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“Excellent food!”
Review of CUCINA urbana

CUCINA urbana
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Ranked #14 of 4,770 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Local cuisine, 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
Calgary, Alberta
Level 6 Contributor
52 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Excellent food!”
Reviewed September 25, 2013

This was one of our best meals in San Diego. People were lined up outside before it opened. We had reservations and were taken in right away. My husband and I both had the burger with short rib, which came with fries with truffle oil. I’m not a big meat eater, so this was a lot of meat for me, but – wow – so tasty. They have a kids’ menu, and our daughter’s spaghetti and meatball (that’s right, just one – but it was a big one!!) was good too. They have happy hour specials on certain days of the week, from 5 to 6 p.m. (check their website for details). The decor was unique. I would love to come back if we visit again, and try some of their other offerings.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Dosmojito
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
Franklin, Tennessee
Level 4 Contributor
22 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Captivating Atmosphere, Yummy Pizza, Best Sangria Ever!”
Reviewed September 22, 2013

I loved this restaurant from the moment I walked in the door. The atmosphere is this funky combination of rustic and urban and whimsy. From the shoe molds along the stairs, to the fanciful light fixtures, to the ancient pizza paddles, my eyes never tired of looking for new details.

My husband and I ate here on a Thursday night when pizzas are half price from 5-6. We had the Fig and Gorgonzola which was crazy good! We had an assortment of drinks and all were tasty, but the definite stand out was the White Sangria. Made with white wine, peach brandy, soda and fruit, it was refreshing and delicious. The best I have ever had.

If I lived San Diego, I would eat here every week.

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

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