1 must try italian restaurant
Food & Drink

1 Must-Try Italian Restaurant in Downtown San Diego

It was my boyfriend’s birthday and I wanted to go somewhere really special. Per usual, I looked at Tik Tok for ideas since there are always so many restaurant recommendations! I was looking to try somewhere new, but sometimes that can be a risk.

I kept seeing videos about Seneca Trattoria, and it looked beautiful! I made a reservation a couple of weeks out, and I am so happy I did because apparently the reservations fill up really fast and it’s hard to get a table on busy nights when walking in.

Seneca Trattoria

This restaurant is located at the top of the Intercontinental, so I had never seen it before and it can be a bit confusing to get up there. You can enter the hotel and then take a couple of elevators up. When you first exit the elevator, there is a dark room with a bunch of little lights, which was so cute!

downtown san diego
The view from the restaurant!
san diego ocean view
Another view!

I told them when I made the reservation on Open Table that we were there for a birthday, and they gave us a menu that said “Happy Birthday” – It was so cute!

seneca menu

This is definitely a special occasion restaurant because it’s pretty expensive. We dressed up, and it is fairly fancy.

I really loved the decor and the views. We were sat inside, but if you are outside you can see downtown, the ocean, and the Coronado bridge. I absolutely love downtown and I really enjoy rooftops because you can see so much.

The Food

I thought the food was absolutely amazing! We definitely splurged since it was a birthday. We started off with a bottle of prosecco, which was really fun. The waiter brought it over in a pretty gold basket and poured it for us. My boyfriend and I love to do this every once in a while to feel fancy and treat ourselves!


For an appetizer, we got the arancini and it was amazing!! This was one of my favorite things I ate here. The outside was crisp, the inside had so much flavor. I had not tried arancini before – they are basically fried Italian rice balls.


The pasta looked amazing, but we decided to order the steak and one of the pizzas. The steak was absolutely amazing and my other favorite thing from the dinner. It came with bone marrow butter, and it all melted in my mouth. So good.


We got the patata pizza with potatoes and pancetta on it. I am not always a huge fan of pizza, but it was pretty good. I wouldn’t say it was as good as the other food.

patata pizza

For dessert, we had my favorite – tiramisu. It was really delicious. I love ordering dessert for occasions like this.

Treat yourself!

If you ever find yourself in the San Diego area, you definitely need to try this out. I would recommend looking at a reservation a couple of weeks in advance.

I love getting out there and trying new things. Even if it’s not a birthday, I have to remind myself that I deserve to have fun, eat food I love, and spend a little money here and there. Fancy dinners don’t happen all of the time, but when they do, I am so grateful for the quality time! If you live in San Diego, this can be a fun stay-cation idea!

Other San Diego Restaurants I Like

  • Bali Hai – Known for their strong mai tais, proceed with caution but they are so good!
  • Miguel’s – I love the Portside Pier location because you are right on the water.
  • Fernside – A casual bar with food, some good vibes in South Park!
  • Salvatore’s – A fun, Italian spot in downtown with lights and night vibes.

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