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San Clemente Journal

Pronto Italian Deli, A Deli with a Restaurant Mentality

Dec 07, 2021 09:39AM ● By Nina Welch

Chef Adriano Piazza with his mom, Donatella and father, Franco.

By Nina Welch

A family-owned Italian deli opened in the heart of San Clemente on April 21st of this year. Owners Chef Adriano Piazza and his parents Donatella and Franco are bringing their authentic Italian cuisine to town for everyone to enjoy.

Donatella came to the United States long before Adriano was born. At 18, she moved from Italy to California and graduated from Pomona College. Her parents moved to Claremont from Italy in 1978 and never returned. In the late 1980s, Donatella went back to Italy, married and had her children, Fiammetta, who is now a lawyer in Century City, and Adriano. 

Adriano graduated from the University of Gastronomic Sciences, Italy, founded by the Slow Food Association and promoting the concept of healthy, good, sustainable food. He is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education and is WSET (Wine, Spirit, and Education Trust) certified. His lifelong goal and the subject of his thesis was the opening of an Italian restaurant in the United States, and, presto, Pronto’s Italian Deli was born.

“Being from a very traditional family in Italy, I’ve always been interested in cooking. It’s been a part of my whole life. I cook the same food in this kitchen that I would at home,” says Adriano. 
His staple dishes are lasagna ala Bolognese, using his great-great-grandmother’s recipe, and eggplant parmigiana. Other Italian fare available there are meatball sandwiches, which pay tribute to Italian Americans, and made-from-scratch pizzas using flour imported from Naples. Desserts are also prepared in house. Every day there is fresh tiramisu, ricotta cannoli, and “sfogliatelle” (a shell-shaped pastry), as well as Italian cookies and cake of the day. 

The deli has indoor and outdoor seating where one can enjoy rare-to-find Italian beers and imported Italian wines. Also on the menu, customers can enjoy prosecco accompanied by charcuterie and cheese platters or one of the pasta dishes Adriano makes to order such as short rib ravioli with porcini mushrooms, lobster ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, or gnocchi with gorgonzola and walnuts. At the deli counter, one can purchase typical Italian cured meats including bresaola, speck, guanciale and cheeses like Taleggio, scarmorze, fresh mozzarella, and burrata.

During the Christmas season, Pronto Italian Deli will be stocked with traditional, seasonal Italian delicacies that include Panettone, Pandoro, Torrone–Nougat.

When you come to Pronto’s or order online you can try Adriano’s daily choice or indulge in a cannoli, like the little blue-eyed child who shared one with her mom while waiting for their pizza to go. 

Pronto Italian Deli 221 B Avenida Del Mar, SC  www.prontoitaliandeli.com.
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