1501 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA | Directions 9040134.012730 -118.496472
Sun 10am-3pm, 4pm-10pm
Neighborhoods: West LA, Downtown
Major disappointment – Went in early January with great expectations only to be disappointed by a very poor quality of food, in fact may have been responsible for a bout of food poison, my suspicion anyway. Avoid.
Not a good place to eat on Ocean Ave – I went to I Cugini last Saturday night for dinner and the food was pretty awful. My date and I shared the grilled Calamari and it was gross. I've had grilled Calamari before and although nothing compares to it being fried, their version tasted bad. We then shared a Cesar salad and it was fine. We also split the Shirmp Risotto and it had like a sandy grit (sand maybe) in it. We sent it back. The manager was super friendly and felt horrible and asked if we wanted to order anything else. Since the cooked food was so bad we said no. He then sent over a delicious chocolate desert - best thing we had the entire meal. I would never go back as there are too many good restaurants in Santa Monica and our meal tasted pretty terrible. Interestingly the restaurant was packed.
sat. night visit – Went there Saturday night with one of the restaurant's investor's no less. The place looked nice, then we sat down with the menus, and they looked the menu's at a ridiculous family restaurant, with illustrations and a wacky font. That's fine for Applebees, but this it seems like this is trying to be a top tier restaurant, or at least, its prices scream that. Overall, it seemed like Olive Garden quality food at 5-Star restaurant prices.
I got the whole Daurade fish grilled. There is a choice of having a whole fish prepared four different ways. The waiter told me the chefs prefer to girl it so I got it that way. Just that choice in itself is so ridiculous and awful, I knew it was going to be bad news. The fish came and I had them fillet it for me and it came back in broken chunks and looked very unappetizing. It was bland, screamed for some kind of sauce. The sides were even worse. Spinach salad that was cold like it just came out of the fridge and clumped together, with nothing on it but pickled onions. It was disgusting. Oh, and garlic mashed potoatoes that weren't well mashed and tasted like water. Another at the table had the lasagna, which was way too big a portion and also didn't seem freshly made. She thought it was okay. We got the grilled calamari appetizer too. That was way too small a portion, especially for the price.
Listen, if you like Olive Garden or Red Lobster, this is definitely a step up for you, and I hope you enjoy paying steep prices for mediocre to bad food, but you probably can't tell the difference anyway and are giving this place 5 stars.
I Cugini - Santa Monica = worst place to eat! – To give a star to these guys would be an extravagance..... based on today's experience. We felt ashamed to treat our guests from Italy to such a poor quality food. All was substandard ...we might as well hvae taken them to McDonald's. We all feel sick now. These guys are not seving Italian cuisine! The service was so bad with this arrogant waiter. This is not about knowing or not knowing about seafood or pizza dishes and presentation ..this is about stealing our money. I feel bad for even paying for the junk they served. Funny ..there was a Zagat survey box there .... makes me laugh!
Not the best – Obviously, no one here has ever been to the East Coast. Does anyone know real seafood in California? I have yet to find a good seafood restaurant in this entire state, and I Cugini continues that quest.
I went with a group of 10 last night, and the service and food really could have been better. I had the mussels (dry and bland), and the soft shell crab (definitely not the best I've ever had - and not worth $27). There's very little to choose from. That, and the waitress couldn't even pronounce the names of the dishes. Yea, real authentic Italian.
Best Italian Seafood restaurant in town! – Brunch is great! Service is outstanding! When the weather is nice get the patio seating with the view.
Best regional Italian seafood around! – Fantastic atmosphere, both inside and out on the patio. I first dined here for my friend?s rehearsal dinner, I had such a great time that I came back with my family. Great view of the Santa Monica pier :) We started the evening off w/ a classic? the Caprese salad: fresh buffalo mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, and basil (my fav) & the peppery mussels: this dish was great because the mussels weren?t drowning in white wine, it really showcased their true flavor. My brother had a thin crust Margherita pizza (outstanding!), I had the Mezzi Rigatoni (great for vegetarians), My dad had the Chilean salmon with a Chianti reduction sauce.... sooo delicious, and my mom had ravioli stuffed with sweet potatoes. We all LOVED our meals. Our server, Jordi was one of the best servers I've had in a long time (wish there were more servers like this around). We all had dessert, my favorite was the pumpkin cheesecake, but of course the traditional Italian dessert tiramisu was great. There need to be more restaurants around like i Cugini. Great date restaurant as well and right around the corner from the 3rd st. Promenade. I will definitely be going back to I Cugini, & they have happy hr. 7 days a week!!! What more could you ask for? honestly?!
Best Brunch – I had the best brunch
food, quality is superb, choices are great
service, very friendly and curtious
decor, the most beautiful patio
music and the band were great
I could'nt have had a better Sunday afternoon
The Best Italian Food – This is our favorit Italian restaurant, it never fails us with there quality of food, service, presentation and atmoshere and specialy the fresh whole fish that they offer, the wine list is wonderfull with varieties from the new and old world. Do not miss out on the desserts and make sure to dine on Sunday's with there deliciuse brunch with lots of varieties to try from. I will always recomend I cugini to all my friends as it is the Best Italian Rerstaurant in Los Angeles.
I Cugini = DEATH – We had some calamari appetizers that were ok, and we had a caprese salad which had barely any basil on it. There was no balsalmic on the table which was strange for an Italian restaurant.
I had chilean salmon with veggies and INSTANTLY when I tasted my salmon I wanted to say "I'm full". It was really awful, and I'm easy to please when it comes to fish, but it had no flavor, it was so dry, and just awful. It tasted like cardboard. PLUS: my potatoes were ice cold, and they were definitely supposed to be hot. But, of course I wanted to have a lovely dinner with my family, so I kept my mouth shut, and reluctantly chewed.
Then, my Uncle points out that all 8 clams on his seafood pasta plate were entirely closed. Not a single clam was even a smidge open for him to pry with a fork. So, we told him to tell the waiter. Less than 5 minutes later the waiter brings the plate back and says "I hope this is more to your liking" (which I found funny, because it's not a point of liking, it's a point of how's he gonna eat the clam if it's not openned or cooked!). So my Uncle looks down at his new plate and every single clam is CRACKED OPEN!!!!!
It's like they took a nutcracker and and just broke them in half right down the middle of the clam shell, not even on the joint! There were small pieces of cracked shell in his pasta!
(1) He could choke on the small chunks of shells. (2) if a clam is not openned, it means it's not fully cooked, and if it's not fully cooked it could make you seriously ill!
The waiter brings out the manager, and I have to say, him being so nonchalant about it really pushed my buttons. It's like he didn't even realize the risk involved, like he just thought we were picky eaters or something.
I've never had such a horrible and discusting experience at a restuarant, especially of that "caliber". I just wanted to write this review so that people know what they're getting into by going to this place.
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