cucina basilico

This past weekend I had wanted to go check out Chicken Charlie’s new restaurant, but a quick overview of some recent reviews made me think twice about it and I decided that we would wait until they worked out some of their kinks. Instead I turned to browsing through my Entertainment Book to see if there were any decent coupons to use and that’s how I found Cucina Basilico.

Cucina Basilico Entertainment Coupon

Coupon love. <3

I did a little bit of research and found the reviews to be promising: scratch made pasta in a little restaurant. Scratch made pasta always sets my heart a flutter so I decided this was the place for us that evening. 

Cucina Basilico - inside

The inside is cute and cozy. It’s not too large, maybe 15 tables plus bar seating. There’s a cute clock made out of a giant fork (just above T’s head in this photo) and various coffee bean bags hung up on the ceiling. 

Cucina Basilico - Menu

[cucina basilico menu]

Here’s the menu (also available online here). What they do is they have a list of all of the available sauces for the pastas. They create four different kinds of pasta every day (including gluten-free pasta) so you just have to ask what’s available. On the day we visited they had gnocchi, linguine, asparagus linguine and a cinnamon/red wine linguine. 

The cinnamon/red wine linguine sounded really interesting but I also couldn’t wrap my head around how those flavors would meld together in a dish…

Complimentary Bread

[complimentary bread]

After we placed our orders we were given some complimentary bread. The bread looks like little clouds to me from their cute shape. The bread is sadly NOT served warm which I think would make it far superior. It’s a soft bread and it tasted well enough. It had a little bit of chew and soaked up the sauces nicely. 

Bread dipping sauces

[bread dipping sauces]

The olive oil with vinegar is the standard sauce you get, but Jake asked for a side of marinara sauce as well. They gave us warm marinara sauce for dipping which I thought made it better. I liked alternating between both sauces for the bread. Jake and T seemed to loOoOoOove the bread, considering they went through 3 baskets of it (heck, it might have been 4 baskets – I lost count). 

Polpette - Mini meatballs swimming in sauce

[polpette / $6.55]

I can never resist ordering a restaurant’s meatballs. I particularly like trying it as an appetizer so I don’t have to commit to it for my entree. There were about 8 mini size meatballs floating around in sauce. 

Inside of the Polpette meatballs

The little meatballs were packed with a lot of yummy flavors and I believe had bits of cheese in them. The meatballs were tender and had a great mouthfeel from the texture. I only wish that the meatballs were a teeny bit larger. They were still delicious though and we got a fair amount of baby meatballs to share between the three of us. I think I would commit to an entree of meatballs and fresh pasta in the future! 

Side Pasta - Superalfredo

[side pasta with super alfredo sauce / $4.95]

We got T a side pasta so he’d have a little extra pasta in addition to sharing with Jake and I. He choose the plain linguine with “Super Alfredo” sauce which is pumped up with cream, roasted garlic cloves, coarse pepper & shaved parmigiano. The garlic flavor shines right through the sauce and the roasted garlic cloves are served whole. It’s a very fragrant and delicious sauce!

Gnocchi in Formaggio sauce - a cheesy gorgonzola sauce

[gnocchi with formaggio sauce / $11.95]

If you know me by now, you would have been able to guess that I ordered the gnocchi. I couldn’t resist the allure of trying a from scratch gnocchi! The gnocchi were incredibly light and melt-in-your-mouth tasty. I paired it with the Formaggio sauce which is a light cream sauce with gorgonzola – a lighter blue cheese. The blue cheese flavor is still there in the sauce but it’s not quite as strong as a full-on rich blue cheese. It’s like “blue cheese lite”. It was quite creamy and had just the right amount of sauce to coat the gnocchi. I did get a little tired of eating it though since it can start to become heavy, but luckily I had it broken up by eating some of Jake’s dish! 

Ossobuco - Pork Shank with Pasta

[ossobuco – pork shank with pasta / $18.95]

Jake saw another table had this special – the Ossobuco – and he decided he had to have it. He’d never ordered it or tried it before and he was very happy with his dish. You get this dramatic pork shank covered in gravy with fresh pasta to boot. The gravy becomes the sauce for the pasta and it has this rich meaty flavor from the very tender pork shank. The pork shank is fork tender and incredibly flavorful. A fine, fine choice! 

