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Oct 21, 2007 11:38 AM

New Buona Via in Horsham

Last night, after eagerly awaiting their grand re-opening, my husband and I finally tried Buona Via, which has replaced Ristorante Mediterraneo on Horsham Road. The new building itself is very nice. The focus of the entryway is the enormous, grand stone staircase, which is flanked by the very large bar area on the left, and the dining room on the right. The bar, while we did not spend time there, is well-stocked and BIG -- almost too big, but by the time we left the restaurant last night it was packed, so the space may be necessary. The dining room itself is also large, but not overly so. While it lacks the intimate atmosphere of Mediterraneo, it is nicely decorated, with a beautiful, working stone (perhaps travertine) fireplace in the back of the room. The service was pretty decent, especially since they have hired much more staff than they had at the old place. The only reason I wouldn't say that the staff was great is because they are new, and there are some kinks to be ironed out. For example, the hostess sat us very close to another couple, and when I asked if we could be moved to one of the four or five empty tables for two nearby, she hesitated, then said no, then hesitated again, then said maybe, then left us standing there, only to return and say that we should just sit in the seats she first brought us to. Also, our very pleasant and attentive waitress did not have any information about the fish specials other than what was provided in the description, so when my husband and I asked questions, she could not answer them. Again, neither of these things is terrible and can be chalked up to only being open for about a week or so with lots of new staff. Judging from the excellent service at the old place, this will likely be corrected.

Now on to the food. . . in a word, fantastic. I started with a salad of mixed greens on a bed of proscuitto, topped with poached pears, shaved parmesan, and a port wine dressing. The proscuitto was just right, the pears were amazing, the greens fresh and crisp, offset perfectly by the sweet dressing that had just enough of a vinegar tang. My husband had his standby, a Caesar, which was also done well. For my entree, I chose the grilled langostines with asparagus, on top of artichoke risotto. There are not enough compliments to describe this dish -- smoky, tender, flavorful langostino meat popped out of each shell, and paired well with the grilled asparagus. Both were served on top of creamy risotto with chunks of melt-in-your-mouth artichoke mixed in. My husband ate capellini with crabmeat in a red sauce -- homemade pasta topped generously with crabmeat in a red sauce with just enough sweet/bite to be interesting. It was also very tasty. To end our meal, we each had a slice of dark chocolate mousse cake (if it can be called cake, since it was mostly mousse). It was moist, rich, chocolatey. They had this at the old place and it is still one of our favorites, but this time they did not serve it accompanied by the raspberry coulis, which detracted from the flavors. Still, it was yummy enough for us to polish it off in no time flat! Other odds and ends -- still the same wine menu, which is good since it has lots of good, reasonably priced choices. The place can get kind of loud, but there were several large parties there last night which had something to do with it.

Overall, a great experience, wonderful food, and I expect that the service issues will be easily resolved.

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  1. I'm so glad you posed this. I just drove by it the other day and was curious.. so you must have read my mind! Thanks for the rec. I'm looking forward to trying it now, and am really eager to try their homemade pasta (my absolute weakness).

    1 Reply
    1. re: AmblerGirl

      I adore homemade pasta. . . what is intersting is that in their old place, Mediterraneo, I think when they started out they made all their own pasta but by the end, it didn't taste that way anymore. I guess they made a change from the homemade stuff at some point, but now it seems they have gone back to it and it's sooo good!

    2. Sounds like our kind of place!! Can you give me an idea of costs?

      1 Reply
      1. re: bucksguy14

        Dinner for my husband and I that night ran about $130-140, or thereabouts. Apps and salads range up to maybe $10-12, and entrees run from about $15 at the lowest to $30-ish for some of the specials. Mostly, the entrees are in the low to mid $20s. I hope this helps!

      2. Had an unpleasant dining experience here last week, wonder if I'm in the minority. It was loud loud loud. We had to point to our menu selections, waiter couldn't hear us. The sauce on my pasta (ordered Spinach Ravioli) was bland. Tasted like tomato paste and water and it was all quite pricey. I don't mind paying top dollar for top quality food but this was clearly not. My search continues for a 5 star restaurant in the area. Any suggestions?

        1 Reply
        1. re: JayWex

          Well I think you would like San Marco on Bethlehem Pike in Ambler/Spring House. White glove service, excellent food and moderately priced for what you get. Let me know how you like it.

        2. I went to this restaurant last night. Unfortunately, my experiences were totally different. Parking was impossible. We were seated right away, but we found the restaurant to be terribly noisy and crowded. Our waitress was trying to tell us about the specials, but she not only spoke in very broken English, she was either was wearing braces or had a tongue piercing, which made it very difficult to understand her.

          Another waiter came by and asked if we wanted cracked pepper for our oil plate. We agreed, and he put pepper on the plate. We thought he would have poured the oil for us, but he just ran off. That seemed a little unattentive.

          The food itself was tasty, although I think $20 for the lobster/shrimp risotto is high, especially when it doesn't include a salad. Everything is a la carte.

          I brought home half of my entree and when I opened the container last night, I noticed that all of the large lobster pieces were missing. I think either the waitress or someone from the kitchen took them. What a disappointment - I won't be returning.

          To Jay Wex ... have you tried Stefano's in Huntingdon Valley - they're a little more pricey but very nice. Excellent food, excellent service.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cheflynnie

            Say what? $130-140 for dinner for two? $30 specials? That is ridiculous, especially for unauthentic Italian food (langostino's atop risotto? pasta topped with crab meat?). Pricing in the suburbs really is ridiculous and the food is nearly always inferior to that in the city, where it is not only much better but much cheaper. Case in point: wife and I had an excellent 4-course meal at Salento in the city, creative and authentic food from the Apuglia region of Italy. Total cost with tax and tip? $95. And, we could hear each other talk! Yes it's BYOB, which prevented me from paying $40-60 for a $12 bottle of wine. If I'm going to spend that kinda money I am definitely heading into the city.

            1. re: Schpsychman

              went here last week for a co-worker birthday LUNCH- 5 people bill split 4 ways- $31/person. That was for 5 salads and 5 lunch portions and 1 coke. we weren't offered pepper or cheese for the oil that was on the table. The caesar was overdressed and bland- risotto was very oily.

              can't say i would go back

              1. re: graz29

                Are they BYOB? They can't be, with prices like that they MUST be paying off a liquor license or something. That is totally ridiculous and why, in general, I don't even bother with dining in the 'burbs anymore (unless it's cheaper BYOB Indian, Thai or Vietnamese places).

          2. My husband and I and also most of my friends eat at Buona Via very often. We love that restaurant. The food is great and the service has improved significally since the wait staff got into groove of a new much bigger place. The wine list is great, since it offers many wines from owners private cellar. Tha daily fish specials are amazing( Chef Manuelle does a great job) my personal favorite Chilean Sea Bass with leeks in a tomato broth and from appetizer list try a Beef Carpaccio or Langostini. We strongly reccomend this restaurant and we will remain their customers as long as they stay in business.