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“Unique spin on Italian; absolutely delicious”
Review of CUCINA urbana

CUCINA urbana
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Ranked #14 of 4,804 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Bar scene, Large groups
Dining options: Late Night, Lunch, Dinner, 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
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
48 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Unique spin on Italian; absolutely delicious”
Reviewed February 21, 2013

This restaurant takes a fresh new approach to Italian food. While you won't find the old standards, you will be treated to delicious food that is thoroughly Italian. I had the branzino with fennel and it was delicious. Our waitress was terrific and made everything happen at the right time even though we had a large group. The setting is relaxed and casual, making for a very nice dining experience. Prices were reasonable.

Visited February 2013
Thank CB5598
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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768 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
129 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Outstanding food”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Who would think fried Squash Blossoms could be addicting. I do now. Their hamburgers are really good as are the truffle fries. I would go back here again and again. Excellent food and service.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank CaliforniaDon1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Diego, California
Level 5 Contributor
57 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Fabulous dining; fun happy hour”
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We first went for happy hour on a Monday and enjoyed a delicious meatball pizza. Drinks are just as unusual as the menu. The Geisha martini is a favorite with its blueberry flavor. The beer is good and wine selection is housed in a special room where you can also dine and leave your unfinished wine bottle to come back and enjoy with another meal. Our first dinner was a Valentine's prix fixe dinner which was simply delicious. The choices for the three courses were varied and it was possible to add a fourth course (pasta). We chose lamb and swordfish for our entrees and both were outstanding. The chocolate tart for dessert was the best ever - not too rich, but solidly chocolate! The expense means we will savor celebrations/special events here yet will always enjoy coming for happy hour. The staff is friendly, well informed and attentive. The ambiance is upscale and casual at the same time. A delightful experience!

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank SoCalZooGal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southern California
Level 6 Contributor
93 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“4.5 Stars”
Reviewed February 18, 2013 via mobile

Excellent food. We thought this was the highlight of our dining experiences in San Diego. We thoroughly enjoyed our meals here. One of us ordered steak, the other a burger. Both were to die for. Half a point off for the hostess for trying to stick us with the table by the kitchen door when the restaurant was only half full. We watched as two successive parties turned the very same table down.

Thank TravelForever58
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
30 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Great experience”
Reviewed February 5, 2013

Only regret - wish I had more time to peruse and enjoy the wine selection!
I didn't love my meal, but simply due to my tastes - not the quality of the food. It was a pasta and the noodles were homemade (or certainly tasted like they were!) which was excellent.
The ambiance, service and food quality were all excellent!

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Intotheworld7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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