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“Nice Alternative at The Spectrum” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cucina Enoteca

Cucina Enoteca
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Ranked #7 of 643 Restaurants in Irvine
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Business meetings, Bar scene, Special occasions, Large groups, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Brunch, Late Night, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Takeout, Valet Parking, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Across from Edwards Cinema
Description: Say hello to the sister restaurant of San Diego's award winning CUCINA urbana! CUCINA enoteca's menu features Italian classics with a modern twist, traditionally coursed or served family-style, and made with the freshest local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Along with house-infused liquors, specialty cocktails and artisan beers, the restaurant's extensive wine list will follow a retail-priced program where guests are invited to visit CUCINA's wine shop, select a bottle to enjoy on site ($8 corkage will apply) or purchase wine to go.
Coto de Caza, California
Level Contributor
74 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Nice Alternative at The Spectrum”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 6, 2012

Cucina Enoteca offers a nice change up to the usual suspects in the Irvine Spectrum. Located just across from the theaters, it's casual Italian with a few unique, fun dishes like the squash blossom appetizer with ricotta. They have a good selection of wines and the waiters are well versed. The menu has enough variety to appeal almost everyone, good pizza menu and dough was excellent (tasted home made). Ingredients were fresh and depending on budget or time, you can go high or low on this by ordering appetizers, salads and a more expensive bottle of wine, or for a quick pre-movie bite, a salad and pizza might be perfect. There's a retail wine shop inside so for $8 corkage fee, you can opt for that.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank jredwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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256 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    106
    105
    31
    9
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Korean first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Lake Forest, California
Level Contributor
33 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Good food, nice vibe”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 22, 2012

I love trying new places to see if I can find an awesome experience. This wasn't awesome, but it was good. I'd come back if I was at the Spectrum and was looking for something to eat... but, as my wife put it, "I don't think we found a new pizza place".

Don't get me wrong. My mushroom/fennel sausage/truffle oil pizza was tasty (but they used too much truffle oil), and my wife's margherita pizza was even better than mine. My daughters grilled chicken with vegetables and fries off of the kids menu was also good, but a bit pricey at $11. For overall value, it was just OK... you ARE at the Spectrum, after all. If you expected dinner for under $50 for 3, including one child, look elsewhere. My wife was able to find a $10 off coupon online, so this helped the value experience for sure.

Ambiance was nice. We sat outside on the patio at 7pm. In October, night had fallen, and we had a good view of people as they walked around in the middle square. They were playing 80's hits the whole time...hearing Billy Idol in the background made me smile during a lull in our conversation. On the night we went, most people were dressed in upscale casual. I was wearing shorts, as I love to do, and I was one of the very few.

They have a bunch of very interesting alcoholic drinks on the menu, but I found a non-alcoholic cherry soda that was made with soda, cream and aged balsamic vinegar. Huh? Even though it was $7 (gulp) I had to try it. It came in a 16 oz. mason jar and it tasted really good. My wife really liked it and my daughter, who doesn't like soda at all, went back for a second and a third sip.

Overall, an enjoyable experience... but I didn't find anything awesome that would make this a destination spot for me.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Skinflint_traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mission Viejo, California
Level Contributor
53 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Experience continuned to get worse as the night progressed”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2012

Servers were more interested in getting the food to the table than what the customer desired. Food was cold upon presentation. Waiters ran off so fast it was impossible to get their attention to tell them about the cold food. Service after our order was placed was non-existent. Waiters were gone and couldn't find them. 18% service charge for five people when they deserved less than 5% for their service. If you plan on eating at the spectrum in Irvine, skip this place. Bad service and not customers service. Tried to explan the issue upon leaving, people at the desk seemed to care less. Avoid this restaurant.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank RonandBetty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portola Hills, CA
Level Contributor
61 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Great place to chill with a bottle of wine”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 8, 2012

I went there last Sunday, actually on my way to California Pizza Kitchen, which is across the plaza. Cucina caught my eye, and I am glad it did.
My food was excellent, although the portions were very small in relation to the price. There is a weird corking fee if you buy wine there, but whatever, the wine was excellent, and the serive was impeccable. I liked the fact that they left me alone while I wanted privacy, but were very attentive as soon as I needed help. Such service is rare, let me tell you. Their outside seating is inviting and eclectic, in a way. I recommend this place for a nice bottle of wine or bubbly, and some outrageously tasty food to go with it. Just don't look for large portions. My farmers chop was tiny for what they charged for it. Fine by me, but might be a bother to others.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Uwe S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Irvine, California
Level Contributor
166 reviews
143 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“happening place on weekends..”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 18, 2012

I always go there after work for happy hour on weekdays, but I finally try the place on a Sat nite and it was very happening! Sat at the bar with no need of reservations. It had a very good vibe. The fried seafood mixto was really good apps. The short rib pappadelle was good. It has more meat than the pasta so that was worth it. Love their wine choice since they charge the same price as retail and they just charge you the corkage fee.

  • Visited September 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank WineConn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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