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Cucina Enoteca is Coming to Newport Beach

August 5, 2013

If you’re a foodie like me with a craving for new cuisine, you know Newport Beach is brimming with new restaurants coming down the pike in the next few months.

My anticipation now extends 12 months, now that the Urban Kitchen Group announced that it is bringing Cucina Enoteca to Fashion Island in the summer of 2014.

Cucina Enoteca debuted in Orange County in 2011, with the Irvine Spectrum location, and now the Urban Kitchen Group is building on the success with a Newport Beach location.

Tracy Borkum of UKG is excited to be in the same company as many other elite chefs. She says, “With the incredible line-up of some of the country’s most noted chefs & restaurant groups, such Fig & Olive, Red O Restaurant from chef Rick Bayless, Lark Creek from Northern California and Lemonade from LA—we are thrilled to be part of such an exciting period of growth in this beautiful coastal location.”

The food is spectacular, the wine selection and pricing extremely satisfying, and the ambience is romantic and fun.

Cucina offers a mouth-watering list of appetizers. The bruschetta is to die for!

As for their main courses — or if you do like we do, have the pizza as an appetizer — Cucina Enoteca has a selection of pizzas that are deliciously flavorful and crispy.

My favorite is the foraged mushroom with taleggio, braised leek, and truffle oil.

I recently had the lasagna al forno, with seven layers of goodness featuring beef, pork, veal, marinara, and béchamel sauce.

OMG — this is my new favorite lasagna!

As someone with Italian roots, I am a lover — and a stickler — for all things Italian. Bianca in New York City had held that title for about 7 years as best lasagna.

But no more!

Another favorite on the menu is the summer squash risotto with preserved lemon, black pepper, goat cheese, and squash.

There are several other items that I’m still dying to try including the dry rub Brandt Farms rib eye, fennel seed crusted yellowtail, and the spicy shrimp puttanesca angel hair.

When I dine, I like to mix liquids with my solids.

This place has thousands of bottles of wine. They aren’t stashed in the back, or stored out of the public eye.

The bottles are everywhere, and you can mingle around their entire inventory.

The prices are pretty much markup-free, so you’re only paying an $8 corkage fee, but you’re getting a $25 bottle of wine for — get this — $25!

How cool is that?

While you’re waiting for your table you can browse around and buy from their shop, and bring the bottles to the table.

Of course, not everyone drinks wine, and that’s no problem!

Cucina Enoteca has some awesome hand crafted cocktails like:
• Autmn mela:with apple infused bourbon, cider reduction, lemon juice and maked apple bitters.
• Modern man with bulleit rye, basil and pear cherry puree
• Caldo dolce with pineapple infused tequila, Serrano chili, Cointreau, and pineapple puree.
• Kensington white sangria with white wine, peach brandy, brandy, apple juice, fruit, and splash of soda

They also have some cool spritzers with Prosecco and other mixes.

When it comes to beers, you won’t see those water-esque light beers here.

The craft brew selection both on tap and by the bottle varies from local selections to beers crafted around the world.

One more thing I have to mention is the ambience. It’s as comfortably upscale as I’ve ever experienced.

It feels good to be surrounded by awesome designs and decorations, and everything was so comfortable (including the pillows on my bench seating!)

It’s clear they take every detail seriously and make sure that this restaurant feels like home.

Digging around their website, I discovered that you can buy anything you see in the store. I found the items for sale HERE

Newport Beach is home to great Italian locations already, but I will be excited when Cucina Enoteca’s arrives at Fashion Island next summer. Of course in the meantime, I guess I’ll have to just enjoy all of the existing restaurants and the ones arriving in the coming weeks. If you’re a foodie like me, any time is a great time to Visit Newport Beach.

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