The Coast News Group
Try the delectable seafood paella at Bella Vista Social Club. Photo courtesy Bella Vista Social Club
Try the delectable seafood paella at Bella Vista Social Club. Photo courtesy Bella Vista Social Club
Lick the Plate

The Bella Vista Social Club & Caffe is a coastal gem

Bella Vista loosely translates into beautiful view and that can most definitely be said about Bella Vista Social Club and Caffe located at the beautiful Sanford Consortium at Torrey Pines near the glider port.


With amazing ocean views, Bella Vista Social Club is one of the most stunning locations in San Diego to enjoy amazing food from Amanda and Nico Caniglia, one of the county’s most dynamic culinary husband and wife teams.

In case you were wondering, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine brings together world-class scientists who work side by side to harness the regenerative powers of stem cells to diagnose, treat and cure a wide range of degenerative diseases and injuries.

The Salk Institute is also close by so there are some very educated folks frequenting this establishment along with a dose of students and visitors to Torrey Pines.

Amanda and Nico both have very international backgrounds, which is reflected in the design, food and their staff that is made up of employees from around the world. They are the couple that brought us Sweiners, the highly original, delicious sausage, baguette and melted Raclette cheese concoction that is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

They were actually at an event in the parking lot of the Sanford Consortium when they noticed the amazing restaurant location available there. In short order they had a business plan drawn up and as restaurant openings go, Bella Vista Social Club was open for business in a matter of months. They have been there more than a year now.

Nicolas Caniglia is fluent in seven languages and comes from Switzerland.

After several years in sales at the Matterhorn in Zermatt, Nico came to the U.S. His sales experience and language skills created the perfect background to succeed in the food industry.

Nico spent several years working and managing top San Diego and Bay Area restaurants before starting his own cafe.

Amanda Caniglia holds a bachelor’s degree from UCSD as well as a TESOL Certificate from UCSD Extension, and a teaching credential from San Diego State.

Most recently, Amanda instructed courses in Business English for foreigners.

She left the world of teaching to pursue her and Nico’s culinary dreams full time.

Amanda is also an accomplished dancer and has toured the world. So yes, to say this is a truly international couple is really an understatement.

All this international flavor is really reflected in the contemporary design of the restaurant. Its clean lines along with its open, airy feel, huge outdoor patio and proximity to the Sanford Consortium, plus the amazing ocean views, make for a unique dining and drinking experience in San Diego.

And then there is the food. My dining experience started with a glass of Prosceco on the patio as the sun was setting over the Pacific. It went perfectly with a Caprese salad with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, basil, roasted pepper and olive oil. That and the prosciutto and melon were a great way to start the meal. It’s an extensive menu that highlights Nico and Amanda’s international perspective and what’s in season.

For entrées we went with the risotto pescatore with calamari, shrimp, mussels and clams in a red wine sauce. Risotto is a key indicator of the talent in the kitchen and this did not disappoint. Nico suggested the Cioppino zuppa di pesce with clams, mussels, shrimp, salmon, calamari and crab legs. It was a seafood extravaganza and everything was fresh and delicious.

They also have a fabulous looking breakfast and lunch menu and now a Sunday Champagne Brunch that runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The breakfast menu is full of stuff I love like bagels, quiche and a wide variety of great-looking omelets.

Lunch looks great too, especially the salad selection. How about the Bella Vista with

Tabouleh, tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, red onions, avocado and their Bella Vista dressing? Or maybe the quinoa, with tomatoes, Persian cucumbers, red onions, avocado and orange. I’d like that right now please. The Del Mar sounds equally attractive with grilled salmon over spring mix with tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, avocado, hard-boiled egg. That’s it; I’m coming back for lunch.

Bella Vista Social Club has recently expanded their hours and are now open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. along with their Sunday brunch. They also do a ton of catering and are a perfect place to host a company event. You will definitely impress out of town guests with this location, atmosphere, super friendly staff and, of course, the food. Check them out

Lick the Plate can now be heard on KPRi, 102.1 FM Monday – Friday during the 7pm hour.  David Boylan is founder of Artichoke Creative and Artichoke Apparel, an Encinitas based marketing firm and clothing line. Reach him at [email protected] or (858) 395-6905.