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Excellent Northern Italian on Cape Cod

At the suggestion of the staff of the B & B at which we were staying on the Cape (Captain's House Inn, Chatham..see my review on TripAdvisor), my wife and I went to Buca's Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich for a fine meal to celebrate a special occasion. In a small house right on Rte 28 near the Chatham/Harwich line, Buca's presents a warm, welcoming, tastefully decorated aspect inside and out. It consists of a small cozy dining room (maybe a dozen or so booths and tables) and a separate bar area. They seated us in a booth in an alcove (almost like a short corridor) that ran between the dining room and the bar area. At first I was concerned that they were sticking us in the bar when I really wanted a more "formal" experience. After all, you don't celebrate your 38th anniversary in a bar It turned out that they really did us a favor. Even though the single booth in this little nook has a view into the (very pleasant) bar area, it truly is the most secluded spot in the restaurant and was, that night, insulated from several groups enjoying holiday parties in the small dining room. The wait staff was friendly (without being overly familiar) and attentive (without being intrusive). The menu is extensive having a regular menu, a winter specials menus and a menu with specials of the day. It made it hard to select, but select we did and a good job of it we did. I started with "lattuga rumania ala Griglia", a salad of grilled romaine lettuce, lemon gorgonzola vinaigrette and tuscan croutons. My entree was "sole invernale", pan fried sole with roasted almonds, peas, basil and roasted garlic topped with a preserved lemon fennel butter sauce,all over fresh pappardelle pasta. Surprisingly, all the ingredients went perfectly together to create dish that was incredibly favorable yet subtle enough to let the freshness and flavor of the fish shine through. My wife had bruschetta (fairly standard fare, but perfectly prepared), followed by "pasta carbonara alle Buca". This was fresh tagliatelle pasta, egg, applewood smoked bacon peccorino romano cheese and pancetta. Unlike your usual heavily creamy carbonara sauce, this sauce coated the pasta with a light glaze, enhancing rather than hiding the pasta's freshness. For dessert, I had a dish of honey gelato. Intense, but not cloyingly sweet, it was the right end to a fine meal. From now on, Buca's will be our "go-to" restaurant whenever we're lucky enough to get back to the Cape.

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Bucas Tuscan Roadhouse
4 Depot Rd, Harwich, MA 02645

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  1. great review..I cannot wait to go ..I have read spotty reviews...it's time to make my own decision...Ciclista, our next spot??

    10 Replies
    1. re: mrwynter

      Yes, terrific review. I have also heard very mixed feelings about Buca's so perhaps consistency is an issue. Like mrwynter, it's far time I decide for myself!

      1. re: mrwynter

        Sí, our next spot! I have eaten there and liked it, but it was years ago. Now it's in my 'hood!

        1. re: ciclista

          Looking forward to your reviews. My husband used to work in Italy, and we've been traveling there for over 20 years. We're looking for that definitive "go-to" place (other than our own kitchen). Our last visits at Fazio's Trattoria and Caffe Dolci were o.k., but nothing special, which leaves Alberto's as our present local favorite. It's not particularly authentic, but the food is pretty good.

          Anyone been to Nauset Beach Club recently? I'm in West Barnstable, so it's not exactly a neighborhood spot, but I've enjoyed meals there when I've been in the Orleans area.

          1. re: lisaonthecape

            I like Alberto's as well. Tomatoe's in Sandwich is also worth patronizing. But, if you're looking for authentic Italian fare you owe it to yourself to take the trip to Falmouth Center and try Osteria La Civetta. Take a gander at the menu here....

            http://www.osterialacivetta.com/home....

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                We're finally heading to La Civetta this weekend and will keep you (and other CHers) posted. Bistro 36 looked interesting, too. That might be our next try. I spent three years in Boston while in graduate school, and I agree that dining on the Cape can be pretty dismal by comparison.

                1. re: lisaonthecape

                  the challenge this time of year is everything is closed...

                  1. re: lisaonthecape

                    Following a suggestion from CapeCodGuy, my husband and I had dinner last night at Osteria La Civetta. We've been looking for something authentically Italian, rather than Italian-American, and we were pleased with the menu. "Italian" cooking is, of course, intensely regional, and the choices here focused mostly on the Emilia-Romagna area (though not exclusively--the offerings included the classic Roman dish, bucatini all'amatriciana). We shared a starter of salumi and cheese, which was certainly better than supermarket quality, and especially liked the mortadella, sliced paper-thin. Next, we each sampled pasta--Tortelloni di Zucca for me and Tagliatelle Paglia e Fieno for my husband. My pasta could have been rolled a bit thinner; it wasn't as delicate as you might find in Italy, although the filling was delicious, and it was perfectly sauced with butter and sage. My husband liked the contrast of the smoky pancetta and the bite of radicchio with the cream sauce on his pasta. We shared a secondo, Involtini di Pollo. The chicken cutlets were wrapped in pancetta, which kept them moist and flavorful. Again, the sauce was delicate and light in keeping with true Italian cuisine. We couldn't manage a dessert and finished with cordials and espresso instead. Altogether, not perfect, but very good. We'll definitely be back.

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                    Osteria La Civetta
                    133 Main St, Falmouth, MA 02540

                    1. re: lisaonthecape

                      Nice report. Thanks for the post. Glad you enjoyed it.

                2. re: lisaonthecape

                  I've been to the Nauset Beach Club many times over the years, and it has been consistently excellent.

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                  Nauset Beach Club Restaurant
                  222 Main St, Orleans, MA 02653