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Bucci's -- What a Gem [Emeryville]

TopoTail Feb 21, 2012 08:03 PM

When I'm not eating with my wife for one reason or another, I usually seem to find myself at the counter at Bucci's. Every time I go there I tell myself I'm going to get something other than the margherita pizza, which, in my book, is second only to Delfino's, though of a very different style. This time, I finally resisted the allure of the margherita. I ordered a Ceasar salad and Antipasti plate.

The salad (okay, I have had that before) uses nicely chilled, quality romano with garlic croutons, a lemon/anchovy dressing and shavings of parmesan.

The antipasto plate included grilled lamb with charmoula, tuna confit with a Meyer lemon salsa, mussels escabeche, grilled eggplant with balsamic, and a caprese salad in the middle. What a wonderful assortment of quality ingredients with deft spicing. The tuna was the star of the plate, with the lamb a close second. The escabeche sauce with the mussels was great for dipping a crust of bread.

The only disappointment was the winter tomatoes in the caprese. (And I should add that I'm not especially fond of the bread they serve, or the very salty olives.)

But all in all, Bucci's is a gem. The service is always friendly, the prices reasonable, the food excellent.

  1. s
    sundeck sue Jan 30, 2014 09:36 AM

    Not sure I'm getting this thread. Maybe time to give it another try?

    I've eaten there a couple times and thought that for the kind of place it is, the atmosphere was pleasant, but nothing was all that good.

    There are so many places at a similar price point with a similar neighborhood vibe that are better. Realize it's a different menu/cuisine, but if I want a down home dinner in Emeryville, I'll head for The Townhouse instead.

    De gustibus…. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: sundeck sue
      Robert Lauriston Jan 30, 2014 09:43 AM

      The east and south walls of Bucci's are mostly glass, so it has a very airy and open feeling, at least before dark.

      Though now I might be more likely to go to Hot Italian.

    2. 5
      510jeff Jan 28, 2014 10:52 PM

      I was underwhelmed by a recent visit for dinner. I suppose I had very high expectations from good distant memories. The salads were the standout. We had the butter lettuce & the spinach - very fresh, well dressed and large. I did not like the pizza margherita though the ingredients were top notch the soggy middle detracted from the pie. My entree mahi mahi lacked flavor - though potion large, fish fresh. & well cooked. Choc. Pot de creme excellent finish & big enough to split.

      4 Replies
      1. re: 510jeff
        Robert Lauriston Jan 29, 2014 08:55 AM

        The soggy / raw middle is a longstanding issue.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          bbulkow Jan 29, 2014 10:31 PM

          Is this the same Neopolitan pizza thing where it should be uncut and eaten with knife and fork from the edge, or something rawer ?

          1. re: bbulkow
            Robert Lauriston Jan 30, 2014 09:21 AM

            It's not that.

            Generally the food's very good and reasonably priced, and the atmosphere is very pleasant. It's a neighborhood institution.

        2. re: 510jeff
          Malcolm Ruthven Jan 29, 2014 09:18 PM

          I'll chime in here to say that I've eaten at Bucci's many times over the years since about the time they opened. I've always enjoyed the food and ambiance and it's still one of my favorite places. Nothing cutting edge and I've never had the pizza, but always really enjoyed the food, wine, the place itself, and their reasonable prices.

        3. escargot3 Feb 22, 2012 09:25 AM

          I'd like to add that in addition to top notch cooking, and a lovely ambience, there's more than ample parking (at least at nite).

          they also have a side room that's great for small parties.

          1. r
            Rapini Feb 21, 2012 09:13 PM

            I go there only once or twice a year, but enjoy it every time. At a recent lunch, my server mentioned that the place is celebrating its 25th year (IIRC) of consistently good food and service. I agree that it's a gem.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Rapini
              Windy Feb 21, 2012 10:20 PM

              I remember eating there when they first opened in 1990 or 1991, one of the first "fancy" restaurants in that neighborhood, along with the Townhouse. Sounds like it's time for a return visit.

              Edited: Their website says 1988, along with a lot of fun history:

            2. g
              gordon wing Feb 21, 2012 09:11 PM

              It's not totally surprising that the winter tomatoes didn't deliver .... what is surprising is that places would have it on their menu at all when tomatoes are not at their best. the antipasto plate sounds very interesting.

              1. p
                poser Feb 21, 2012 08:16 PM

                And this place is where?

                1 Reply
                1. re: poser
                  rworange Feb 21, 2012 08:43 PM


                  Address and website

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