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By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2020 – Giardino’s Neighborhood Cucina in Lemon Grove has set up a large outdoor dining pavilion where you can dine al fresco in the COVID era. (There are also indoor tables available, if you prefer).  Doing our part to help support local restauranteurs in these challenging times, our family recently savored the flavors there.

We started with a cheese and meat charcuterie board I enjoyed a house specialty Anchovie Parpardelle, a wide pasta noodle dish served with anchovies, capers, olives, roasted tomatoes and bread crumbs, which was delicious.

My husband enjoyed a piping hot bowl of Cioppino, or seafood stew, while our son’s favorite was the lamb chop lollipops.

Their set-up has strings of outdoor lighting. Be sure to check out the new murals on interior and exterior walls, including “pandemic art” paintings that parody famous works of art including a masked Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s self portrait with a mask dangling off one ear.

Giardino’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, also offering weekend brunches, happy hours and family style catering.  They also have a full bar with some unique original cocktails, though a food order is required with alcohol orders per county and state law during the pandemic.

There is some traffic noise, so you may wish to request a table close to the restaurant rather than the street.  The outdoor area is also set up with heaters in readiness for those cool, crisp fall and winter evenings to come.

Check out their full menu at

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