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“Excellent Service - Good Food” 4 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 #26 of 4,119 Restaurants in San Diego
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza & Pasta, Organic, Wine Bar
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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. - 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
Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Excellent Service - Good Food”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2013

Nice decor, high ceilings, great service.
Food was not WOW, as I tried the pizza and wife took a pasta.
For the food overpriced, for the service worth it.

Will I go there again, NO,,, Would prefer to pay the same price at a higher end calmer restaurant.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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423 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    272
    102
    37
    9
    3
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Alberta
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
“Excellent food!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 25, 2013

This was one of our best meals in San Diego. People were lined up outside before it opened. We had reservations and were taken in right away. My husband and I both had the burger with short rib, which came with fries with truffle oil. I’m not a big meat eater, so this was a lot of meat for me, but – wow – so tasty. They have a kids’ menu, and our daughter’s spaghetti and meatball (that’s right, just one – but it was a big one!!) was good too. They have happy hour specials on certain days of the week, from 5 to 6 p.m. (check their website for details). The decor was unique. I would love to come back if we visit again, and try some of their other offerings.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Tennessee
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Captivating Atmosphere, Yummy Pizza, Best Sangria Ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

I loved this restaurant from the moment I walked in the door. The atmosphere is this funky combination of rustic and urban and whimsy. From the shoe molds along the stairs, to the fanciful light fixtures, to the ancient pizza paddles, my eyes never tired of looking for new details.

My husband and I ate here on a Thursday night when pizzas are half price from 5-6. We had the Fig and Gorgonzola which was crazy good! We had an assortment of drinks and all were tasty, but the definite stand out was the White Sangria. Made with white wine, peach brandy, soda and fruit, it was refreshing and delicious. The best I have ever had.

If I lived San Diego, I would eat here every week.

  • Visited September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moorpark, CA
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great atmosphere, great service!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2013

So first comment- make a reservation and make it early. We had to go 5 days out to get a time that would work for us. The atmosphere is very fun and the staff was excellent. Couldn't have asked for a more attentive staff.

The food was excellent! I would go back right now and eat it all again if I wasn't still stuffed! We went during restaurant week so we didn't have the entire menu to choose from, but from what we saw almost the entire menu was represented in the choices available.

One of the greatest things about these guys is the wine list and pricing. They have a retail wine shop and sell wine for dinner at the retail pricing instead of the usual 200%+ markup at most restaurants. While great pricing, its a little dangerous if you like wine since they have a nice list to choose from and you just might need to bring some home...

In regards to the service, we had one small issue due to the policy set up for restaurant week, all that needs to be said is we brought it up and they took care of it and then some, no issue at all. I would highly recommend trying this place, just remember to make a reservation and bring lots of room for food! oh, and the donut hole dessert is to die for.

happy eating!!!

  • Visited September 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.
Ventura, California
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
23 helpful votes 23 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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