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Authentic Food in Little Italy – The Real Sicilian Pizza

3 December, 2016

Experience authentic food in Little Italy.

Do you like pizza?

For many Italians who grew up in Little Italy–their pizza was/is sfincione.

You’re thinking huh? Sfincione–-what is that??? Well–most of the Italians in Little Italy, San Diego were/are Sicilian. Sfincione is a thick Sicilian pizza, topped with a sauce of tomatoes, onions, a few anchovies or salted sardines and evoo. The cheese–is NOT mozzarella–if that was your first guess. Sfincione has grated caciovallo cheese, a stretched-curd cheese made out of sheep’s or cow’s milk, that dates back to 500 BC. Or the recipe calls for primo sale, a mild Italian sheep’s milk cheese. Sometimes the primo sale cheese is stuffed into the crust. Take that Pizza Hut! The pizza is sprinkled with breadcrumbs, a tiny bit of oregano according to certain recipes (some omit) and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil.

“Sicilian pizza” is thick and sfincione translates as “thick sponge” and is the kind of pizza consumed especially in the western part of Sicily. The spongy crust is an inch thick. Sfincione is more like bread than pizza –which in Italy usually has a thin crust–think Neapolitan style–it’s circular cousin. The tomatoes are key of course, but the real flavour–the secret to it’s unique flavor of sfincione comes from the onions––sautéed in olive oil before baking.

By tradition, Sicilians serve sfincione on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve and Good Friday. In warmer months it is served at room temperature. I still remember heartily eating it with my family on paper plates and the olive oil soaking through the plate! Soooo good!!!

Sfincione is baked in a square tray and cut into square or rectangular pieces. This is old school pizza. Would you like to try some and see what all the fuss is about? You can go all around Little Italy, San Diego and not find it. Sicilians make it at home. But we know where we can order it special for you and you can taste some if you come on the Little Italy Pizza Tour with us. Your tummy will be so happy!


Our guide was simply amazing!!! He was well animated, very accommodating, and extremely personable. He was quite a character, in a fun and exciting way. I have nothing but positive things to say about my tour experience. I highly recommend choosing Little Italy Tours to be your tour guide! — VM, Bonita, CA
This is a MUST See and Do attraction in SD. Even members of our group who were born here, were blown away by the City and Neighborhood's History and stories. It was like we were transported back in time. The company and our guide did an Amazing Job!!! Our Group of 20+ can't stop raving about it! —Lisa B. Chula Vista, CA
What a ball! My colleagues and I took the Little Italy tour for our office party and a bit of team-building. We had so much fun. Our guide was amazing. We learned so much about pizza and Italian cuisine and Little Italy's influence in San Diego. We ate, we learned, we drank, and we had a ball! I would highly recommend taking a tour with Little Italy. Grazie mille!!! — Robin D. San Diego, CA
What an amazing and engaging tour guide we had! The best of the best! I feel in love with Italy all over again. The pizza, pasta and gelato was as tasty as could be. Their cooking class is next on my list. Ciao! —Marlo V. Las Vegas, NV
My work department did this tour as part of our holiday celebrations and had a great time! Our tour guide was very informative and energetic. We learned all about where pizza came from and each stop taught us something new and allowed us to try pizza from a different region. You will leave full and educated! —Sheila S. Boston, MA
Best hour and a half out of a 9 day trip. Thanks to our guide for an entertaining and informative tour of Little Italy! —Duane L. Duluth, MN
We had a WONDERFUL tour this morning with our guide!! We all, ages from 14 to 53, had such a special and fun time learning about the history of Little Italy... We will DEFINITELY schedule something else with this group. It was truly the highlight of our vacation! —Suzy H. Irvine, CA
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