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Cucina Urbana

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101-1634
+1 619-239-2222
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Ranked #40 of 4,044 restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $10 - $30
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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389 reviews from our community

87% Recommend
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
137 reviews 137 reviews
112 restaurant reviews
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

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

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Santa Monica, California
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014 NEW

lamb pizza - really good burger - pretty darn good lasagna - good but corners were hard I enjoyed my lunch there. the big letdown was the dessert. The budino was like mud. Budinos are usually creamy and smooth like pudding, but this was like sludge. The cannoli would have been great if it weren't for the giant scales of... More

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New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2014 NEW

My husband and I ate here during our short stay in San Diego. The food was absolutely amazing and memorable! The service was great! Staff was very attentive! We ordered the stuffed squash blossoms, the roasted suckling pig, the pepperoni and fennel sausage pizza, the short rib pappardelle, and the bucatini alla'amatriciana, everything was so good! The star however was... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Staten Island, New York
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 23, 2014

Not a bad word about them. Everything here exemplary. Had the pork appetizer and it nearly melted in my mouth. The parpadelle was outstanding. Everything seemed very fresh and was delicious. Bonus was that a 5 year old was able to sit at the bar and order. Made her feel very adult. They also allow kids to make their own... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2014

We visited several times while in San Diego. This is a summary of those visits. Happy hour is great. $5 deals. Daily specials 5-6PM. No corkage on bubbles Fridays. Corkage policy is great. They sell at retail price and add $8 corkage for drinking there. The pizzas were great. Our risotto was not great, but the flavor was nice. The... More

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Tucson, Arizona
19 reviews 19 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2014

We didn't give the food a chance because since we arrived without reservations (I called first to see if it was a family restaurant and they said they were and never advised us to make a reservation), we were seated at the bar (5 of us including 2 toddlers). The bar counter had very little space for eating, it was... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2014

Very attractive locale, suitably decorated. Antipasti were excellent, especially the risotto and the burratta caprese, but then their non-Italian dishes failed. First a rib-eye that was not a rib-eye at all, more like a flit mignon, but which the waiter took back at no cost, and a shrimp dish that disappointed. The pasta with shredded ribs were good, as well... More

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2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

What an experience everything we ordered from the menu was amazing. And they do not over charge for there wines you can order a bottle there and basically pay the same price like if your purchasing it from your local grocery store they do charge a corkage fee $8.00 on certain days if have not been here you have to... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Rancho Cucamonga, California
3 reviews 3 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 30, 2014

Excellent from the reservation process, the short wait at the bar, the excellent wait staff, AND THE FOOD! True attention to every detail. We had a party of 6 and ordered many small plates, and salads, and pizza and every dish was amazing. Even the deserts are true to Italian culture subtle, and slightly sweet all was so delicious my... More

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
16 reviews 16 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2014

The food, service, and atmosphere line up perfectly with this restaurant. Everything we ordered was so amazing, we actually returned to eat there a second night during our week long stay.

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