About Us

Our story

Our story

Buona Forchetta Encinitas blends award winning Neapolitan-style pies and Northern Italian upscale entrees in a family-friendly, approachable space. Located in Encinitas, this location boasts a indoor seating as well as an outside patio. Inside, a gilded oven, helmed by Pizza World Champion and Pizzaiolo Marcello Avitabile, churns out classic creations, while the main kitchen serves up chef-driven pastas and entree dishes. Owner Matteo Cattaneo brought the Italian warehouse-style eatery to life.


Our Star Player

Our Star Players

Our golden baby, Isabella, was made in Naples, Italy.

Our ovens at all of our Buona Forchetta locations are made by hand using materials that are capable of withstanding the high temperatures typical of Neapolitan pizza-making, which is anywhere from 700 to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit. The crown and domes of these ovens are made with hand-pressed bricks, while the floor of the ovens are formed out of Biscotto di Sorrento clay from Italy’s Sorrento region; these specifications ensure the uniformly retained heat so important for baking Neapolitan pizza.

Read more about America’s coolest pizza ovens in this Food and Wine article about Buona Forchetta’s Sofia pizza oven at our South Park location.

Marcello Avitabile: Master Pizzaiolo

Marcello Avitabile: Master Pizzaiolo

Italian native and Master Pizzaiolo Marcello Avitabile helms the gold tiled ovens at the newly opened Buona Forchetta Encinitas. A spin-off of the beloved South Park eatery, Marcello’s signature Neapolitan pizzas have catapulted the neighborhood restaurant to the front pages of The New York Times, the Where to Eat Pizza book, and Sunset Magazine, among others.

Growing up in the seaside city of Naples, Marcello garnered three World Pizza Championships by the time he was recruited as a consulting pizzaiolo for the launch of Buona Forchetta, and after six months spreading his Neapolitan pizza gospel, signed up to live and work full time in San Diego.

Now a five-time World Pizza Champion, including two championships for gluten free crust, Marcello has turned his attention to the highly anticipated opening of Officine Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station, where his top-secret family recipe has spawned legions of hungry fans and dough heads the world over. Characterized by a thin, charred and blistered crust, Marcello has unveiled new vegan and vegetarian-friendly Neapolitan pies, along with a ‘pizza al metro,’ a completely customizable pie that tops out at nearly two feet long.




Seeking adventure and a fresh perspective, restaurateur Matteo Cattaneo left the olive groves of his family’s Italian vineyard and booked a one-way ticket west to San Diego, ostensibly to study law. A part-time job at a friend’s restaurant blossomed into a love affair with hospitality, and coupled with a newfound adoration with his neighborhood of South Park, began laying the foundations to bring authentic Italian cuisine and a culture of eating to San Diego.

Fast-forward four years, and Matteo’s Buona Forchetta has successful redefined Italian food in San Diego. Transforming an empty building into a welcoming neighborhood pizzeria, Buona Forchetta has become one of the most beloved restaurants in town, with multi-hour waits and lines circling the block nearly every day of the week. With the help of Master Pizzaiolo and five-time World Pizza Champion Marcello Avitabile, Buona Forchetta’s pizza program has catapulted the restaurant to the front pages of The New York Times, Sunset Magazine, AFAR Magazine, and Food & Wine Magazine, to name a few.

Nearly two years in the making, Officine Buona Forchetta, designed in the style of an Italian warehouse, has expanded upon the original concept, with new, chef-driven entrees and pasta dishes alongside a more robust selection of Neapolitan pies. A “fun dining” ethos permeates through the space, with a rear patio and playground catering exclusively toward young children and families dining out. Since opening, Officine has caught the eye of national outlets, including Zagat which rated the restaurant one of the hottest new openings in the country.

Buona Forchetta Encinitas is the most recent location opened in San Diego with more to follow.