Cueva Bar

4.6
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59 Reviews
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$31 to $50
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Tapas / Small Plates
Established in 2010, Cueva Bar is a gem in the University Heights neighborhood. If you're searching for a small, neighborhood bar with an intimate setting, look no further. Where else in San Diego can you find the head chef and owner serving your food and giving you insight into how your meal was prepared? Only at Cueva Bar, where co-founder Oz, a beer and wine aficionado and frequent contestant on Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, built a tapas, wine, and beer menu that will satisfy any palate. Listed among the top 10 San Diego restaurants and named Best Empanadas by San Diego Magazine, Cueva Bar offers happy hour specials, gluten-free and vegan-friendly menu items, and a sommelier curated wine list, making the dining experience at Cueva Bar truly unique.

Specials

In for a night cap?

Buy a bottle of Chef Oz's wine selection, get two tacos or two empanadas!

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: July 25, 2019

Ends: July 26, 2118

Availability: Tue-Sat 8:00PM-8:45PM

Thirsty Thursday Happy Hour All Night

Happy Hour Craft Beer On Tap All Night for Open Table Guests only!
5 beers, Mostly local $4

Terms and Conditions:

Valid For: 1 - 20 people

Starts: July 25, 2019

Ends: July 26, 2118

Availability: Thu 6:00PM-8:30PM

What 59 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.6based on recent ratings
4.6
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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M
Orange County
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 2food 3service 1ambience 4

Be advised: Reservations might get you a seat at the bar. We made a reservation for 4 ppl about 45 min. before we arrived. Even though there was a 4-seat table open, we were forced to sit at the corner of the bar. Why? "There was a 4-seat reservation for 30 minutes later that had been made a couple days in advance". The bartender claimed that the other reservation had specifically requested a table - perhaps they had made the same mistake we did, not specifying they wanted a table their first go around. But how? There isn't an option on Open Table when making a reservation? Isn't that the whole point of making a reservation? To be sat at a table?

There were two gentleman working the bar/dining area that evening. One of them was wearing sweat pants or pajama bottoms. The other gentleman, who took our order, sat on the customer side of the bar after our drinks were made, and returned to service when the bill was presented.

My dads beer had blotches of tiny bubbles on the inside of the glass, well below the head, or "froth" a normal beer has, which indicates soap residue. The food was fine and we escaped for about $45/person.

Overall it wasn't a good experience. I wont be going back, or recommending this to a friend.

s
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect! Delicious food, great service... a good time

HP
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

The food was good. But other than the empanadas, I thought it was forgettable/mediocre.

But, the empanadas were fantastic and I may forever dream about them.

So I highly recommend for the empanadas, but felt most of the other options were mediocre.

The spot is cool and cozy too.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

A-MAZE-ING

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M
1 review
Dined on October 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Their happy hour menu is just their normal menu, except a bit less expensive, which is great because you don't feel constrained to only a small selection! Wonderful food that celebrates the flavors of food without being overly spicy, salty, or garlicky. Small restaurant, so make a reservation!

BR
San Diego
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

Small pleasant place. Not tradional tapas with improving nibbles as u buy more drinks. A special freeby if u buy bottles not on the menu. We preferred to have a better idea of what we were getting so weordered wine from the menu. With tip $125 for 2 with 1 bottle plus two glasses and 3 tapas. I thought a tad pricey.

R
San Diego
13 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Nice wine list and the tapas are fabulous. We really love the Mexican twist on the tapas theme. Oz is a great chef and host and we'll be back soon to share the experience with friends.

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 3ambience 3

Excellent food and drink.

Cueva Bar
Responded on July 26, 2019

Thank you for your visit and for your rating/review/

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OT
1 review
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Favorite spot in North Park!

Cueva Bar
Responded on July 18, 2019

Awesome! Thank you for the review!

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LU
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

we love this place. The food is exceptional and exciting. The wine selections are great. If you have not dropped by...you are missing out! We took our daughter there to celebrate her birthday!

Cueva Bar
Responded on July 3, 2019

Thank you for your rating and awesome feedback, Lynn. We appreciate your support!

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MR
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Awesome place. Cozy but yet private...!
Outstanding food and service.

MB
San Diego
1 review
Dined on May 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fabulous tapas - Oz always does a great job, and adds the personal touch by being out in the restaurant. I can't recommend this place highly enough.

S
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 1ambience 5

Food was great, service really lagged, we think they forgot to put our order in and never check on it. Took 45 min to get our appetizer, even though the place was not packed.

S
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love every meal here. The special was delicious too!

OT
Raleigh
8 reviews
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great restaurant. The food was awesome, the service was great, and the atmosphere was perfect. Small space but never felt pushed together with other people. It was great to meet Chef Oz as well.

DM
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on April 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This little place is such an unexpected treasure! The food was fantastic, the service great and the Sangria was the best I've ever had! We sat in front of the window that faces Adams Ave. and enjoyed all the people and pets that walk by this little gem. Will see be back soon!

Cueva Bar
Responded on April 17, 2019

Wooooohoooo! Thanks for your raving five star rating and feedback! We'll see you sometime in the near future for more tapas and sangria!

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OT
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on March 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always a pleasure to eat here the food is always amazing.

