Fun Diego Family is on a quest to find the best pizza places in San Diego. To that end, we have classified pizza into four broad categories. Among those categories the hardest to review is what we call Fancy Italian/California pizza. This is the stuff served by fancy restaurants and it is hard to review because we don’t visit these places on a regular basis. For our first review, we start with Cucina Enoteca. This is a place we have been to several times and already consider a leader in this category.
First, I must admit to not being a fan of this category in general. Yes, there can be delicious pizza, but every upstart restaurant seems to be adding a wood-fired oven to throw out a pizza. In most cases these are expensive, mediocre afterthoughts and you are better ordering other menu items. In my mind a $20 pizza “entrée” has a hard time competing with a 2 slice and a soda special.
However, there are exceptions and Cucina Enoteca is one of them. I have tried several pizzas on their menu, but the one I come back to is the spicy coppa and pineapple. This pizza includes coppa (an Italian salami/ham), pepperoncino’s, Calabrian chili and basil. The base is a tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. This is a one-person pizza priced at $17.
The pizzas range from $15.50 for a basic margherita, up to $17,50 for a pepperoni and fennel sausage. Unfortunately, with these fancy pizzas I am not going to get to experiment as much. With Cucina Enoteca I have found my choice and am sticking to it. Right now, this is my favorite high-end pizza in the area (I still have a lot more to try).
Cucina Enoteca is located in Del Mar, right by the race track in the Flower Hill Promenade. It is the second restaurant from the Urban Kitchen Group. Before Cucina Enoteca I had been to the first restaurant Cucina Urbana, near downtown in Banker’s Hill. They have a similar pizza, but I am not going to review it separately.
On a sidenote, they have a kids menu build your own pizza. With this pizza they bring out dough, sauce, cheese and toppings and kids assemble it themselves. This is great because our 11-year old son is wanting to order from the expensive adults’ menu. However, he can’t resist build you own pizza.
The other items on the menu are also delicious. This is a huge, 2-story restaurant with great decorations. They actually make a good bolognese. In writing our bolognese recipe, we noted how hard it is to find a good bolognese in restaurants. Cucina Enoteca is one of the few that does it right.
We have a lot more fancy pizza places to review. This will take awhile because these places are expensive fine dining options. I went to Cucina Enoteca first because it has been my favorite. My latest visit simply confirmed what I already knew, Cucina Enoteca makes a great high-end pizza.