* Click here for rating key
Cucina Enoteca Restaurant Review: Like its sister location in Irvine, the Newport Beach version of Cucina Enoteca is in a large shopping complex. Yet the restaurant has done a great job of shielding itself from the bustle of the mall crowd through its vibrant, casual country interior and lovely garden patio. Guests can select a bottle of wine from the unique retail program to enjoy with their meal, but we recommend grabbing a spot at the bar and indulging in one of the specialty cocktails. Executive chef Brent Omeste oversees a contemporary Italian menu that emphasizes seasonal freshness and sustainability. The Pacific hamachi crudo, farmer’s chopped salad and flatbread are good starters, although more adventurous types will want to indulge in a Mason jar of chicken liver pâté or tender grilled octopus with ceci bean and green citrus. Hand-made pasta such as the short rib pappardelle or squid ink tagliatelle are ideally portioned, while the whole fish with saffron couscous or Jidori chicken with polenta crocchette are ideal for those who want proteins. Save room for the zeppole with peanut butter dipping sauce or the dark chocolate budino for dessert.