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“Hidden gem”

Stella Italianfare La Jolla
Ranked #37 of 1,250 Restaurants in La Jolla
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 18 May 2018

What a fun little place that I totally never would've known existed had our CEO not brought us here for a team lunch.

It's in a shopping center and looks tiny from the outside, but the dining room is quite large and airy, and the owner is so very welcoming.

Apparently, my CEO is a regular here, so we got "the royal treatment" the second we sat down at a table in the corner. The owner fussed over us - offering drinks, making sure we weren't bothered by the ray of sunshine coming down on us, asking if we wanted to try anything, bringing wine by - I wonder if he's this friendly with all his customers.

We got an order of the bruschetta to start. I ordered the mushroom pasta (or, Tagliolini Ai Funghi Tartufati), while my CEO ordered the lasagna (Lasagna Romana) and our colleague ordered the mushroom risotto (Risotto Ai Porcini).

The bruschetta was tasty, with lots of flavor coming from the fresh tomato chunks and basil. My entree was delightful and served as a mound of pasta. I could tell the pasta was fresh, and the flavor of the mushroom wasn't too overpowering. It's definitely not a delicate dish, between the heartiness of the pasta and the earthiness of the mushrooms and truffle oil. I had a good amount of food on my plate, which benefitted my husband, who eventually chowed down on my leftovers.

While we were sitting around talking, the owner came out with a plate of their tiramisu, which we immediately set upon. Three women sharing a slice of tiramisu is probably not a pretty image, which I'm pretty sure is why he came out a few minutes later with three slices of what my CEO referred to as "chocolate loaf". And then, of course, we got a small glass of limoncello each.

To say we were stuffed on good stuff by the end of our three-hour lunch is an understatement. They really do serve some tasty food with fresh pastas and ingredients here. It's a bit on the expensive side, but given they're making everything from scratch, it makes sense. I don't know if my colleague and I would've gotten the same amount of attention had we shown up without our CEO, but I am sure the service would've been top-notch.

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Thank Jessica S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2 - 6 of 246 reviews

Reviewed 30 January 2018

I recently had lunch and dinner at Stella UTC - both in the same week! I was 100% satisfied both times. I love the size of the restaurant, the decor, the service - but most of all, the food. I have sampled three of their pasta dishes. For lunch, I had Tortellini Chloe (called Tortellini alla Boscaiola on the dinner menu), a rich, creamy pasta to die for! For dinner, I had Ravioli Ricotta e Spinaci, also delicious. I tasted my friend’s Papperdelle Pesto e Gamberi, which was good too, and I understand that it reheats very well. Don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior and location (hidden away in the small Renaissance strip mall east of UTC) - this is a first-class restaurant!

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Thank Judikin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2018 via mobile

Eight of us stopped for a nice meal after work. The setting is small and intimate, with room for a few large tables. Even so, there was no noise from the other groups. The menu has a typical italian variety of the dishes you know and some you don’t. We had Fritto Misty and Buffalo Caprese to share. Both excellent choices, the calamari was plentiful and enough for our party of eight. The Caprese absurdly fresh and flavorful. I loved my wine - a Barbera D’Alba with lots of options by glass or bottle. I had a layered eggplant and beef I could not possibly finish, it was the size of a small football, and wonderfully reminiscent of something a friends grandmother would make for me. All my friends loved their meals. Definitely worth a return trip.

Thank C0dys_Dad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 December 2017

We were impressed with the high quality of the food being served. We stopped I on a busy Friday night and had a wonderful meal. I had a pasta special which was wonderful and my wife enjoyed her shrimp special. The service was excellent.

1  Thank Peter F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2017

This delightful gem tucked into a strip mall off Towne Center Drive in UTC (not downtown La Jolla) is fantastico! We met with 3 other couples for dinner and were treated to exceptionally delicious food in substantial portions and absolutely "spot on" service! Our waiter "Eric" was the best, providing sample tastes from a number of their nice selection of wines for us to choose the few we settled on. I had one of the "specials of the day" - Osso Bucco - that must have simmered since noon that day into a "fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, abondanza entree" of incredibly flavorful meat accompanied by beautifully wide, fresh fettuccine dripping in the thick, rich, and satiny brown sauce the shank had spent the day flavoring. I don't think I've ever had better Osso Bucco anywhere! All of the dishes of our friends were equally delicious and the lasagna was particularly mouthwatering. I can't wait to return!

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1  Thank DesertLovr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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