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“Will not return” 3 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 #10 of 3,827 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Bar scene, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
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. - 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
Ventura, California
Level Contributor
73 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Will not return”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

An interesting menu and great wine list. It is quite difficult to get a reservation. It is far too large and noisy. Impossible to hold a conversation with your dinner partner. We will not return.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
Thank 933JudyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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578 reviews from our community

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The Woodlands, Texas
Level Contributor
148 reviews
64 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Shocking discovery.....”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

As an vino aficionado, one of the first thing I view is the wine list. A number of wines came in at $15 and $17. Was this per glass? Nope, per bottle. The Cucina sells its wine retail...shockingly refreshing.
Now, the food. Outstanding. The fried squash blossoms, the pork belly appetizer, whole cooked fish, zepplies with blueberry sauces. All of these were excellent. Enjoy the wine...as it should be!

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
Thank steveberry2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Flavors as appealing as the menu”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013

We had an early dinner before a play in Balboa Park, so we sampled a few small dishes and a "foraged mushroom" pizza. Everything was delicious! Next time we'll stay longer and explore more of their creative menu.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Chris874
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
24 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Taste of italy”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013 via mobile

Good food good wine some beer. Fresh. Pasta fast service. A busy place with a good looking crowd. 1 of our favorite places. We always sit at the bar

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
Thank clarky53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
california
Level Contributor
41 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Revolutionary”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2013 via mobile

Everything you want in a neighborhood restaurant but what I'm still marveling over is "do you have any food allergies?"
Won't do the full rant but if you have problems, restaurant dining is more of a challenge than a pleasure so I hope these folks start a trend. People die from some of this stuff so I'm not talking just gluten... Anyway I wish I lived in that area-Lasagna perfectly composed, Caesar best ever - slightly warm, very flavorful not the too lemony, sticky, damp huge chunks you usually get. Wine is priced at retail!!! Awesome place really...cozy, great art.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Value
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Service
    • 5 of 5 stars
      Food
Helpful?
Thank CaliforniaFussbudget
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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