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“Favorite meal out of a 4 night stay in San Diego” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cucina Urbana

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
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
Saint Louis, Missouri
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
“Favorite meal out of a 4 night stay in San Diego”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2013 via mobile

This is the only reservation I made prior to our arrival in San Diego. We took advantage of their Sinful Sunday special and shopped for wine in their retail store. It was filled with many of our favorites making it hard to choose! I rarely eat meat, but couldn't refuse the overture my husband was displaying about the pork ragout over polenta. Yup...that good! Next we had mussels which were good, but not the best I've had. (Brasserie by Niche in St.Louis has that honor.) my recommendation, try a salad. Our two pasta dishes were fabulous, garganelli and spicy shrimp puttanesca. The service was attentive and Matt, the floor manager, couldn't have been more helpful. Make a reservation...you won't be disappointed!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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389 reviews from our community

87% Recommend
    248
    93
    35
    10
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Los Altos, CA (USA)
Top Contributor
140 reviews 140 reviews
66 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
102 helpful votes 102 helpful votes
“Loved this place!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013

Urban, hip, noisy, a bit chaotic...yes all true. Eclectic furnishings, very friendly wait staff, good wine list at reasonable prices, good mixed drinks, delicious food -- also all true. Our table wasn't quite ready when we arrived so we sat at the bar (where folks also eat) and were served two of the most luscious martinis ever...then to the table. We were seated in a corner so the noise level was not at all bothersome. First course was a melt in your mouth ricotta stuffed zucchini flower. The server urged us to get an order and a half because we would be fighting over who got the third one in the serving. We did and maintained the peace! Main course: we both had the short rib pappardelle and marveled at the richness of the flavors. Fairly small serving but all one could eat really, given the heaviness of the noodles and the lovely meat/sauce. And yes we succumbed to the caramel budino, served with whipped cream and peanuts...so yummy! Our server was a delight -- attentive but not hovering. The wine was great. The evening was a treat. GO!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
96 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“Cuccina Excellent”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 21, 2013 via mobile

This place rocks - even at the bar. Pasta was homemade & delicious, polenta ragu was amazing, salad was perfectly dressed and the italian filled donuts topped off a great meal. The atmosphere was perfect and the service was attentive and friendly but not annoying. One word of caution is to make sure you have reservations - the place had NO tables at 5:30 and by 6 even the ample bar seating was packed. The word is out, this is a great place!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Upscale Italian with Excellent Service in Banker's Hill”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2013

Having dined at Cucina Urbana several times, I continue to return. Valet parking is out front but you can usually find free parking near the park on Sixth Ave. The room is spacious and vivacious and not for the quiet romantic dinner. Seating is also offered at the bar and pizza area and a wine shop is in the restaurant too. Our server, Sean, was excellent and friendly in every way! We had the wonderful jarred chicken liver pate and roasted squash blossoms to start. The squash at the end of the blossoms were a little on the large side and a bit raw and tough. Also, the special soup of the day was thin and pasty. The roast halibut was perfectly cooked with fresh peas and rice. We had two bottles of very affordable white wine but the Chablis was past its prime and a bit smoky and old tasting. The only note on the wines is the restaurant charges $8 corkage for all wines served at the table so be forewarned. Also, all cocktails are perfectly poured. Make sure to have a reservation at this bustling place!!!!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
La Paz, Mexico
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
“Good noisy food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2013

We shared salads and entrees. They were kind enough to bring extra plates so we could scrape food from one plate to another. The cocktails were very good as was the wine. For dessert, I highly recommend the butterscotch pudding. Wonderful. The only drawback is the noise level. We could barely talk across the table to the others in our party. The service was excellent.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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