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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 4,058 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian
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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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395 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
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
2 helpful votes 2 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
35 reviews 35 reviews
32 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
26 reviews 26 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 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
140 reviews 140 reviews
113 restaurant reviews
50 helpful votes 50 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
Santa Monica, California
17 reviews 17 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 29, 2014

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

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 2
Staten Island, New York
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
15 helpful votes 15 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

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