Domenic’s: Light on Meat But Full of Tradition and Ambiance

Patch gets a taste of Italy this week while looking for meaty dishes in a place known for its carbs.

I’m heading into this review by providing a full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of for years now. Does that make me biased? Perhaps, but I’ll do my best to be as middle-of-the-road as possible.

I love Domenic’s for its simplicity. It never pretends to be anything it’s not. It’s not a high-end Italian restaurant, nor will it ever be a place for important people to be seen. It’s not the best or most interesting Italian food in San Diego County, but it’s also far from the worst. 

This is where local families and friends come to have a traditional meal, share a few laughs over a glass of wine and enjoy each other’s company. Domenic’s oozes warmth and that translates into some good, old-fashioned culinary love.

Now for the important part of this article: the food. Yes, it’s very typical Italian food so it’s heavy on the pasta, but there are also some meaty tidbits to be found for Poway’s carnivores. They have quite a few menu categories: antipasti, soups, salads, pasta, kitchen specialties, oven-baked selections, pizzas and sides.

Many categories only have a few selections with protein, while others are nothing but meat. The specialita della cucina is the big winner, where every single item is made with either chicken, veal or seafood. 

After coming to Domenic’s for so long, I’ve tried almost every appetizer they offer, but my family and I skipped the apps on this trip to make plenty of room for their endless basket of yummy garlic knots. Once again, my kids were in tow, but mainly because I know this place has food they enjoy. 

Between the four of us, we ordered a small Caesar salad ($6.95), a half-pepperoni, half-mushroom and pepperoni pizza ($15.45), ravioli alla bolognese ($10.00) and spaghetti carbonara ($10.00). They have a special from Sunday through Thursday, 4:00 p.m.—8:00 p.m. where all solo pasta dishes are $10 each. This is a good discount from their usual pasta prices, which range from $11 to $17, so a weekday visit can yield a decent savings.

Yes, all the food was good, as usual. The pizza is never greasy and has a great homemade crust. The Caesar salad is full of garlic and anchovy flavor. Both pasta dishes were heavily sauced—this is something they’ve always overdone—but at least it’s tasty. The upside? There’s plenty of sauce for dipping all those garlic knots! Most of their portions are big enough to feed two people so, sadly, no one left room for dessert. 

It hurts my heart to say this, but Domenic’s gets my first sub-5 meat-friendly rating with a meager 4. They’re heavy on all things pasta and cheese, but it’s still worth a visit. I’m sure even carnivores love carbs!

There’s quite a bit of chicken, some veal, cured meats and seafood and even a smattering of pork here and there. If nothing else, it’s worth a visit to have a glass of chianti with a solid meal in an atmosphere that feels more like a friendly Italian kitchen. That’s amore!


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