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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. Chef de cuisine Cesar Sarmiento oversees a contemporary Italian menu that emphasizes seasonal freshness and sustainability. Ricotta-stuffed squash blossoms, farmer’s chopped salad and flatbread are good starters, although more adventurous types will want to go for veal carpaccio or tender grilled octopus with ceci bean and green citrus. Handmade pasta such as the short rib pappardelle or straciatella agnolotti are ideally portioned, while the whole roasted branzino with saffron couscous or lamb osso buco confit are ideal for those who want proteins. Save room for the zeppole with peanut butter dipping sauce or the dark chocolate budino for dessert.