After the discussion about Cucina Italia on this board and how some claimed it had become better after it changed its owner, we had to try it. We know the restaurant when it was still Via Italia. We went there twice, before and after it changed owners. Both times not too impressed from the food.
The interior hasn't changed much with the name change, still very open space and still quite windy in the evening.
We had the bread with dipping sauce (tomato with basil) - Bread was ok but nothing special, more something you get at every Ralphs etc. and the dipping sauce was also nothing outstanding.
As starters we had Caprese and Prosciutto di Parma - Disasters. Apparently nobody from this restaurant was ever in Italy or southern Europe before. To serve a Caprese without olive oil but corn or someother flavorless oil is simply disgusting. Prosciutto was good but the vinaigrette was similar disappointing. And not to serve any bread to these starters showed again that nobody at this restaurant has any idea about food in Italy - simply unthinkable in Italy.
As entrees we had Ossobucco and Filetto Gorgonzola - Ossobucco was pretty good with a good risotto. The filetto was also good with nice polenta but we ordered the filet to be medium and got it well done.
No dessert but a cappuccino and caffee latte - both quite good with nice microfoam, though the cappuccino was very small.
The service was lousy, inattentive and very unprofessional (during the time we were there they dropped 2-3 plates or glasses at different tables and were more or less throwing the dishes on our table instead of serving them.
Overall nothing has changed much to the times when this restaurant was named Via Italia - some small highlights but a lot of diappointments. (And the pasta we saw at other tables also didn't look like it was selfmade).
For that price ($99) with one glass of wine, two starters, two entrees and no desserts you can get much better food in a lot of restaurants in SD.
For those interested in italian food I would recommend Piatti in LJ (quite good for a small chain, http://piatti.com/lajolla/) and Barolo in UTC (though their service is also sometimes not the best, http://www.barolos.com/display/home.asp)