OUR Story

Guido Nistri and Velentina Di Pietro

Guido Nistri and Velentina Di Pietro

Valentina Di Pietro, Co-owner

While teaching and pursuing higher education at SDSU and UCSD, Valentina worked with Guido at Caffé Bella Italia for several years. After getting married, they decided to move back to Milan, where Valentina began to work in fashion public relations. While in New York working for Dolce & Gabbana, Valentina helped Guido to bring Bencotto’s concept to life, and now she is putting her public relations skills at service of this new endeavor.

Guido Nistri, Co-owner

Abandoning his decennial bank career, Guido left Milan in 1998, determined to follow his passion for food, wine, and hospitality. Guido started working in the restaurant business in September 1998, when he opened in partnership the Italian Restaurant Caffé Bella Italia in Pacific Beach, San Diego, serving authentic Italian food in an elegant atmosphere. In 2004, Guido moved back to Italy, hired as general manager to run the up-scale restaurant Osteria Artidoro — located in the historic area in Milan. In the meantime, he studied and became Sommelier. In January 2007, Guido was appointed as project manager to open Obiká Restaurant and Lounge Bar — on top of the oldest and most celebrated department store in Milan “La Rinascente”, situated in front of the Duomo cathedral. In December 2007, longing to return to the States, Guido accepted the offer from Parmacotto, prominent Italian Specialty Meat Company. As Project Manager, Guido opened Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto in the Upper West Side, an Italian bistro (designed by Oscar winner Dante Ferretti) offering a variety of the best Italian recipes and cold cuts.

Fabrizio Cavallini, Executive Chef and Co-founder

Fabricio Cavallini cooking in Bencotto Italian Kitchen

Fabrizio was born and raised in Emilia Romagna, which is among the Italian regions most famous and celebrated for culinary excellence. His family has been in the restaurant business since 1960. After spending his young years in the family Gourmet kitchen, Fabrizio was accepted at the Hospitality Institute in Modena. In 1993, Fabrizio bought restaurant Europa 93, which he ran successfully for thirteen years, offering an outstanding variety of homemade pasta. In 2006,

Fabrizio was hired by Guido as chef for Osteria Artidoro, where expertise and talent excelled with both Milanese and international clientele. In 2008, Fabrizio was hired as executive chef of Beccofino, a high-volume gourmet in historic Milan. Fabrizio was responsible for preparing complete and elaborated menus for up-scale catering and food connoisseurs dinners. At Beccofino, he broadened his knowledge of semi-industrial kitchen appliances, experimented new recipes, and introduced innovative combinations of traditional menus.

Patrick Daniels, Co-founder

Co-founder Patrick Daniels began his love affair with Italy long before he entered the University of California at Berkeley where he studied Literature, Art History, Italian history and language. His passion for Italian culture brought him to Rome for a couple of years. After several years in the Bay Area and checking out every hot spot in San Francisco's Italian North Beach he came to San Diego to peruse a law degree at USD and become an accomplished international attorney who travels the world for business. He married Virginia, native of Milan, living in San Diego. Through his bride he met Guido and Valentina. The 2 couples along with Chef Fabrizio Cavallini, formed a great team that turned into the successful modern Italian concept: Bencotto. Through his travels, Patrick gets to experience design, art and restaurants around the world. Teaming up with his partners, Patrick brings to San Diego the best of those culinary and design experiences.


Bencotto Italian Kitchen Concept

“Bencotto” means and refers to a meal “done well,” or perfectly cooked. In Bencotto’s kitchen, culinary expertise meets the highest — quality and genuine taste.

The concept of Bencotto was conceived as a natural extension of the depth and breadth of Italy’s culinary heritage. Our core belief is that high-quality food can be simple and supremely delicious. With an American as well as international audience in mind, Bencotto came to life inspired by the authenticity of an Italian kitchen juxtaposed with modern scenery.

Our unique approach to Italian cooking tradition, offers hand made “home style” dishes in an environment that reflects who we are: young generation of Italians who celebrate their culinary heritage, presenting it in a modern, relaxed, and inviting kitchen-restaurant.

Located in the new “Q” building in the heart of Little Italy, Bencotto is the ultimate Italian eating experience, drawing inspiration from the kitchens where Italians grow up, cook, and eat.

Combining different experiences from the restaurant business in Milan, Modena, San Diego, and New York, Bencotto offers a unique take on Italian cuisine. The traditional menu is untraditionally “designed-to-share” so that guests can casually pick and choose dishes while enjoying either an “aperitivo” or a full course meal.

Bencotto’s space is designed to welcome guests as they enter an inviting contemporary Italian family kitchen with warm Old World service.

We are a young generation from Northern Italy (Milano and Modena). After owning a restaurant in San Diego in 1998 for seven years, running a fine-dining restaurant and a mozzarella-bar in Milan, and opening an bistro in New York, we realized that our “home” was indeed San Diego, where it all started ten years earlier. So we decided to come back to San Diego — welcoming and curious in its relaxed urban vibe — to share our worldly restaurant experience blended with our culinary heritage.