“Cori” means heart in Chef/Owner Accursio Lota’s native Sicilian dialect, and at the heart of Cori Pastificio, it’s all about love.
The love of authentic, handmade food, shared with friends and family in a convivial atmosphere.
The love of warm hospitality, welcoming guests in a casual setting where all can feel comfortable.
The love of excellent value, pairing high quality ingredients and masterful preparation with prices so affordable that you won’t have to wait for a special occasion to dine at Cori.
And, the love of the vibrant North Park neighborhood, where Chef and his family live and are actively involved in the community.
The dishes you’ll enjoy at Cori are gifts from Chef Accursio’s heart, melding the flavors of his Italian and Sicilian homeland with the best of local Southern California ingredients.
The expanded menu balances classic and contemporary Italian food in a setting reminiscent of the time-honored trattorias found throughout Italy. Enjoy full service table seating, grab a place at the marble-topped bar, from which you can watch all the action of your meal being prepared in the open kitchen or just order your meal to enjoy at home with your family.
A trattoria is more informal than a fine dining restaurant and at its heart is the emphasis on authentic, accessible food—pastas and sauces crafted fresh daily from family recipes, and produce harvested from nearby farms and gardens. A trattoria is the heartbeat of a neighborhood, a place to get together with friends, socialize over a glass of wine, and relish food so comforting and satisfying that you’d be happy to eat there every day.
This is the heart of Cori Pastificio Trattoria.
“Pastificio” in Italian is a shop where pasta is made by hand and sold, and at Cori you’ll find a display case filled with a selection of our fresh pastas—homemade daily—to bring home and create your own masterpieces.
From our heart to your plate, Cori Pastificio Trattoria serves you great food, seasoned with love.
Chef Accursio Lota
The hands behind Trattoria Cori Pastificio, North Park.
Accursio Lota grew up in a small agricultural town in Sicily, enjoying and learning to cook the centuries-old Mediterranean recipes made by his mother and grandmother. These recipes glorified locally caught fish, local farm-raised meat, and the fruits and vegetables from his family’s own prolific gardens. There was spicy green oil from their olive groves, homemade wine from the grapes they grew, and fresh-made ricotta cheese from neighboring sheep and goat dairies. All this bounty led Lota to develop a strong attachment to the land, culture and food of his homeland, and the conviction from an early age that he wanted to be a chef. “I loved to be in the kitchen,” he recalls. “When I was just a baby, my mom would put a pile of flour and water in front of me to play with on our tiled kitchen floor. By the time I was five, I was coming home from school and pulling out the flour, sugar and milk and making crepes!”
At 14, Chef Lota began culinary school and at 18 represented his school in a prestigious national culinary competition. Upon graduation, he worked at the Four Seasons Hotel in Milan under the tutelage of Chef Sergio Mei, one of the most highly respected chefs in Europe. “From him I learned the simplicity of pairing ingredients, and the search for inventive, but honest, flavors, as well as the essential techniques of fine dining cuisine,” Lota explains.
When he was 22, Chef Lota transferred to The Biltmore Santa Barbara, also a Four Seasons Resort. There he learned the importance of sourcing organic products from small, local producers. During this time, he had the honor of cooking at a private fundraising dinner for 2000 guests at Oprah Winfrey’s house in Montecito, benifitting the future President, Barack Obama.
At 24, Lota was offered the Exec Sous Chef position at a new 5 diamond hotel Imperiale in Taormina, Sicily, and returned to his home country as a success. In this position, he developed his personal culinary style, which he characterizes as “Sicilian tradition meets a new, global generation”. He was able to hone his skills and style further when, on returning to California, he became the sous chef at the Marine Room in La Jolla, and expanded his understanding of global fusion cuisine.
In 2012, Chef Lota and his wife Corinne Goria, a San Diego native, launched an intimate dining club – Limone: Fine Dining Underground – where they served multiple-course meals to a few select guests. This venture gave him carte blanche to explore new tastes, textures and presentations using molecular gastronomy, haute cuisine and traditional Sicilian techniques, to widespread acclaim. At the end of that year, Chef Lota was tapped to become the executive chef of Solare Ristorante in Liberty Station, and during the six and a half years that he helmed the kitchen there, he and the restaurant won may prestigious awards, including numerous “Best Chef” titles.
Perhaps Accursio Lota’s most celebrated triumph until now has been winning the 2017 Barilla World Pasta Competition in Italy, for which he was chosen to represent the United States. Competitors in the grueling, multi-day contest embodied the best Italian cuisine chefs of 20 different countries, and the judges included five Michelin-starred chefs, two food critics, and a representative from Barilla.
In 2019, Chef Lota and his wife Corinne founded Lotaria Restaurant Group and opened Cori Pastificio Trattoria in San Diego’s vibrant North Park neighborhood, where the pair and their children live and are actively involved in the local community. At Cori, Chef Lota brings the expression of who he is today and all that he has learned to a casual concept, affordable restaurant. A departure from the fine dining, special occasion culinary model for which he is known in San Diego and Southern California, Cori is the type of restaurant he himself seeks out on his visits to Italy— a family-owned neighborhood favorite with a warm, inviting atmosphere, excellent food made from locally sourced ingredients, and where he is both host and chef with the opportunity to interact with guests on a personal level.
At Cori, which both means “heart” in his Sicilian dialect and is a tribute to his wife’s name, Chef Accursio Lota is presenting the cuisine of his heart to the San Diego dining community.