Culinary delights meet aesthetic bliss at San Diego’s CUCINA urbana, where dining and design form the ultimate union. The first of its kind in San Diego, the California-inspired Italian kitchen and wine shop opened doors in the heart of Bankers Hill in 2009, filling the shoes of Borkum’s former Laurel Restaurant. Rather than risk seeing Laurel lose the battle of a down economy, Borkum took a proactive approach and shut the doors, opening CUCINA urbana just 4 weeks later. Immediately embraced by San Diego, the restaurant and wine shop boasts comfort and familiarity, welcoming diners to a country farmhouse with all the whimsy of a contemporary art installation. Executive Chef Joe Magnanelli takes the reigns in the kitchen and with the aid of Executive Sous Chef Mark Schmitt wows guests with contemporary Italian cuisine prepared with locally sourced, organic and sustainable products. The CUCINA curriculum also continues to develop an ambitious in-house cheese, charcuterie and sausage program, hand crafted confections, and a selection of artisanal breads and pastas prepared from scratch. CUCINA urbana is the originator of the CUCINA retail wine program where each dedicated wine shop allows guests to hand select wines at a retail price, either to enjoy with their meal for a minimal corkage fee or purchase to go. Each wine list comprises over 250 familiar names and rare, small-batch gems from the Americas and Europe, CUCINA presents an emphasis on Italian varietals—promising something for everyone from the novice taster to the seasoned oenophile.