Wonderfully Raw Brussel Bytes and Snip Chips

Cucina Urbana: Vegan Friendly

BANKER’S HILL.  Each year I get excited about San Diego restaurant week, scouring the menus in search of vegan options.  And each year, I’m disappointed.  This time around, however, someone suggested that I contact Cucina Urbana.  And I am so happy that I did.  I called and spoke with Alison, who after checking with the restaurant’s chefs, let me know they would be happy to accommodate vegan diners.  Hooray!!

We arrived hungry and excited.  The first appetizer included Brussels sprouts with house made hot sauce.  When done poorly, Brussels sprouts can drag a meal down.  When done well, however, my husband and I will often battle for the last sprout.  That’s what happened here.  Cucina Urbana’s delectable sprouts were lightly covered with oil, slightly crispy on the outside, and the hot sauce offered a fun twist.

Our other appetizer was sweet pea hummus served with crispy pita and chili.  The sweet peas gave the hummus a vibrant green color, and the slightly salty pancetta was the perfect delivery device–not too heavy, leaving room for the entrees to come.

And what would an Italian experience be without pizza?  Cucina Urbana’s chefs whipped up a vegan pizza fresh from their brick oven.  There’s no reason to miss the cheese with this dazzling array of roasted veggies and home made tomato sauce.  The mushrooms were a highlight, the type one might find at the Farmer’s Market.

The other entree was pasta with olives, vegetables and a delicious house made tomato sauce.  This dish demonstrates how simple dishes, when executed well, can stand out.  There is really no way to describe how the pasta melted in my mouth or how delicious the sauce tastes.  It makes you want to take small bites, so as to prolong the good times.

Finally, for dessert we enjoyed a home made kiwi sorbet served with blueberry compote.  I’m not always a big fan of sorbet.  It is often the default offering for those who don’t know what else to serve vegans for dessert.  But again, Cucina Urbana exceeds expectations.  The kiwi flavor of the sorbet was fun and fresh, but it was the rich blueberry compote that tickled the taste buds.

I love the interior of Cucina Urbana with its high ceilings and dramatic lighting.  My dining experience at Cucina Urbana was one of my favorite dinners in a long while.  Thank goodness for restaurant week and special occasions!

If you do want to visit Cucina Urbana, it’s easy to make reservations through OpenTable.  You can even note special dietary requests (like “I’m vegan!”) under the “add a special request” section.

505 Laurel Street

San Diego, CA 92101