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“Every Single Thing was Perfect!”
Review of Cucina Rustica

Cucina Rustica
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Ranked #29 of 203 Restaurants in Sedona
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $35
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: In the lovely village of Oak Creek, Sedona you'll find a gem...The doorway to the imagination awaits you here. Old World decor with hand-crafted antique doors and ornate iron gates from around the world, draw you in then transport you back in time. The restaurant wraps its arms around you and settles you into a dining experience that many foodies seek out, but rarely find. The restaurant has won numerous awards of excellence for food and service, as well as Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for 12 consecutive years. You will see Chef Lisa Dahl almost every evening visiting with guests, signing her award-winning cookbook, and in the kitchen paying close attention to every detail to ensure you'll have the most enjoyable dining experience. Happy Hour: Sunday-Thursday 4:00-6:00 PM.
Reviewed February 8, 2014

While in Sedona in a relaxed mood after a day of hiking and climbing we were not in the mood to dress up and go to a fancy restaurant but wanted good hearty food. We drove past Cucina Rustica and saw the fire pits in the front of the restaurant and nice stone work and called up to find out if it was dressy but they said, come as your are and were very welcoming. Every single staff member we encountered at the restaurant was welcoming and friendly and genuinely excited about 'their' restaurant and the food. Service was amazing, when reading the specials the waiter was excited about it and didn't seem to push you towards anything but explained what was good about the food. The waiter wasn't just reciting the menu. Everyone has different pallets, so what I ate is obviously not important but its the manner it was prepared that is. Everything from my entree to my wife's was carefully prepared and fresh. The veal was soft and flavorful and the chicken was juicy and seasoned perfectly. The vegetables were fresh not frozen and also seasoned to perfection. We do not drink but were NOT given the typical evil scowl when all we wanted was tap water, which was replenished every single time before I hit the rocks. However, many people in the restaurant were dressed up and it is a nice place to go dressed up as the atmosphere is amazing - I guess I would describe it as 'modern mountain.'

I saw a few reviews saying that the food was expensive, but we were not looking for fast food and it wasn't that pricey (especially compared to NYC where we are from). When getting food that is prepared to perfection and not massed produced, you must expect to pay a little more. It was NOT unreasonable. Worth the price.

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Thank mblit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,629 - 1,633 of 2,503 reviews

Reviewed February 4, 2014

We ate here last night for our anniversary and were disappointed. Overall the food was good, but not worth the price we paid. I read some reviews before we came to Sedona, made the reservations and was really looking forward to this meal. We got seated right away, the atmosphere was nice and our waitress was attentive but I really felt like her goal was to make our bill as high as possible. All of her recommendations were the highest priced items on the menu - from the wine to the appetizers to the entrees. There was only one bottle of wine under $40. Most were $50 and up. I had a veal and scallop dish, and my husband had a chicken & sausage pasta dish - and we split a Caesar salad. The food was good, but didn't wow us. We spent $130 and it was the least favorite meal of our trip.

Thank Danyel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 3, 2014

Usually reliable Dolly, the gentle voice of our GPS, got lost that Saturday night on the roads around Sedona after our monotonous, nearly three-hour drive north from the Phoenix airport. My travelling companion Yvonne and I were frazzled and famished by 8 p.m. when we found our hotel. Looking for a place to eat, we pulled into a small unremarkable shopping strip. Our hopes soared upon entering a restaurant with scores of cars parked in front. Cucina Rustica.

“It stands for rusticated Italian,” our waiter would later speculate. At that moment, it stood for relief. The maître d, a most amiable sort, said there would be a brief wait, so we took seats at the bar and ordered wine. True to his assurances, minutes later he led us to a table where we could sit side-by-side against a wall where we could ponder this place. Unobtrusively across the room, a fellow played a mellow guitar.

We have been around Italy, so we think we know: Cucina Rustica is someone’s—owner Lisa Dahl’s—fantasy play on Florentine palazzos. It must have cost zillions to open, a decade ago, and it works. The décor of each of the four dining rooms varies (it was too chilly to see the two patios) but it is all of a piece, with multiple fireplaces, tall carved doors, plush fabrics and tapestries, iron chandeliers, iron-framed chairs, cozy banquettes and assignation-appropriate lighting. On this late Saturday night, couples had taken half the tables.

Cucina Rustica’ appetizers were $7.50 (the bruschetta) to $14, and the entrées $22 to $30. That’s competitive around Sedona. They start you off with warm, freshly baked bread and a garlicky oil to soak it in. The menu is respectfully Italian, with Ms. Dahl’s signature dishes, such as Pisi Lisi--risotto balls--Lisa’s Veggie Nirvana, a lasagna, and Platto Lisetta, chicken breast with sautéed shrimp and orzo pilaf.

We started instead with an exquisitely seasoned butternut squash soup. We had the Linguine con Vongole, which, with garlic, olive oil and a chardonnay sauce, came with a couple of dozen palourde clams, the tiny ones the size of a thumb nail, still in their shells. It tasted emphatically, successfully clammy. Yvonne took the Vitello Magellano—sauteed veal scallops and mushrooms with orzo pilaf, another success. For wine, we had the house pinot noir, at $9 a glass. Our servers were quick, courteous and informed. They knew the ingredients, seasonings included, of all our dishes.

Ms. Dahl moved to Sedona from Marin County, California, seeking a new life after her son Justin was slain trying to stop a robbery in San Francisco. Months later, 18 years ago, she and a partner opened a restaurant, Dahl & Di Luca, in Sedona. Cucina Rustica, ten miles south, is Ms. Dahl’s second big act. In May last year she opened her third, Pisa Lisa, in Sedona. It specializes in ultra-thin, wood-fired pizza and salads. Far and away, she has become Sedona’s No. 1 restaurateur.

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Thank Peter K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 1, 2014

Dinner at Cucina was an unexpected wonder! Great Mediterranean setting, romantic and old world flavor. The food was even better...antipasto platter was a meal in itself, the mussels are not to be missed, and any pasta you choose will be a delight.

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Thank brightspirit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2014

We dined here tonight..three of us. First in the door the greeter who seated us was totally "out of it". We watched as he seated others in the same off hand, can't be bothered attitude and their expressions. The waiter didn't have the specials down. I overheard them from another waiter and changed my order to one of the specials which the other waiter described to others.
appetizers: bruschetta...tomato topping was ice cold. Have had it in Italy and cheap Italian restaurants and it was far superior. PEI claims were a bad choice which we knew since no seafood is available there unless FROZEN..according to waiter.
Main course filet mignon was only decent entrée, we all tasted it. I had the Cornish game hens which were said to be quail and than Amish hens. Again heard this from the other waiter.
The faro and brussel sprouts were good.
Service was prompt.
Crème Brule was just adequate. Much better at much less overpriced restuarants.
Décor was lovely. Service was prompt. Elder gentleman at the door when we left was quite polite and outgoing.

There is no way this restaurant would be rated where it is in Sedona. I think some people just think they don't "understand" the food. or are sheep following along.
This restaurant is just plain awful. The chef was present as she came out to talk to another table.
Dinner was over $200...the little Mileys café in the same shopping center has better food.
My son is a CIA trained Gourmet chef so I'm not unfamiliar with good food.
I have never felt compelled to write a bad review of a restaurant, always figuring it was a bad night..but this is the exception...I see some other reviews are the same...

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3  Thank ruthmccarty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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