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Review of CUCINA urbana

CUCINA urbana
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Ranked #13 of 4,961 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $10 - $30
Cuisines: Italian, Wine Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Special occasions, Bar scene, Local cuisine
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, 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 January 12, 2014

In San Diego on business and read the reviews on TA. I took the chance since I was alone to go and see for myself what the buzz was all about. NO regrets!! It was busy, busy but the wait staff managed to find me a spot at the bar. The bartenders were swamped but I was given immediate attention and able to order a glass of wine. I chose to eat their baked arctic char which I hesitated on ordering because I'm not big on kale or beans and both were part of the dish. OMG!! best arctic char I've ever had. Had a chance to talk to some great guys sitting beside me and I left there having experienced a wonderful evening out; great food, lively locale and charming people. I can't wait to go back next time I'm in SD

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2  Thank Sabine O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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400 - 404 of 791 reviews

Reviewed January 6, 2014

What a unique looking restaurant. Not fancy...Just really interesting to the point that you really appreciate the atmosphere as part of the dining experience. The food and service were terrific. A very interesting menu. This was the best restaurant we ate at in San Diego.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2014

The urban location next to the park inspires expectations of sophisticated yet satisfying Italian food. The restaurant approaches this mark but doesn’t truly reach it. The stylish yet relaxed urban décor is undermined by servers in jeans and t-shirts. The menu offers breadth but the dishes never meet the mark. The wine list is perfect. All the Tuscan reds are well represented!

Thank Brooklynite_Abroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2014 via mobile

My wife and I stopped here on our way to the airport and stopped for lunch. We told the waiter that we were in a hurry and they served our meal in less than 30 minutes.

First, the design is unique. The layout is very open, simple, with very nice use of simple, almost recycled materials. It is extremely pleasing to the eye.

The food was excellent. My wife had a farro salad with persimmon, grapes, nuts and brussel sprout leaves. I can honestly say it was one of the few times I've enjoyed farro. I had the best lentil soup of my life,made with an enormous amount of ham hock, and a chicken meatball sandwich.

The next time I am in San Diego, I plan to eat more slowly here.

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1  Thank raroberto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2014

We went to this restaurant having survived the barrage of texts and e-mails confirming that we were indeed attending, only to be eventually seated almost half-an hour after the time of our reservation. The only reason that this was not even longer is that I persistently asked as to readiness of the table.

The starters arrived quite promptly but we waited for almost an hour for our main courses, which arrived only after further prompting. They veal was salty to the point of being inedible. My wife's lasagna was mediocre. I raised this with the server (who was extremely understanding) and he referred us to his manager, who clearly saw that we had not been treated well by his establishment, and very kindly offered to waive the charge of the entire meal, which we accepted. I have never come across such generosity before. However despite his kind gesture, I will not be visiting this establishment again. Most other guests at the restaurant appeared to enjoy their meals however, so may be it was just bad luck.

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

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