FIRST LOOK: San Diego-Based Cucina Urbana Team Unveils Balboa Park's Newest Restaurant

November 19, 2021

The hospitality company behind San Diego's Michelin-recognized Cucina Urbana and Cucina Sorella has opened Balboa Park's newest bar & restaurant - Artifact at Mingei International Museum.

After a three-year closure and a $55 million transformational renovation, Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park reopened this past September. The museum now houses Balboa Parks newest and much-needed bar and restaurant concepts dubbed Artifact. The restaurant is operated by San Diego restaurateur Tracy Borkum's Urban Kitchen Group, which also owns Cucina Urbana in Bankers Hill, Cucina Sorella in Kensington, and Cucina Enoteca locations in Del Mar, Irvine, and Newport Beach. Designed by La Jolla-based LUCE et studio (George's California Modern, Extraordinary Desserts), Artifact is a full-service restaurant with a modern American menu from corporate executive chef Tim Kolanko and chef de cuisine Jeff Armstrong.

At Artifact at Mingei, the menu is described as "craft cooking inspired by ancient methods, spices and botanicals." The restaurant is currently only open for lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm, with the bar remaining open until 5pm, but dinner hours will begin in January 2022. Highlights from the current menu include rock shrimp gyoza with charred shishito, yuzu dashi broth, and bonito flakes; beef osso bucco with egg noodles, lu liao bao spices, tomato, gai lan, pickled mustard green, ginger, scallion and cilantro; and the citrus dried chili glazed pork shoulder wrap with banh mi daikon, pickled carrot, spearmint, thai basil, rua ram, gem lettuce and jasmine rice. There is also a full 30' bar made of reclaimed wood serving beer, wine and craft cocktails, as well as a large outdoor back patio. Urban Kitchen Group also operates Mingei's new onsite Craft Cafe, which offers made-to-order sandwiches, bowls, pizza, grab-and-go foods, baked goods, smoothies, teas, and Dark Horse coffee drinks.

Craft Cafe and Artifact are both located on the ground floor of Mingei International Museum at 1439 El Prado in San Diego's Balboa Park. For more information, visit and check out the launch menus below