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“Great atmosphere, great service!”
Review of CUCINA urbana

CUCINA urbana
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Ranked #14 of 4,771 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Large groups, Special occasions, Bar scene
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Late Night, 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
Moorpark, CA
Level 4 Contributor
25 reviews
18 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Great atmosphere, great service!”
Reviewed September 19, 2013

So first comment- make a reservation and make it early. We had to go 5 days out to get a time that would work for us. The atmosphere is very fun and the staff was excellent. Couldn't have asked for a more attentive staff.

The food was excellent! I would go back right now and eat it all again if I wasn't still stuffed! We went during restaurant week so we didn't have the entire menu to choose from, but from what we saw almost the entire menu was represented in the choices available.

One of the greatest things about these guys is the wine list and pricing. They have a retail wine shop and sell wine for dinner at the retail pricing instead of the usual 200%+ markup at most restaurants. While great pricing, its a little dangerous if you like wine since they have a nice list to choose from and you just might need to bring some home...

In regards to the service, we had one small issue due to the policy set up for restaurant week, all that needs to be said is we brought it up and they took care of it and then some, no issue at all. I would highly recommend trying this place, just remember to make a reservation and bring lots of room for food! oh, and the donut hole dessert is to die for.

happy eating!!!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank 05RK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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758 reviews from our community

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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
Ventura, California
Level 5 Contributor
85 reviews
52 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Will not return”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

An interesting menu and great wine list. It is quite difficult to get a reservation. It is far too large and noisy. Impossible to hold a conversation with your dinner partner. We will not return.

Visited September 2013
Thank 933JudyD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
The Woodlands, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
202 reviews
93 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Shocking discovery.....”
Reviewed September 15, 2013

As an vino aficionado, one of the first thing I view is the wine list. A number of wines came in at $15 and $17. Was this per glass? Nope, per bottle. The Cucina sells its wine retail...shockingly refreshing.
Now, the food. Outstanding. The fried squash blossoms, the pork belly appetizer, whole cooked fish, zepplies with blueberry sauces. All of these were excellent. Enjoy the wine...as it should be!

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank steveberry2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Flavors as appealing as the menu”
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We had an early dinner before a play in Balboa Park, so we sampled a few small dishes and a "foraged mushroom" pizza. Everything was delicious! Next time we'll stay longer and explore more of their creative menu.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Chris874
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Taste of italy”
Reviewed September 8, 2013 via mobile

Good food good wine some beer. Fresh. Pasta fast service. A busy place with a good looking crowd. 1 of our favorite places. We always sit at the bar

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank clarky53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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