After a couple long meetings in the morning, I was invited to join my friend for lunch today and I was super excited that she had reservations at CUCINA urbana which is only a few blocks from my office in Bankers Hill, San Diego. CUCINA urbana actually sells wine at retail price; you just need to pay a corkage fee if you’re drinking there. Last time I was there, I ordered a bottle of wine, had a couple glasses, and then took the bottle home. This time, we were just there for lunch.
We actually got there at 11:30am; half an hour after they opened and half an hour before our reservation. The restaurant was still pretty empty so we were seated immediately. The restaurant doesn’t look like much on the outside located on the corner and ground floor of an office building and the main entrance is almost hidden (you’ll see people waiting outside). But once inside you are welcomed by a foyer area where you’re greeted by servers plus a couple table looking out the front window.
We walked down a couple steps, walked pass the bar and community table (if you can’t get a reservation here on a Friday or Saturday night try your luck at the bar or community table) into the main dining area behind a big shelf in the middle of the restaurant. Booth seats look like the typical booth settings you’ll see at most restaurant, but the middle tables actually felt as though I was sitting in a hotel lobby (with out being in a hotel lobby).
This was actually a lunch meeting so we had some work out on the table, and when our server introduced himself, he made sure to ask if we were on a time constraint. That was perfect since that ensured that we would get our food in a timely manner.
Since we were pretty hungry, we decided to order something that would be served quickly and got the chopped salad to start. Chopped Salad: escarole (a type of green), radicchio (a type of green), casalingo salumi, caciocavallo (cheese), pickled shishito (peppers), tomato, ceci bean (chickpea), castelvetrano (olive), parmesan crouton, and garlic oregano vinaigrette.
I remember seeing that on the menu and just thinking that I wasn’t sure what kind of salad I was ordering but I wanted to just see what it was. I was served in a bowl and a couple serving spoons since we told them we were sharing all of our food. I forgot to ask for the dressing on the side since fresh salads don’t actually need dressing to taste amazing. This garlic oregano vinaigrette was actually very light and added a touch of flavor and moisture to the salad. I finished more then half of that salad and could probably finish all of it without sharing, but more food arrived.
We got the Mushroom Pizza: goat cheese, fried onion and truffle oil.
Our pizza was fresh out of the oven with good fresh ingredients. And when it comes to pizza, the crust is actually one of my favorite parts especially if it’s a fresh pizza. It always makes me sad to see people throw out the pizza crust. My friend even dipped it in olive oil, I’m going to need to start doing that.
We changed the cheese from goat cheese to mozzarella for my friend and I guess she was the unlucky one, cause she ended up getting a bite of pizza with the goat cheese.
The salad was technically enough for the 2 of us, but we had ordered one more entree.
Under the Pasta (pasta e piatti) section we got the Campanelle: prosciutto, english pea, lacinato kale, and caciocavallo.
Pastas are made from scratch and our campanelle cooked perfectly al dente with a light sauce. When I first saw the peas I immediate thought of cup noodles with the peas in it (I sadly love instant noodle and ramen) before I finally spotting the diced prosciutto.
We were hungry and very quickly selected our food and we ordered a little too much for just the 2 of us and by the time I got to the pasta I was too full to eat any more. At least I get to have more when I get home.
We had more then half of the pasta left and a slice of pizza left. Our server packed all of that in a box for me to take home. Instead of brining the box to my table he brought over a little card “G for gelato ice cream” yummy! Too bad I was too full for dessert (and no my extra dessert stomach wasn’t ready for dessert either).
I just gave the hostess my card on my way out and she took my to go box out of the fridge for me. I think this was a great idea, it kind of made sure I wouldn’t forget my food on the table on my way out, BUT I forgot my food in my office refrigerator.
505 Laurel St,
San Diego, CA 92101