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“A world-class restaurant in Sedona”
Review of Cucina Rustica

Cucina Rustica
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Ranked #17 of 195 Restaurants in Sedona
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $14 - $35
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, 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 10 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 4:30-6PM.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Level Contributor
74 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“A world-class restaurant in Sedona”
Reviewed February 9, 2014

Early in our visit to Sedona we met several locals and enquired as to the best restaurants in the area. In all cases they mentioned Dahl & Di Luca and Cucina Rustica, both owned by the same family with Cucina Rustica being the more formal presentation of the two. It was the nearer of the two to our rental apartment in Oak Creek.

Having been to Italy on business and pleasure numerous times especially to Emilia Romagna, the Italian region of which gourmets the world over claim is greatest gastronomic contribution to mankind... Google it! I believe I have a sense of great Italian food. Cucina Rustica ranks up there with the cuisine of Emilia Romagna. It was so authentic we returned several times and each visit our meal was consistently imaginative and excellent.

In addition to the excellent food and great atmosphere the service was friendly and impeccable. Who would think a world-class restaurant in Sedona? We will definitely return.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LesTrekker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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English first
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
30 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Every Single Thing was Perfect!”
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.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank mblit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Not worth the price”
Reviewed February 4, 2014 via mobile

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.

Visited February 2014
Helpful?
Thank Danyel W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chevy Chase, MD
Level Contributor
142 reviews
63 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Frazzled? Famished? Try Rusticated Italian”
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.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Peter K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix AZ
Level Contributor
18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“A new find in Sedona!”
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.

  • Visited January 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank brightspirit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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