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Buca di Beppo - free $10 card in the mail

I just received a $10 gift card from Buca di Beppo italian restuarant. I have never been to one of these before. As a rule I prefer independent restaurants, but hey I've never been one to say no to free food. :-) Anyone tried one of these places? What's good? What should I avoid? Thanks!

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  1. What should you avoid? Buca di Beppo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Woolsey

      Lol, ok. Thought so but you know, free food. It was such a tempting prospect.

    2. dude, i'd rock a free/subsidized meal there. not like the food is gonna kill you.

      1. Nothing's going to kill you or impress you.
        Menu: http://www.bucadibeppo.com/menu/

        1. Salad. Garlic bread. That should be $10. Also will be safe.

          1. Well, it's better than Olive Garden... barely. I got the same $10 card and plan to use it for a pizza. Their thin crust pizzas aren't too bad. But I'm with you - free food, I'm there.

            1 Reply
            1. re: jim1126

              :-) Free food? Surely there must be something there worth eating. Thanks for the heads up on the pizza.

            2. We love our Garden Grove (CA) Bucca di Beppos. One of the few chains that we do. Great food, fun decor & atmosphere, friendly and attentaive waiters/waitresses. Don't listen to the naysayers. Go and find out for yourself. If you don't like it, well then you don't have to go back. Although we almost always give a place a second chance.

              1 Reply
              1. re: crt

                the op asked for all opinions, and the"naysayers" as you call them have an opinion as relevent as yours is.

                I did not like Bucca di Beppo at all on my one visit(average service, and Olive Garden quality food), and I am one who rarely if never gives a place a second shot if they are bad.

                With the above said, if you want to use your $10 gift card go for it, and judge for yourself.

              2. Get a pizza.

                We enjoy the place. It's lots of fun and the food, while not of white-napkin-and-china excellence, is decent and enjoyable. We have traditionally gone there for Christmas Eve dinner for several years.

                1. I'm a sucker for their tiramisu... grab 1 or 2 friends and dig in! I haven't had enough experience to know what you should avoid, but I personally think their food is just fine enough... and hey, w/your $10 gift card, it'll taste even better! ;)

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gsmoose

                    I agree with most of the posters. My sister and I have actually only been there once, at the one in Pasadena, and we didn't care for it - mediocre food, and we hated the garish decor, cheap statues, etc. - but hey, to each his own - I'm sure that, to others, it comes across as fun irreverence.
                    They ARE generous with their servings, but, again, it's not great.

                    1. I like Buca. It's a loud, fun place with better than average food, IMO.

                      I love the salad, but it's huge - six of us shared it and had plenty. IIRC we ordered chicken parmesan and ravioli, and shared. One entree will feed two or three easily and probably have some left over.

                      The family-style atmosphere is what is fun about it to me.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: thedoorchick

                        Some locations now have a menu where you can choose between two sizes.

                      2. Is no one going to ask? How is it that the OP and jim1126 got these $10 gift cards in the mail? Perhaps you both live in an area that they're trying to expand into?

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: slacker

                          We get them regularly in the Bay Area California. They have been here forever, so I am not sure why they do them here and not elsewhere. I have never used it though, because we are exactly the folks they are tyring to get to come in - never eat out alone, only with the whole family and so the meal is always more than $10.

                          1. re: jsaimd

                            Interesting. We never get them in L.A. At least I've never gotten one or heard of others getting them. Maybe there are more chain restaurant eaters in L.A. so they have no need to lure people in?? yikes I think it's true.

                            1. re: slacker

                              I got two shortly after I moved to LA, so they do use them out here from time to time. I never used them, though because I couldn't find anyone who was willing to eat there.

                          2. re: slacker

                            I live in the Midwest and received this in the mail last week. I think we have two Buca locations around here now. Maybe they are trying to drum up "Winter Doldrum" business. $10 seems like just enough to offset the tip and a drink unless you plan on having just a personal pizza or dessert. Good tactic to lure in customers since they will likely spend at $10 of their own money.

                            I like the Egglant Parmesan at Buca.

