Even though Newport Beach Restaurant Week is over, I'm still thinking about the incredible meal I had at Cucina Enoteca's newest location in Fashion Island. The "California inspired Italian Kitchen" is a great addition to the outdoor mall, despite the fact it's always packed.
The space is rustic with warm lighting, natural woods, artisan goods & plenty of lush plants whisking you away to the Mediterranean, whether you're sitting at the up-lit bar or patio.
The restaurant week dinner menu featured two options, one for $30 with a pizza entree and one for $40 with something more robust. The hand model and I ordered one of each, but unfortunately had to dine "take-away" style (so, please excuse the brown boxes).
- precisely chopped, refreshing use of toasted Quinoa, Chopped Salad with Mixed Greens, Romaine, Bacon, Pear, Green Grapes, Gorgonzola & Walnuts with Lemon Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
- sweet 'n spicy, thin flatbread style, Casalingo Pepperoni & Fennel Sausage Pizza with Mozzarella & Peppadew Peppers
- hearty beef stew meets pasta in a heavenly comforting way, Short Rib Pappardelle with Cremini Mushrooms, Carrots & Parmigiano
- sweet 'n salty, velvety mousse with sticky crunch, Chocolate Budino with Orange Crema, chopped Hazelnuts, Chocolate Espresso Ganache & Toffee Cookie
While Cucina Enoteca's menu is seasonal, lucky for you, the Pepperoni & Sausage Pizza and Short Rib Pappardelle seem to be mainstays.