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“interesting italian” 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 #36 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
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“interesting italian”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

Had an excellent meal..had the octopus and amatriaciana. The ambiance is very enticing. My only issue was that i was eating solo and was limited where i could sit.a table was not offered,

  • Visited August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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404 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    259
    96
    36
    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
Edison, New Jersey
Top Contributor
106 reviews 106 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
“Great atmosphere, good food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013

This place is so cute! We were lucky to get in at 5:30 pm on a Friday at the communal table so definitely make reservations. The ambience is very nice, dimly lit, communal tables, regular tables and bar seating, they have a kids menu, I had the fig and gorgonzola pizza which was very good, the pasta my husband had the short rib pappardelle which was amazing; perfectly cooked pasta.

  • Visited August 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.
Bradford, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“First Night Treat”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 2, 2013 via mobile

For my first proper night in town, I knew I wanted to treat myself, so after checking out the reviews, I booked a table at Cucina Urbana, and boy am I glad I did!

A great looking place inside, and although it was fairly busy, it still felt like a relaxing place to be. The staff were attentive without ever being overbearing.

And the food? Oh my gosh the food! Just sublime. Especially the Lasagna Al Forno I had as my main.

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San Diego, California
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A Definite Favorite!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2013

We started at the bar while waiting for a table and learned about the menu options from 2 enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. Once seated, the excellent customer service continued and the food we tried was some of the best we've had! The pork chop was amazing-- not to be missed. My husband and I are foodies and absolutely enjoyed every aspect of this restaurant. We plan to return over and over again!!

  • Visited August 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.
UK
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“All that matters on a plate”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2013

Having 48 hours to experience and enjoy what San Diego has to offer my wife and I did some scouting for a good restaurant near the park as we were due to see a play at The Old Globe one evening. We settled on Cucina Urbana and luckily got an early table for two.
Most of the reviews on TA were very complimentary and boy do I agree! The food on offer was sublime. Every course was a little piece of heaven on a plate and whoever can make a simple dish like a lasagne taste so incredible gets my vote every day of the week.
The menu is unpretentious but intriguing and not at all expensive for what you get. I genuinely cannot think of a single thing I would have changed, including the cocktail that arrived in a jam jar..
The waiting staff were super friendly, knowledgeable and added to the occasion, being more than willing to offer advice on good breakfast spots and how to get from A2B.
My only disappointment was that we couldn't go back a second time.

  • Visited August 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.

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