Jake though this would have maybe paired better with some mashed potatoes or something but he still really enjoyed the linguine. 

He will SHANK you!

He’s trying to resist shanking me with that shank bone. Heh heh. See what I did there?

Flourless Chocolate Almond Torta

[flourless chocolate almond torta / $5.95]

I wasn’t really planning on getting dessert… but I saw the chef put out this cake… and then I watched him as he garnished it and put it up on the bar. I asked our waiter what it was and he told us it was a flourless chocolate almond torta. It looked so good I couldn’t resist! 

Chocolate Almond Torta

Since it’s flourless, the chocolate flavor is a bit more intense. There were some melty chocolate bits in there and I loved the powdered sugar on top. It was sort of like a cross between a cake and a brownie in the texture and consistency. The chocolate flavor was deep and a little intense. Jake thought it was too chocolatey, surprise surprise, but T and I really liked it. 

Cucina Basilico - San Diego

 We really enjoyed our dinner at this little spot and we’ll be back to try more of their pastas and sauces!

Link love!

Cucina Basilico
3755 Murphy Canyon Road
San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 874-6436

Cucina Basilico on Urbanspoon

Author: Mary

Mary is a San Diego native and has been a food blogger for 11+ years. She is an avid reader, a lover of puppies, and loves trying new food. Foods she loves: sweets, peanut butter, pasta, Triscuit crackers with cream cheese, and extra nuts on top of her sundaes. Food she dislikes: pickles, really spicy food, runny eggs, olives, and too much arugula.

12 Replies to “cucina basilico

    1. Hi CC – Oh! Then I probably have an online one for later, too! Yay, I really liked the pasta here and want to try more things! Maybe I’ll be brave an try a “crazy” flavored pasta next time.

  1. Yum. I thought there was some magic trick being played on me when I first looked at the osso bucco picture. Like sauce was being poured out of a portal on top of the meat. And then common sense kicked in. This is one of the only Italian places I can get Anh to come to with me. We love the tiramisu!

    1. Hi Darren – Haha! Magic Osso Bucco! 🙂 We didn’t try the tiramisu because I was pretty sure Jake and T wouldn’t enjoy it, but I’d like to try it sometime!

  2. I love coupons! Did you find a lot of places to visit from the Entertainment Book? I seem to recall lots of fast food chains from one I had in the past… but I think there was a smaller section with casual/fancy restaurants too.

    Is gnocchi best shared? I had eaten the version here when I asked you whether you got tired of gnocchi at solare. I probably need to try it at more places first though. I’m sure there’s one so awesome you can eat it all yourself… somewhere…

    1. Hi Lynn – With my new 2015 Entertainment Book there’s a separate “fancy dining” book with lots of great restaurants in it plus a casual dining section. Those are the two I usually go through and I skip over the fast food portion most of the time. There’s a lot of places in there but I find there’s maybe too many in Oceanside, Vista or places I consider too far to drive. BUT I feel I’ve already gotten my money’s worth back in what I paid for the book as we have used it several times already. I do think gnocchi is best shared because it’s such a singular flavor and tends to be rich (especially with cheese/cream based sauces). But I still love it! I remember there was a gnocchi I loved from the Top of the World restaurant in Vegas (http://food.theplainjane.com/2012/07/09/top-of-the-world-at-stratosphere-las-vegas-nv/) that I think I could have eaten the whole thing by myself… 🙂

  3. LOL @ Jake with the shank bone!

    Super Alfredo?!?! Uhhhmmm, sign me up! Alfredo by itself is amazing, but super alfredo…well now that’s just something that’s calling my name. That flourless chocolate almond torta makes me want to lick the computer screen. I will put this on my “to try” list!

    1. Heehee, I love that photo of Jake, too. Cracks me up.

      I know, the Super Alfredo was pretty good. Hello, roasted garlic! It’s a really cute spot and it’s not too far from you! You should check it out.

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