South Bay restaurants
The pizza oven at Garbatella Osteria Bar, a new Italian restaurant at Otay Ranch Town Center. Photo credit: Screen shot, @garbatella.osteria via Instagram

A new Italian restaurant and cafe has opened and the long-time restauranteurs chose the South Bay for their first U.S. venture.

Garbatella Osteria Bar, at the Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista, is owned by two husband-and-wife duos, Antonio Luiu and Diana Gonzalez and Saul Plata and Carelma Rodriguez. They have operated restaurants in Mexico and Canada for three decades.

According to Luiu, the chef, the name “garbatella” pays homage to the neighborhood in Rome where he lived after moving from Sardinia.

“The Italian to English translation of our name – ‘Garbata’ meaning ‘humble’ and ‘bella’ meaning ‘beauty’ – felt like the right choice for our new home here in Chula Vista,” he explained.

Garbatella Osteria is a 206-seat restaurant that offers a full bar, event space, outdoor patio and Italian cafe. It features an imported Italian wood-fire pizza oven, private wine lockers and live music. The menu is meant to bring Luiu’s upbringing to mind, reflecting the food with which he was was raised.

Specialities include a “Frittura Garbatella” seafood dish, parmesan fondue, lasagna della garbata, classic carbonara and Antonello pizza topped with jumbo shrimp.

In addition, the pizza oven will be managed by pizzaiolos who were trained in Italy. Aside from nightly dinner service, Garbatella Osteria will offer breakfast and lunch, plus Italian coffee, pastries and breads.

The partners chose Otay Ranch for their first U.S. restaurant, and sixth overall, because of the strong community feeling, they said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Garbatella Osteria Bar to our already outstanding lineup of diverse dining options at Otay Ranch Town Center. We know our guests and the community will enjoy their robust menu and unique offerings, making it a popular choice any day of the week,” said the center’s General Manager Tim Kilcourse.

Garbatella Osteria, located at 2015 Birch Road, is currently open from 1 to 10:30 p.m. daily. The restaurant will begin serving breakfast in the dining room and open an attached cafe later this year. For more information, follow the eatery on Instagram, @garbatella.osteria.