Cucina Enoteca Del Mar

Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

Cucina Enoteca Del Mar

As a leader in San Diego’s culinary landscape for the last seventeen years, celebrated proprietor, restaurateur and interior designer Tracy Borkum’s CUCINA enoteca is a beautiful two-story, 7,000 sq ft restaurant and wine shop located in Del Mar’s Flower Hill Promenade.

CUCINA enoteca joins an esteemed roster of Borkum’s vibrant San Diego concepts, including Urban Kitchen Catering, CUCINA urbana—the park-side dining landmark that opened doors to enormous acclaim in 2009—and sister restaurant CUCINA enoteca, which launched in the Irvine Spectrum Center in December of 2011. In July 2013, Borkum also announced a new CUCINA enoteca, which is slated to open in Newport Beach’s Fashion Island in Summer 2014, alongside some of the country’s most noted chefs & restaurant groups, such Fig & Olive, Red O Restaurant from chef Rick Bayless and Lemonade from LA.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

As her biggest local venture to date, Borkum enlisted an all-star crop of local design, construction and artistic talent to incorporate fresh elements into CUCINA enoteca Del Mar, providing it with a unique character all its own. The exceptional culinary team is led by Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli, who, alongside Chef de Cuisine Andrew Bachelier, created several all-new menu offerings to debut at the new location. Keeping in line with the signature CUCINA experience, the modern Italian kitchen-meets-rustic-farmhouse concept presents guests with the same highly curated “restaurant to retail” environment found in their existing locations. Offering diners nearly everything for sale, including the customized furniture, lighting and décor, CUCINA enoteca Del Mar also features a dedicated wine shop where guests can purchase hand-selected wines at retail price, either to enjoy with their meal or take to go.

Other highlights of the restaurant include a second story open-air deck overlooking the surrounding neighborhood. This beautiful space serves as an outdoor lounge where guests can linger over handcrafted specialty cocktails, the most extensive selection of hard-to-find Italian artisan beers in the city, as well as fine wines and lighter options to enjoy in a relaxed setting. Downstairs, dramatic ceilings provide an abundance of natural light, welcoming those who wish to enjoy a more intimate dining experience.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

MENU & CHEF TEAM: Under the inspired direction of Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli—a natural culinary savant who has Italian heritage and experience in both classic bastions of East Coast luxury (Lespinasse, Bistro Lepic) and small, family-owned eateries—the menu combines the flavors of Italy with the organic freshness of California. The culinary curriculum of CUCINA enoteca brings innovation to North County, and a portion of the menu is completely exclusive to the Del Mar location. CUCINA enoteca also continues to develop an ambitious in-house cheese program, house made charcuterie and sausage, hand crafted confections, and a selection of artisanal breads and pastas prepared from scratch.

Stepping up as chef de cuisine at CUCINA enoteca is Andrew Bachelier, an up and coming culinary talent who has logged in time at Addison at The Grand Del Mar, and most recently served as sous chef at flagship restaurant, CUCINA urbana. CUCINA enoteca’s menu turns out trademark iterations of luxurious pastas, antipasti, innovative pizzas and plates small and large, sweet and savory, which beg to be shared.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

WINE AT CUCINA ENOTECA: The sky-high shelves at CUCINA enoteca cover an entire wall, creating an atmosphere of a bona fide gallery. Mirroring Borkum’s inviting design and affinity for the eclectic, CUCINA’s wine list is comprised of a balanced and carefully curated selection of familiar names as well as more rare and esoteric small-batch gems—promising something for everyone from the novice taster to the seasoned oenophile.

DESIGN: Under the direction of Borkum, who is known for her design talent as much as she is for her innovative cuisine, construction began in January 2013. Monika Crawford joined Urban Kitchen Group with this project, adding inspiration as resident designer and retail buyer. CUCINA enoteca further commissioned a community of local and creative talents to co-advise on various interior elements. San Diego-bred art hero Tocayo was brought in to create a massive mural to convey an urban sensibility, while Vincent Design, Wood and Metal Design, Finishing Touch Millwork and Tazz Lighting focused on various aesthetic elements throughout the space. In the new venue, CUCINA enoteca once again showcases a signature emphasis on custom made creations, locally procured vintage finds and reclaimed and repurposed materials. However, as a nod to the location’s proximity to the polo fields and the nearby Thoroughbred Club, Borkum has created an “ode to the equestrian,” which serves as a principal design focal point within a dedicated area of the space.

PizzaCucinaEnotecawww.sandiegofoodfinds.com_.jpgDESIGN RETAIL (URBAN KITCHEN SHOP): Borkum continues to take restaurant retail to an entirely new level by offering diners nearly everything for sale within this venue, including the furniture and lighting. After responding to constant requests from patrons wanting to know where she procured her eclectic array of vintage finds in her first two CUCINA concepts, Borkum continues with the Urban Kitchen Shop—an online marketplace where the natural born picker’s fans can cull through her handpicked treasures and furnish their own spaces with her trademark warmth. In addition, if guests are inspired by their surroundings while dining at the restaurant, everything can be ordered immediately from a menu at the host stand. Stocked with orange wire bend chairs, hand-screened aprons, vintage chicken feeders and everything in between, the carefully curated emporium is not only a rustic-inclined decorator’s dream, it’s an incubator and platform for local designers. Both the shop and the restaurants themselves feature unique wares designed by Borkum herself, or are sourced exclusively from an impressive roster of California creatives.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
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