A couple of months ago I wrote about the awesomeness that was Paul Martin’s American Grill at the Irvine Spectrum. Well, it looks like the spectrum is now 2 for 2 because CUCINA enoteca was just as delicious and delightful as Paul Martin’s.
CUCINA enoteca is the sister restaurant to CUCINA urbana, located in San Diego. The restaurant describes itself as a “Modern Italian kitchen with the rustic feel of a country farmhouse and a taste of bohemia.” It may sound like a mouthful, but when you step inside CUCINA enoteca, you know it’s not your standard run of the mill chain Italian restaurant.
One of my good friends from Reno was in town (hi Sky!) so he, the Englishman and I decided to check out CUCINA enoteca on a balmy weekday evening. The weather was so warm in fact, that we opted to sit on the heated patio and people watch while enjoying our dinner.
Since it was a work night, I opted for one of CUCINA’s mocktails as a starter (the cocktails on the menu looked pretty awesome too and I WILL be trying one of those soon).
I don’t remember the exact name of my mocktail (bad blogger) but it had strawberries, agave nectar, mint, and soda. It was light and refreshing and just what I wanted. For a “starter” we decided to try out the truffle parmesan fries.
These fries were light and crispy, covered in truffle oil and parmesan cheese, and were dangerously good. They also came with house made ketchup which made me happy since I knew it was free of any artificial ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup. The three of us pretty much devoured the fries in about 5 minutes.
Once we finished our fry feast, we decided to split two pizzas: the pear + gorgonzola and the speck + pineapple after it was determined what speck was (it’s ham in case you were wondering). First up was the pear + gorgonzola.
I am a big pear and gorgonzola fan, so I knew I would like this pizza. And like it I did. It was topped with toasted pecans, carmelized onions and arugula. The cheese was melty and gooey and I loved the pecan crunch.
Our second pizza was the speck + pineapple which was also quite good and had a bit of a kick because there were serrano chillies in the sauce. I was pretty much obsessed with the pear + gorgonzola pizza so the boys dominated the speck + pineapple.
After all this food you would think we would be full, but oh no, there was still dessert to be had. Zeppole it was! Zeppole is Italian Doughnut holes and yes they are just as delicious as you would think.
The Zeppole came with chocolate chili and blueberry tarragon dipping sauces and both were the perfect complement to the lightly fried doughnut holes dusted with sugar. This dessert was recommended by our waitress and I can see why. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser.
Our meal at CUCINA enoteca was definitely one of the better meals I’ve had in a while. The pizzas were cooked to perfection, the fries were stupid good, and of course the Zeppole was just a perfect way to round out the meal. I’d definitely like to come back and try some of their drinks, pastas, and other weekly specials such as “Wild Wednesday” which is a burger and Moretti beer or “Meatball Monday” which means all meatballs are half off.
Grazie per il buon alimento CUCINA enoteca!
31 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618