Tasty Tuesday: Look no further than Origano

by Christine Whitman, Senior Staff Writer

No matter where you go in San Diego, there seems to be a phenomenal restaurant around every corner. For this particular Tasty Tuesday I discovered the wonderful restaurant Origano while walking the streets of Hillcrest with my family.

My family and I arrived at the prime time for lunch around 1 p.m. The Italian-inspired restaurant was packed with food-lovers, but we were still greeted and seated promptly. Origano features both indoor and outdoor seating, as well as two bars; one allowing customers to watch the cooks in their craft. Origano may be on the smaller side, but their portions are anything but small.

Our waitress hastily filled our drink order before greeting the next table full of people. Heads up to Aztecs of legal drinking age, Origano features half-off selected wines on Wednesdays as well as serving bottomless mimosas everyday for brunch. When my party was ready to order, we all coincidentally picked different items off of the Lunch menu, even though Origano also serves breakfast until 3 p.m.

Debbie Whitman, better known as my mother, ordered the Sausage Fettuccine served with sautéed garlic, Italian sausage, mushrooms, fresh tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese. Coming from an Italian background, it’s no surprise my mother ordered pasta, because everywhere she goes she tries to compare the restaurant’s pasta to her own.

“The flavoring and use of spices was spot on, and the pasta was cooked perfectly,” Whitman said. Coming from my mother, that’s a huge compliment because no pasta ever seems to be as remarkable as hers.

My aunt ordered a Chicken Pesto Sandwich on sourdough bread served with a small garden salad with your choice of dressing. This decadent sandwich, $9.95, contains grilled chicken, roasted peppers mushrooms, onions, pesto and mozzarella. This sandwich is bigger than expected, so be prepared to bring half of it home for later. For myself, I ordered the Chicken Napoleon for $13.95, which is a chicken breast sautéed in a white wine sauce and served with roasted eggplant, mozzarella cheese and heirloom tomatoes on top. I normally don’t order things like this at restaurants, but I am definitely glad I did. Everything in the dish was cooked impeccably; the chicken and the thin layer of mozzarella on top melted in my mouth, and the eggplant and heirloom tomatoes are a perfect combination.

As far as pricing, Origano is on the more expensive side for a college student’s budget, but is definitely worth the money for the full-flavored dishes and larger serving sizes. At dinner, served from 5-9:30 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, the entrees are more expensive than at lunch, which is not uncommon for most establishments.

Origano has high quality, Italian inspired cuisine that’s great to enjoy for lunch with friends or date night with someone special, with Valentine’s day this weekend it might be a good time to make a reservation. If you’re looking for a great restaurant in Hillcrest, look no further than Origano!