Our first restaurant review & it gets to be one of our favorite places, Cucina Enoteca! Before we launch into the review, there are a few things you should know about our espresso shot rating system.
1. We LOVE to eat, everywhere we go, food is one of our biggest priorities to having a good time. Our restaurant reviews will be heavily skewed towards the quality of food over everything else.
2. What we dislike about yelp, is that their star system is WHACK. Many wonderful places’ reviews were warped because of some really bullsh– reasons. We hope that you can trust our experience as the average, understanding person. We hope this more in-depth, personalized review will be a trustworthy source for you.
3. Convenience is nice. As much as we love exploring LA, popular restaurants, and obscure hole-in-the-wall places, we will attempt to make the experience as convenient as possible by providing valuable hints on parking, walking expectations, waiting expectations, etc.
NOW, let’s begin.
Oh, the food. Cucina Enoteca does it right. On this occasion, we came to celebrate our good friend Heidi’s birthday. When our group of girls go out, we pretty much just split everything. This time around, that meant we got to try EIGHT really awesome dishes.It is so hard to pick a favorite because literally, every single dish was amazing. It all depends on if you’re in the mood for pasta, pizza, fish, etc. You can’t go wrong with anything on this menu.
Top (left to right) 1. Mini Rosemary Potato Focaccia Loaf +rosemary honey butter (which we DEVOURED before I got a chance to take a picture) 2. Lemon Roasted Beet Salad 3. Mac + Cheese w/ Rosemary Parmesan Breadcrumbs 4. Mission Fig + Gorgonzola Pizza
Bottom (left to right) 1. Butternut + Delicata Squash Agnolotti 2. Almond Crusted Sea Bass 3. Grilled Berkshire Pork Chop 4. Linguini and Clams
- If we HAD to pick a favorite…
-Jess: I will probably get the Butternut + Delicata Squash Agnolotti until my dying day. The combination of the squash, amaretto cookies, and brussell sprouts get me every time. This is one pasta dish I can eat again and again.
-Tracie: It’s not pictured here, so I know it’s kind of cheating, but I’ve ordered the short rib pappardelle more times than any other dish on this menu (both at Cucina Enoteca and Cucina Urbana). That short rib is cooked to fall apart perfection and that pasta? No words.
- Also, We are also not the biggest fan of beets. BUT, that lemon roasted beet salad was delicious!
Desserts: We got three different desserts: ordered 2 and Cucina Enoteca treated Heidi to a free birthday treat!
(left to right) 1. Lemon Tart 2. Cereal Milk Pannacotta 3. Zeppole (Italian Style Donut Holes)
With the desserts, the cereal milk pannacotta was the clear favorite of the table. It’s lightly sweetened and the texture of the pannacotta was PERFECTION.
We’ve come to Cucina Enoteca a couple times now and a once a waiter recommended we order the Paraduxx wine which is a wonderful Zin/Cab blend. If you’re into it, or not even into Zinfandel, you should try this wine. It is AMAZING. It’s the kind of wine that makes you extra sad to see go. We order it every time we come, and you should to!
Corking fee: $8
We hate corking fees, so we recommend just finishing the bottle (; IF you have a designated driver, of course.
- Cucina Enoteca’s dishes range from $10-25. Especially for the portions and quality of food you receive, they are a GREAT price; and most of them were on the lower end of the pricing spectrum. We’re a group of girls who can EAT, and we all left very happy and full.
- The wine was $48 +tax for the bottle. Again, let us tell you. IT. IS. WORTH. IT.
- Decor: Cool, casual. It’s dimly lit with a rustic/hipster type feel. Take some time to look at the lights! All the different types of lights are pretty cool to look at. We sat outside:
- Noise: The chatter of lively conversation is a very promising sign–it means people are having a good time and enjoying their food. It’s not overwhelming though, so don’t worry. We could hear everyone in our party just fine!
- Dress: There’s a variety of attire found in all of the guests. You won’t feel overdressed if you feel like coming in your LBD, and won’t feel under-dressed if you come in your jeans and white v-neck tee.
- Seating: Cucina Enoteca decides to have comfortable couches instead of benches for their booths. The only downfall? You’ll want to fall asleep right then and there.
- Our waiters/waitresses were pleasant enough.They’re chill, and give off the feeling that they’re passionate about their menu and the food that they serve. I haven’t had a single bad experience with a Cucina Enoteca server yet.
- They all have an extensive amount of knowledge on the food and drinks. The menu is extremely Italian, and the casually dressed servers explain everything with unpretentious attitudes. So don’t be afraid to ask questions!
- Our friend is a new vegetarian and didn’t know that pancetta was meat. It happened to be in her mac + cheese, and despite the fact that it was listed on the menu, they switched it out for a new vegetarian mac + cheese, free of charge.
- Located in Irvine Spectrum, parking spaces are abundant and FREE. On the weekends, it does get pretty busy though, so expect to cycle through the lots and structures a little. Tip: Just keep going up! There is parking up there!
- If possible, park in the structure behind Edwards Cinemas. Cucina Enoteca is located right in front of the movie theater so that lot will provide the shortest walking distance
- Ladies, a thinner heel may cause you some trouble as Spectrum is a huge fan of cobblestone-like floors. We recommend going with some wedges or boots.
- The aisles between tables are a somewhat narrow. Prepare to get a little cozy!
Everything here is excellent. We won’t be giving away 5’s easily, but this definitely deserves it in our book. Cucina Enoteca does the things we love, perfectly. From the service, to the food and the ambience, everything fits in with what we’re looking for when we go to a restaurant. Our entire experience, from wine to appetizer to entree to dessert, was excellent. EVERY dish was prepared well, served in a timely manner, and delicious. No complaints here. If you come with the right mindset, it should fulfill your expectations to a tee.