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Buca di Beppo favorites?

Went there last night. We had the Frutti di Mare, Penne Rustica, Spicy Chicken Rigatoni, Veal something (I forget), and Apple gorgonzola salad. It was all yummy. It was expensive for just pasta, IMHO, but it was tasty.

What are your favorites?

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  1. For some reason, all of their dishes sort of taste the same to me.

    7 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      I was going to say was Ipsedixit said.

      My favorite? Whatever is being served next door....

      1. re: ipsedixit

        Agreed, expensive sameness, not much to really get excited about.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Of course it all tastes the same! They douse every non-dessert food item in that omnipresent red sauce (is it supposed to be "marinara"?) that, every time I've been subjected to a BdB, has been burnt.

          Burnt red sauce makes faux-Italian food pretty much inedible. And you get huge portions of inedible faux-Italian food. You feel cheated, no matter how cheap the buckets of slop are.

          Any given neighborhood in the U.S. will have a mom-and-pop Italian-American joint that will run circles around BdB. Find it, spend your money there, buy local. Your stomach will thank you.

          1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

            You're making the false syllogism that just because an eatery is a mom & pop, it has to be good. I have lost track of the lousy small Italian joints I've had the misfortune to eat in. It's gotten to the point that many in my neck of the woods are dying off, replaced by upscale Italian joints that are trying to out precious the next guy. Buca is by no means a culinary destination, but as far as chain Italian goes, it's been more consistent and less lousy than Olive Garden, Maggianos, Macaroni Grill, etc. in other words they're the Tallest Midget in the World.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Wrong. I've also had bad grub at mom-'n'-pop joints over the years. But I still maintain that it is possible to find at least one good one in any neighborhood in north America. And chances are good that that place is a southern Italian/Sicilian specialist.

              I'm a bit spoiled; all the upscale Italian joints in my town avoid preciousness and pretentiousness and just turn out incredibly good food. We leave the pretense to the pricey places up in LA or Beverly Hills or Santa Monica or West Hollywood. We're too cheap, don't you know. Still, I spend my money wisely. I don't go to BdB, and I don't darken the doorways of Claim Jumpers, even given pretty damn tasty desserts.

              1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                "But I still maintain that it is possible to find at least one good one in any neighborhood in north America."

                Ha. You need to come to my neighborhood. The vast majority of the local places are HORRID. There are a few exceptions, but one gets tired of going to the same spots over and over. There are literally probably 50 places in a 5 mile radius from where I live that have the cheapest, nastiest food you can imagine; a BW3 would be a step above.

            2. re: rjw_lgb_ca

              It's not so much that I dislike Buca di Beppo. It's just that I think everything there sort of tastes the same.

          2. Ignore the haters. It is what it is, competent chain Italian American food, which is more than I can say for a lot of boutique upscale "most authentic" eateries. Their meatballs are pretty decent, but their sausage is actually really tasty.

            5 Replies
            1. re: monkeyrotica

              Exactly! It is considerably better than Olive Garden and, given the enormous portion, I don't think it is too expensive.

              1. re: mucho gordo

                Or Macaroni Grill for that matter. You might say their secret ingredient is salt.

                1. re: monkeyrotica

                  You might but, my taste buds are at the point where it would take an inordinate amount of salt for me to notice it.

                  1. re: monkeyrotica

                    I read that Macaroni grill is in bankruptcy and closed at least 4 of its restaurants in the Pacific Northwest last week.

                    1. re: FoodDee

                      Interesting. The founder is the same guy who started Fuddruckers, which just emerged from bankruptcy.

              2. It's been a long time since my last BdB visit - our local stores all closed a few years ago - I can't remember what I ordered. I just remember it was tasty.

                1. I haven't eaten there in about 12 years, but when I did, I remember eating linguine with clam sauce and it was decent and not too salty.

                  1. It's very decent Italian food. Is it "gourmet"? No, but it's red-sauce Italian food, and decently done. The last time I went, I had chicken marsala and cheese manicotti (family style) and both were perfectly fine, well priced, ample servings. Pasta is decently cooked, sauce is tasty. No complaints. The only thing I've had there that I'd avoid is the chicken limone, which was literally chicken in lemon juice with capers -- mouth-puckeringly sour.

                    1. I haven't been to one in years, but I fondly remember their Chicken Cacciatore with garlic mashed potatoes. Just peeked at their online menu and it is gone. :(