Owner of Toscana to Launch Second Italian Restaurant in Gaslamp Quarter

Still in the early planning stages, Sean Shoja hopes to offer “casual, family-style” pizza and pasta with Il Sogno Italiano
Photo: Official | From Toscana Cafe & Wine Bar
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Local restauranteur Sean Shoja is taking the Gaslamp Quarter by storm with another Italian food restaurant at 314 Fifth Ave. Il Sogno Italiano, meaning “The Italian Dream,” will open just across the street from Shoja’s other local venture, Toscana Cafe and Wine Bar.

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Shoja described the significance of the restaurant’s name to What Now San Diego on Thursday:

“We plan on emphasizing friends, family, food, and culture,” Shoja said. “I love Italian culture and heritage, and most importantly to me, I love the food.”

Shoja’s previous restaurant ventures have included ViVa Bar + Kitchen and All American Burgers, both of which were based near Horton Plaza. With this new venture, Shoja plans to satisfy the local Italian food demand with a “casual, family-style restaurant,” he told What Now San Diego. 

While Shoja declined to divulge too many details, the restauranteur offered some general menu teasers. As opposed to Toscana Cafe and Wine Bar, Il Sogno Italiano will feature Neapolitan pizzas and fresh, handmade pasta. Other options may be ravioli and local seafood dishes.

However, Shoja is also taking the unpredictable COVID-19 lockdowns into consideration. The menu, he anticipates, will depend on the guests’ dining experience.

“Some food isn’t meant for takeout,” he said. “So, if we end up opening with a takeout-only menu, then we’ll focus on the pizza and pasta and hearty salads. It’s important to make sure the food will taste just as good at home as it would if you were dining in.”

Shoja has yet to set a date for Il Sogno Italiano’s debut.

Photo: Google

Olivia Langen

Olivia Langen is a food and culture journalist who has written her way around the world. After traveling from Moscow to Mumbai and Tokyo to Taipei, she has found her way back to sunny Southern California. There, she spends her free time reading fiction, learning languages, and playing music.
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