We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Cucina Urbana

505 Laurel St, San Diego, CA 92101-1634
+1 619-239-2222
Improve this listing
Ranked #42 of 4,057 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Reserve with OpenTable
Cucina Urbana is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
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
Write a Review

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
New York City, New York
Top Contributor
118 reviews 118 reviews
89 restaurant reviews
53 helpful votes 53 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

Was this review helpful? Yes
Tucson, Arizona
19 reviews 19 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
12 helpful votes 12 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
32 helpful votes 32 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

Was this review helpful? Yes
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

Was this review helpful? Yes
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
20 helpful votes 20 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.

Was this review helpful? Yes
Needham, Massachusetts
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2014

Our last night in San Diego, I decided that my wife and I would do something other than Mexican. I found that Cucina was rated a top new restaurant, so we tried it. The restaurant is not in their Little Italy section, but in an attractive downtown neighborhood. We parked on the street but they do offer valet parking for... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
La Jolla, California
Top Contributor
137 reviews 137 reviews
61 restaurant reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

The price of the meal was to be expected, but overall the taste of the food, atmosphere, and service made it well worth it. I had the sausage crusted veal and it was some of the best food I have ever had. I called 30 minutes ahead to make a reservation with no problem, was 10 minutes late, and they... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Sacramento, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2014

I am not a fan of nutella, but this dessert was the exception. Entire meal was very good. From the appetizers (cheese plate special was a bargain) to salads (beet salad very good but common) to the uncommon (whole salt fish) it bordered on excellent. Wait staff was great, very accommodating of late arrival of half of our party. It... More

Was this review helpful? Yes
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 5, 2014

This is a place where you can get more common dishes (e.g., pizza) as well as more unique dishes (e.g., squash blossoms). The squash blossoms are amazing. Our group ordered one order of squash blossoms and then quickly ordered another. The food was very good and the selection of microbrews was great too.

Was this review helpful? Yes

Travelers who viewed Cucina Urbana also viewed


Been to Cucina Urbana? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Cucina Urbana, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.

Manage your listing