Opening of Tao Group’s Italian restaurant Lavo in San Diego

The super prolific Tao Group Hospitality, whose restaurants and nightlife spots span the globe and include Herringbone here in La Jolla, is expanding one of its well-known brands to San Diego where it replaces Searsucker, which closed its doors. in the summer of 2020 after a decade in the Gaslamp Quarter. The downtown corner space will reopen in June as washTao’s glitzy Italian destination, and the new Fifth Avenue outpost should align its stellar Las Vegas and New York connections more than the more restaurant-focused iteration which recently opened on LA’s Sunset Strip.

The 235-seat, loft-like restaurant will have a luxury SoCal vibe, with an open kitchen, a large bar set up for watching sports, and a lavish dining room decorated with custom artwork by longtime collaborator Peter Tunney.

Rendering of the bar.

Starting with dinner, Lavo San Diego will launch a lunch and brunch service later this summer. Created by Culinary Director Ralph Scamardella, the menu leans on southern Italian classics, from baked clams to tagliatelle al limone and marsala veal chops. There are also salads, brick-oven pizzas, seafood, and grilled meats, ranging from a 24-ounce rib eye to chicken under a brick. Lavo is also known for a few over-the-top dishes, like his one-pound wagyu meatball and 20-layer chocolate cake. The Italian influence continues at the bar, where the cocktail menu includes negronis and gin and tonics made with Italian bergamot liqueur.

611 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101

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