Post-holiday group dinner: Buca or tasting menu @ Campagnolo?
Hi everyone. I've been charged with booking a dinner for a group of 10 a couple of days after Christmas. Buca came up and I was ready to book, but have been finding it difficult to figure out whether to go for it.
We're all on different financial footings, so while it's a special occasion and everyone's fairly amenable to spending, I'd like to be able to tell people confidently how much things will cost and that they won't be hungry (at least!).
Several paper reviews indicate it's about $70 a person including wine, tax, and tip in 2009, although I've also seen more recent customer reviews saying it's higher (as much as $100?), and that portion size is problematic. I imagine most of us would each want a main, a dessert, share appetizers, and have a drink each, but would we need to order more beyond that? Of course we'd love just to be able to try a restaurant touted to be among the best Italian in Toronto, but I think many of us in the group also just want to have a satisfying meal among friends.
I'm also looking at Campagnolo, who told me they would serve their tasting menu for $50 a person (subtotal), and that for a party of our size, they'd be serving everything on their menu for us. Although the final price would not be far from $70 all in, it may be more interesting to have access to the whole menu, and the atmosphere is also more casual, which I think works a little better for our group.
Could anybody offer their experience and recommendations with Buca or the tasting menu at Campagnolo? If you went to Buca recently (past year), how much did you order, did it fill you, and how much was it a person?
Hm I would definitely go with Campagnolo over Buca. I had a good experience at Buca in terms of food adn service, but others have reported snobby service etc. The food at Campagnolo is far more interesting and delicious, and the service is very friendly and professional.
The trick at Buca is to get seated at a table served by the charming and handsome 30something waiters. I've only had attitude and mediocre service from one of the older 50somethingish waiters who seemed to be having a bad day.
I like Campagnolo, but I also like the fried pigs' ears, carpaccio and flatbreads at Buca. I don't order desserts at Buca. I like the space and vibe better at Buca.
Dinner at both restaurants have usually run around $45-$65/person, including tax and tip, not including wine, in my experience.
What Campagnolo is offering you sounds like a good deal for a group of 10.