonus track restaurant-within-a-restaurant, in May.
The evening begins with an invitation into the kitchen to meet the chef. They have a Michelin star to keep burnished in Calabria, so Antonio and his son, Luca, take turns helming their restaurants—one working in Italy while the other tends to San Diego. On this occasion, I’m in the hands of Antonio. True to the chef’s-table billing, he is a constant presence throughout the evening, delivering each dish to us and explaining—through an interpreter—every one. Arama offers modern gastronomy and small-plate courses unique to the chef’s table, including local spot prawns covered by a thin, gelatinlike layer of beets; minced beef tartare under a dome of oyster foam, topped with caviar; and pasta blackened with sesame and featuring a rich umami flavor thanks to the colatura di alici, an ancient Italian dressing distilled from anchovies.
examination, I come up with rame meaning copper. I’ll chalk it up to a regional dialect, but certainly not lost in translation are the skill and passion exhibited by the kitchen, plus the love and dedication that goes into Arama. Mon.-Fri., $180-$250 per person, 2550 Fifth Ave., Ste. 120, 619.310.5669, ildandyrestaurant.com