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“Great restaurant, one of the best ever!” 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 #19 of 3,683 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Organic, Pizza & Pasta, Wine Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Entertaining clients, Large groups, Special occasions, Bar scene, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, Reservations
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
California, USA
Top Contributor
125 reviews 125 reviews
78 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 50 cities Reviews in 50 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Great restaurant, one of the best ever!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2013

I went to Cucina Urbana three times during a week-long stay in San Diego---it's that good! The food is great, and the staff are happy to tell you all about it! The service is very nice, and sitting at the bar or a communal table is a great option for a faster meal and meeting fellow diners. I had veal piccata, roasted chicken, stuffed zucchini blossoms (not in the same meal), and everything was super delicious. The desserts are awesome too, so save some space. All in all, a great dining experience, and not too expensive either. P.S. They treat solo visitors just as well as couples, which is not true of all restaurants...

  • Visited December 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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464 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    299
    113
    39
    10
    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
Chula Vista, California
Senior Contributor
39 reviews 39 reviews
29 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Good Bar Scene and Food as well”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2013

I have been to CU for both busines lunch, happy hour and dinner with my family.
The food here is great and fress with a good wine list. I must say that what I enjoy the most is their happy hour and ambiance.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hammond, Indiana
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Fresh, local and creative”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 18, 2013

My husband and I dined at Cucina Urbana our second night in San Diego. We were looking for something with rich flavors along with fresh, locally grown quality food. A store attendant at an organic market suggested that we come to Cucina Urbana. We enjoyed several appetizers including a raw yellow fin tuna dish with a citrus avocado sauce. It was amazing and fresh! The service was great as well, and we appreciated the variety in the wine selection. They even packaged the wine bottle we purchased with dinner so we could take it back to the hotel and enjoy it later. I definitely recommend this restaurant to visitors in San Diego or locals.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
73 reviews 73 reviews
65 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Crowded”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2013

The crowds are a bit disconserting---when I approach the restaurant at 5:00 pm, there is a group of people gathered on the sideqwalk. I don't want to rush in "grab" a table or bar seat. Oh, no. The Sunday wine special was always what drew me in; Some of the tra-la-la frenzy now keeps me out.

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canmore
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
46 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Fabulous . . . make a reservation and ask for Kevin!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2013

Make sure to make a reservation so you won’t be disappointed, we went mid-week and this restaurant was packed. Our waiter was Kevin, he takes service to a new level (friendly, genuine, knowledgeable). We basically had him order for us and our meal was nothing short of stunning. We started with stuffed fried squash blossoms and grilled octopus . . . fresh, delicious and so unique! Make sure to order the short rib pappadelle and foraged mushroom pizza. We were visiting from Canada and had left the last 2 days of our visit to the area loose, Kevin suggested we head to Lagoon a Beach which we did and we had a wonderful time. Even though the restaurant was packed, we felt like we were his only table! When does that ever happen?? He made a great experience, exceptional.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.

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