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“Dinner with an old friend”
Review of CUCINA urbana

CUCINA urbana
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Ranked #32 of 5,141 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Bar scene, Local cuisine, Large groups
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, 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
Reviewed June 14, 2013

My BFF from high school took me to dinner here and it was absolutely fabulous. We started with the polentafor that day, creamy polenta with marscapone and a delicous sweet ragu made of pork. I had a beet salad that was fresh using local farm to table ingredients. I had a wonderful glass of Pinot Noir. We sat at the bar because the tables were all booked for the night-a weekday and we arrived when it opened at 5! The bartender was attentive and we were served promptly and efficiently. It was a little noisy, but we had no trouble talking and enjoying our meal. When I come back to San Diego I plan to eat here again.

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Thank Cathy D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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494 - 498 of 823 reviews

Reviewed June 10, 2013

Can't believe Cucina Urbana makes it three straight nights of incredible dining in San Diego. I had no idea SD was such a great food town. Great and very reasonably priced wine list. Service if 5-star in a place without any 5-star stuffiness. Food was all delicious. Burratta and roasted garlic in a mason jar was terrific app. Husband enjoyed veal piccata entree, and I had a delicious risotto with asparagus, mushrooms, pecorino, and a few leaves of arugula. Panna cotta again, which was different but equally as good as the night before at the Farm House Cafe.

Thank trishweb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 4, 2013

Always busy and always get a reservation. Once your set, plan on ordering a bottle wine at retail prices, no markup whatsoever. The service has always been excellent and any foodie would be hard pressed to find a better experience with the food to match, at this price point. When I'm looking for the best food at reasonable prices (not cheap, but definitely reasonable), this is unquestionably the best place to come. It's about a 5 minute cab ride from downtown.

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Thank kloudkckr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

First time here at Cucina Urbana since the remake after Laurel closed. Same physical set up which makes for a somewhat noisey big room. The bar looked a bit bigger and definitely more popular (I was there during happy hour). On the whole still a lively, popular place. The menu was upmarket, hip Italian with many innovative and interesting items: stuffed squash blossoms, fruity non-alcoholic drinks, meat/non-meat entrees, standard salads but with a twist to the ingredients or preparation. Every item from the personal sized pizza to the fava bean risotto was well prepared, tasty and pleasing to the eye. The truffle-parmesan fries were scrumptious and a huge portion. A great experience and seems to have changed in a positive and popular way.

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Thank Mary E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Due to a strict eating plan, I was able to order the kale and romaine salad (no crispy esca) and the cauliflower gratin. The presentation was impeccable. I really appreciated the atmosphere. It was very busy and they were not taking walk-ins. Recommendation: Call several days in advance to book a table. The pasta looked delicious and the suckling pig antipasti (I tasted) was packed with flavor.
This is a great place for friends to meet up and share a drink or for a date.

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Thank 151Elizabeth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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