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Cucina Urbana

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101-1634
+1 619-239-2222
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Ranked #43 of 4,065 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Price range: $10 - $30
Sun - Thu 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Fri - Sat 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Large groups, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: 5th Avenue
Description: CUCINA urbana is a California inspired Italian Kitchen and Wine Shop. Owner Tracy Borkum's flair for combining great ambience, award-winning cuisine and unparalleled service are once again starring components in this Urban Kitchen Group creation. The restaurant is being heralded as the leader in the new regime of affordable dining in San Diego and has been the subject of praise from numerous local and national publications. The restaurant's interior evokes a modern kitchen combined with the history and comfort of an old rustic country farmhouse. A touch of home, splash of bohemia and many objects new and old attract the eye. A focus on raw, sustainable material and reclaimed local material is found throughout. Discarded fence boards recovered from San Diego county wrap columns, walls, service stations and the back bar. Chef Joe Magnanelli's menu offers affordable selections of vasi + antipasti + boards + insalate + pizza + pasta + piatti + dolce. His whimsical expression of Italian classics coupled with the use of the freshest local produce, and organic and sustainable products comprise a diverse menu with all items at or below $20. Whether dining traditionally or 'family style', guests have become hooked on favorites such as stuffed fried squash blossoms, ricotta gnudi, braised black cod and veal piccata. Wines of 'The Americas,' including California, Washington, Oregon, Argentina, Chile and Italy are among the major wine-producing regions offered in CUCINA urbana's retail priced Wine Shop. Guests are invited to visit the restaurant's retail area to select a bottle for lunch or dinner (a corkage fee of $8 applies) or purchase wine to go. Additionally, CU plays host to a monthly 'Winemakers Series,' where guests are invited to enjoy hors d'oeuvres, taste a variety of wines and mingle with a winemaker in a casual, informal setting. - Most menu items $20 and under - strong commitment to seasonality + sustainability - organic + local product used whenever possible - wines from the Americas and Italy - sold at retail pricing - special discounts for cases of wine to go! - Local artisan beers + italian favorites - housemade infused liquors + specialty cocktails
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398 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Vista, California
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2014 NEW

The atmosphere is urban, but very warm and friendly. We sat in the area by the windows on the bench seats and it was very cozy and easy to hear each other. As everyone dug in to their meal, the response was an immediate Mmmm! So we all had to taste each others food. All great. The meat just melted... More

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Augusta, Georgia, United States
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

Cucina was a real Treat. Fresh on steroids!! Food was amazing and very Cool setting. A must do while in San Diego. Yum!!

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Diego, California
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2014

If you like the unusual but want good taste this is the place for you. The food is yummy, the dishes unique, the atmosphere is vibrant and staff engaging. Great place to have dinner.

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Columbia, Maryland
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2014

My wife and I were very excited to spend our anniversary evening at Cucina Urbana. We were seated within 5 minutes of arriving (we had reservations). The beet salad appetizer, pork chop, risotto and tiramisu dessert were all average italian food. In my opinion I would not return to Cucina Urbana for any of these dishes nor recommend them to... More

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Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2014

We were in San Diego for a Conference, Found this lovely place after 2 days battle, We had lunch it was amazing fresh and tasty. Then we start keeping going there for Lunch and Dinner until end of the conference. Fresh vegetables fish and tempting pastas,

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Blaine, Washington
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2014

A friend who's been living in the county for a while introduced me to Cucina. There was a line waiting to get in but as we went down the steps, the bartender, Conner, invited us down to some open seats he had. Nice way to start! Conner's coworker behind the bar was Christina. We asked her to suggest a nice... More

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Redlands, California
18 reviews 18 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2014

If you want good, thoughtful and well prepared food, this is the place for you. There were many unusual offerings including octopus (extremely tender), squid ink risotto (very creamy) and liver pate served on a wood platter with a variety of artisan breads. This is worth the effort to find parking and enjoy an evening out with friends or with... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
Culiacan, Mexico
Senior Contributor
28 reviews 28 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014

When friends go and visiti the city is one of the places i recommend, the place has a great atmosphere, the service is great, and the food superp. I haven´t visited in a while but their short-rib pappardelle is amazing, the pizzas are great also. I also love that you can taake home a lot of their wine offerings, like... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Diego, California
13 reviews 13 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2014

Delicious food, pretty ambiance but very loud. It is a popular restaurant - especially for date night. I enjoyed the specialty pizza here - very gourmet.

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
149 reviews 149 reviews
121 restaurant reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014

Some of our ad reps took me and a coworker out for dinner here last week and it was pretty super. Started with lots of apps for the table - highly recommend the squash blossoms, grilled octopus and polenta board. The salads were also really tasty (kale Caesar and arugula/heirloom tomato). I thought the burrata was just average. For an... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1

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