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This San Diego Restaurant Launched the First Vegan Italian Menu in the US in 2015

Enjoy focaccia, caprese, lasagna, tiramisu, and more at this Little Italy gem.

Drink from Civico 1845
Food & Drink

Tropea Photo by James Tran

Enjoy focaccia, caprese, lasagna, tiramisu, and more at this Little Italy gem.

Most Italian restaurants offer a few plant-based menu items like pasta with red sauce, bread, and cheese-less salads. But there’s one Italian restaurant in San Diego that is redefining plant-based options—down to using house-made vegan cheeses and meats. Keep reading for a taste of San Diego’s authentic Italian restaurant, Civico 1845.

Civico 1845 in Little Italy

Native Italian brothers Dario and Pietro Gallo opened Civico 1845 in San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood in 2015. With a contemporary design, attentive staff, and stellar menu of Italian classics, Civico 1845 is a hot spot for family dinners, date nights, and everything in between.

The menu at Civico 1845 showcases authentic Italian dishes and flavors inspired by the Gallo’s Italian heritage, made with traditional cooking techniques and local ingredients. If you’ve ever traveled to Italy, you may have noticed their pizzas and pasta taste a lot fresher and lighter than in the US. This is partially attributed to the stricter food regulations in Italy, as well as the use of simple, fresh, and locally grown ingredients.

To offer a true reflection of food served in Italy and provide healthier options than American Italian food, Civico 1845 uses local produce and unprocessed ingredients. And they make just about everything on the menu in-house, including their breads and pasta!

Exterior of Civico 1845

Exterior of Civico 1845 Photo by James Tran

First Italian Vegan Menu in the US

Since Chef Pietro follows a vegan diet himself, he crafted a separate menu for plant-based customers, known as the first Italian vegan menu in the US when it launched in 2015. The menu has evolved over the years and now features house-made vegan cheeses and meats.

Every table at Civico 1845 receives house-made focaccia and vegan pesto to begin the meal. With fresh arugula and basil, this pesto tastes unlike any other vegan option on the market! While you enjoy the fresh bread, peruse Civico 1845’s vegan-friendly wine and cocktail offerings.

The current list of vegan appetizers at Civico 1845 includes Caprese, Fiore Ripieno (stuffed zucchini blossoms), Bruschetta Classica, and Melanzana Parmigiana (eggplant parmesan). For the plant-based entrees, choose from Ragu di Funghi, Vegan Lasagna, Fusilli Del Sud, Spaghetto Italiano, and Rigatoni Puttanesca. Last but not least, try Tiramisu, Affogato, and Cannoli off the vegan dessert menu.

Vegan food from Civico 1845

Ragu di Funghi Photo by James Tran

For more information, visit Civico1845.com.

Allie Mitchell

Allie Mitchell


When Allie responded to an Instagram post on @vegoutlosangeles a few years ago, she had no idea she’d join the coolest vegan team on the planet. An Austin native, actress, yogi, and part-time sword fighter (don’t ask!), Allie is on a mission to live her best life and inspire others to do the same. She graduated from Hussian College In Studio with a B.F.A. in Contemporary Musical Theatre + Film and currently acts, writes, and eats her way through Los Angeles.

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