Cucina Dell’Arte – A PB Institution


Ah good old Cucina… I spent many a night in my youth drinking and dancing til the wee hours at this Palm Beach hotspot.  Cucina really does have something for everyone, you can go for a nice Sunday brunch, a quick bite on your lunch break, or a late night bender with the girls. But this time, I came with my mom and aunt for brunch {after being there just a couple hours before for post-wedding festivities! ;)}Cucina_interiorThis restaurant definitely has a different feel to it in the day time than at night. You will never find this bar empty on a weekend night!


Anyway, on to the food! They had a great “Lunch Express” menu which offered an appetizer and entrèe for $14.95 (I know – unbelievably cheap right?! I’ve become jaded since living in NYC and paying astronomical prices to eat out). I ordered the Fagioli soup, which I assumed to be the traditional “pasta e fagioli” that you find at most Italian places, so I was pretty disappointed when my soup came with no pasta and resembled more of a minestrone. I questioned our server, James (who was an absolute sweetheart by the way) if this was the right soup. He confirmed with the manager that it was, and he came over and explained that was how they make their Fagioli soup. The manager was very apologetic, and offered the Tortilla Soup instead which he said was the special of the day.


I agreed to try that, and loved the presentation right away. The soup itself was good, it had a bit of a kick to it, and was rich and creamy. I also appreciated the accompaniments which left you free to adorn your soup however you liked. It just wasn’t exactly what I was craving since I was in Italian mode.

Cucina_tortillaSoupMy mom and aunt both got the Eggplant Parmesan, and I wish I had too! Luckily my mom shared some of hers and I also stole some from my aunt. I warned her that was part of the deal now that I was a blogger ;). The eggplant was thinly sliced, soft and oozing with gooey mozzarella and sweet tomato sauce.

Cucina_eggplantParmI made a much better choice with my entrèe, I went for the Quinoa Spaghetti with tomatoes, basil and pepperoncino forte (sometimes it’s just better to keep it simple). I had never had quinoa pasta and had been meaning to try it. The texture was very similar to classic spaghetti, perhaps just slightly more chewy. The spaghetti had been cut up which is a huge no-no for me, but I wonder if it had something to do with the fact that it was quinoa? The sauce was light and sweet with a little spice from the pepperoncino.

Cucina_QuinoaSpaghettiMy mom got the Cappellini Genovese in a creamy pesto sauce with shrimp. I had a couple bites (of course), and I recall having had this dish once before. The shrimp were good, and the cappellini were cooked well, but for me it was too creamy and heavy. I prefer my pesto without all that creaminess which detracts from the pungent basil and garlic.

Cucina_PastaGenoveseMy aunt had the Chicken Cucina which was crispy dark meat chicken with peppers, onions, and sausage. This was a very hearty dish and reminded me of a combo of sausage and peppers and fried chicken. It was very flavorful, and my aunt really enjoyed it.


We were pretty stuffed after our food, and were planning on skipping dessert, but our waiter James said we absolutely had to try the bread pudding. I’m personally not a huge fan of bread pudding, but he even offered it “on him” so we couldn’t refuse.

Cucina_BreadPuddingAnd I am so glad that we didn’t! First of all, it was huge! The three of us could barely finish it, and believe me – we tried. It was smothered in a delicious sweet caramel and served with salted caramel ice cream and fresh berries. The bread pudding itself was so soft and with an incredibly light texture, filled with raisins, and not at all doughy like I expected. James was right, this was an amazingly decadent dessert!

So my experience at Cucina was just as I had remembered it, it’s always a fun time, but the food is never fantastic or entirely authentic Italian. But it’s a definite must, if you are ever in Palm Beach especially to check out the late night island scene!

Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥

Cucina Dell’Arte | | 257 Royal Poinciana Way, Palm Beach, FL

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