Cueva Bar
Responded on April 16, 2019

Thank you for your five star rating!

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OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on January 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Phenomenal foods and service!

RW
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of my favorite restaurant in SD.

Cueva Bar
Responded on April 16, 2019

Thank you for your five star rating, Rachel. We're always happy to serve you and your friends and family!

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S
San Diego
33 reviews
Dined on December 21, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

We had a nice wine and a couple of tapas. The tapas were yummy, we had veggie sopes, queso fundido and dessert empanadas. Small place and simple. Great display of guitars

Cueva Bar
Responded on April 16, 2019

Thank you for your four star rating, Sasha! We'd love to gain a five star rating on your next visit.

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s
San Diego
6 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place is such a gem. Always amazing service and delicious food and sangria. What more could you want?!

EL
Orange County
9 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Happy Hour and the quality of the food was very good. Loved the small intimate feel and vibrant decor! Will return with friends!

JP
Seattle
13 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 1ambience 3

The food took way too long to come out. Service was slow but the sangria was nice.

JM
San Diego
18 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Kudos to chef and wait staff and am sure you’ll enjoy

W
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on November 14, 2014
Overall 3food 5service 2ambience 5

The food that we got was really good but took forever (1 hour to get our first dish) and we only got 4 of the 5 we ordered. This is a very small neighborhood restaurant and the locals clearly took precedent. If I knew I could get better service I'd go back in a heartbeat because the food was so good.

R
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on November 1, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We have been coming to Cueva Bar for a few years and the food is amazing. It has a great atmosphere that is very small and intimate but full of energy. The owners are great and are usually there every night. The Sangria is a MUST!!! Everything on the menu is great with the mac and cheese being a highlight for sure.

Everyone should try this place and the Sangria!

L
Central Coast
3 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Cueva Bar is consistently awesome. Chef Oz makes amazing, quality food and always has an excellent wine selection. You should not miss this gem!

M
San Diego
1 review
Dined on September 13, 2014
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had the chorizo and the chicken empanadas, and they were yummy! A nice quiet place nestled in a nice neighborhood.

J
San Francisco
47 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The Cueva Bar is very close to our daughter's place and we tried it first because of the location and now it is a must-stop for all our visits. Fantastic tapas and a nice neighborhood vibe. We will be back!

g
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2014
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

We love tapas and were so happy to find this gem. Delicious food and very accommodating to food allergies :).

n
San Diego
13 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

We ordered half the menu and everything was outstanding! Love Cueva Bar!

S
San Diego
3 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is my go to date spot. They have a large variety of tasty food, and there's something for all tastes. The servers know exactly when they're wanted, and not intrusive or forgetful. Their beer and wine lists are excellent, it's never too noisy, and never too crowded.

Also parking is easy in the area.

R
San Diego
5 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I'm such a huge fan of Cueva, love the staff and the food is phenomenal every time. Highly recommend this place.

J
San Francisco
47 reviews
Dined on May 24, 2014
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My daughter and I had dinner here and were totally blown away with the great food. Every bite was bursting with flavor! We shared the spiced olives, corn tapa, guacamole tower and then a chimichurri flat bread. We accompanied this with a great and reasonably priced bottle of tempernillo. We were full and ready to be done when we were tempted by banana bread pudding…so glad we were, it was wonderful! We had a great time and will return!

OT
San Diego
1 review
Dined on December 3, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent food! We were visiting from out of town and felt incredibly welcome both by the restaurant owner and the other customers.

P
San Diego
8 reviews
Dined on November 18, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was simply wonderful! From the quality & presentation of the food to the service and ambience... Very delightful! We're coming back next week with friends!

SF
Denver
1 review
Dined on October 12, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This place was great if you are looking to try something a little different and you want to share with friends. Everyone got to taste a little bit of everything. Oz was attentive and pleasant without being overbearing. Someone in our party suggested that it was kid friendly...it is if you go in the afternoon, but in my opinion after dark this place should be reserved for adults.

We had a number of things on the menu, nothing was bad, the Flatbread was larger than an anticipated and excellent, we had the BST. We also had the Chef Special of the evening, it was Picadillo Red Peppers stuffed with shrimp and Cranberry cheese, it was delicious.

J
San Diego
2 reviews
Dined on October 11, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was a great little find. I took a quick spin through Open Table looking for something different for my wife's birthday. We like to try small bites, so when I saw Mexican tapas I knew we were in. We found the owner, Oz, to be quite engaging. He visited us at the table several times to ensure that we were enjoying ourselves as well as provide insight and recommendations. He truly cares about his food (and wine) and also does great things in the community. We'll be back!

A
San Diego
39 reviews
Dined on October 4, 2013
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everyone should go to this place - it is fantastic. The food is so good. Plan on sharing the bacon and goat cheese stuffed dates (yum!!), La Capresa and stuffed and baked Jalapenos. Everything is for sharing (tapas). Miss the bacon wrapped jalapenos, but hopeful Oz will bring them back. Always an awesome experience.

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 23, 2013
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 4

When I first saw the tapas menu I was confused and skeptical - but when I got to the restaurant I realized that its a Mexican tapas restaurant - no Spanish tapas here. The food was AMAZING, everything that we ordered was delicious and had great flavors.

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