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Cucina Urbana

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101-1634
+1 619-239-2222
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Ranked #29 of 4,041 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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384 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
San Marcos, California
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
87 restaurant reviews
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 31, 2014

Met up with some visiting out of town friends. Waiter recommended pork belly dish. I was a little hesitate but went with the recommendation and it was fabulous. Everyone really liked their food and the service was great. Very nice place to visit with friends and eat fine food.

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Memphis, Tennessee
3 reviews 3 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2014

What we liked were all the small dishes, from fried stuffed zucchini blossoms to very fresh pasta. Great wine selection and friendly, helpful service

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San Diego, California
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 18, 2014

Although it's so close to my house, I cannot believe I don't go here more often. The set-up is unique, and some tables are "community" type which is great if you go with as a couple. The food selection is great, appetizers are delicious. They have their own wine room where you can select a favorite bottle. Sometimes the service... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
San Diego, California
17 reviews 17 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2014 via mobile

this was a very good dinner the food is very good it is a little noisy but it is worth it and the . staff and service was excellent. they could have a little bit better of a beer selection the risotto was extremely good. t

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Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 14, 2014 via mobile

I've been here multiple times to eat but I have to say I mostly just go there for the wine. There's such a great selection of wines. I did love the food and the service was pretty good but I will always return here to either have a couple glasses with a friend or buy a couple bottles as gifts... More

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Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2014

If you are foodies, like we are, this is a restaurant you will have to try when in San Diego. It's a gem of a place located not far from centretown San Diego. We had done our restaurant research before going to San Diego for a holiday and this restaurant turned up on several popular local restaurant lists so we... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
179 reviews 179 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 23, 2014

A great spot -- certainly one of the better meals that I have had in recent years in San Diego. The room buzzes with activity, but I would consider it to be comfortably noisy -- both the restaurant and bar were very busy. Service was really outstanding, and food was very good. The menu is interesting, and has quite a... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Westchester County, NY
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2014

This hip-rustic restaurant combines the ambiance of old world charm with a hipster aesthetic -- farmwood-plank paneled walls, chalkboard illustrations, and Edison-electric light bulbs in eclectic shades that at once remind one of birdcages or flowering copper-wire tulips compliment a dining room of solid wood tables, comfy leather chairs, and water carafes that were once milk bottles. Try the home... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2014

We ate here two nights in a row in late March 2014. We had been here a couple of years earlier and could not wait to go back. The food was consistently good. The baked whole fish, the stuffed squash blossoms, the polenta board...I could go on and on. Great food! The wine list is a plus as well, and... More

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midlands uk
16 reviews 16 reviews
12 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2014

Booked a table on line here on recommendation from a friend. Walked from our hotel in Little Italy to Bankers Hill and enjoyed the surrounding neighbourhood. This restaurant is in a nice area. Very nice atmosphere, bustling and busy but not too overpowering. A social vibe rather than quiet romance, very attractive decor. Lots of wood and pretty lighting and... More

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