                            1. re: slacker

                              Well, I live near the Market Place Tustin Buca and it's been around for awhile but still got the gift card. Maybe they need new business. :-)

                            2. I like Buca but I always get the same exact thing, so maybe the rest of the menu is awful, I don't know... I get the chicken parm w/ prosciutto. I think it's great, I'll get it to go and make my own pasta and sides at home to go with it.

                              1. I have a number of problems with "buca"...being first generation Italian gives me a reason to be irate at their version of Italianess. The name Buca di Beppo translates literally to "Joe's Hole"...even though I know they are using the name to mean Joe's basement or some such thing. In my mind if you are going to use words from a different language to name your restaurant remember that some people can understand what the words actually mean.

                                A very good case in point: I found the $10 discount card from Buca in the mail. It was intended to introduce their new portion size as an option to be able to order a smaller size. Ok ..so far... They named this new portion size "buca mia". The translation of "buca mia" is "my hole". Now there is no fuzzy slang going on in these two words..they mean "my hole" period. I consider the food they serve the insult and the rest of their operation can be considered the injury they added to it.

                                Being me I sent them an email informing them that by naming this smaller portion buca mia they were expecting diners to go into their restaurant and order "my hole", on the off chance they might care. No response of course. If anyone wants that $10 card it's in a landfill somewhere nearby.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: sonoitaliana

                                  Wow, that really puts everything into perspective. I certainly don't blame you for having a problem with Buca, or any other kind of restaurant of its ilk. Being of Mexican heritage, I have a real problem with places like Taco Bell or Chili's.
                                  I have also been to Italy several times and I have really struggled to find Italian restaurants that bear any resemblance to the real thing (even the pasta from the cafe at Fiumicino airport in Rome was outstanding). I guess I've lowered my expectations a little too much. ;-)

                                  1. re: sonoitaliana

                                    Hilarious. We always called the basement the "buca" and I also thought it was slang for "mouth" but regardless, some marketing executive has some explaining to do. I had to go to BDB with a group from church a few weeks ago and I've been avoiding posting because what's the point? It is what it is and everyone seems to love it. Here's what I thought: I thought the decor was kind of cute. I really did feel like I was in a red sauce place in Bensonhurst, circa 1973. The service was very attentive. Our group leader had been there many times and ordered ahead for our group. Since they knew we were from a Catholic Church, they giddily put us in "The Pope Room". Kid you not. So we get our drinks and get ready to eat. First out were pizzas. They were really very good. Margherita, pepperoni and a spicy sausage pie. I liked them and thought the crusts were delicious. I even liked the presentation of the pizza pan on the large cans of tomatoes. Then they brought out a chopped antipasto salad which was really better than good. Quite tasty and fresh. Then came a Caesar salad which was my first red flag. 6 or 7 anchovies were served on a plate on the side - that was out of my reach :( -and there was hardly any parmesan on the salad. So basically a lemon garlic dressing. Very disappointing. Then came a ton of mediocre, over-salted food. The spagetti and meatballs was the worst dish. Dried out pasta served under gi-normous meatballs that were so salty and garlicky I couldn't eat more than a few bites. The eggplant was sliced very thin and was also dry and too salty. I didn't mind the ravioli and thought the filling had good flavor and a nice texture. The chicken marsala that everyone raved about tasted like it had an artificial sweetener in it??? There were some other dishes that I didn't even bother to try. Oh brother. My nona must have been spinning in her grave. But the place was packed and the servers were sweet. Who am I to say?

                                  2. I don't really care for chains, but Buca is one of my exceptions. I really like their thin crust Margherita pizzas, as some of the others have mentioned. I've had other dishes, but I generally go back to their pizza. And compared to Olive Garden, they're steps above IMHO--but that's just MY personal taste.

                                    As for the $10 off, I got mine via email, since I registered on their website (like I said, I really like their Margherita pizzas).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: OCAnn

                                      Turns out my $10 off wasn't for $10 off. It was a "buy a Mio, get a Mio free" discount. So last night, I got the Mios to go...I had the veal parmi & Mr OCAnn got the lasagna. Both had the exact same red tomato sauce which was meh. The veal itself was fine, but the lasagna was plain and flavourless. In the past, I've had chicken dishes which were slightly better, but I think @ Buca's the only thing really worth ordering is the pizzas...and only if you like thin-crust pizzas.

                                      The Mios, btw, are about $3 less than the full-sized versions.