Alright, so most of us know what to expect when we head to Buca’s. So read this review with a smile, because dining at this restaurant is as much about the meal as it is about the experience. If you have never been to a Buca Di Beppo, prepare yourself for a noisy restaurant, strange decorations, and loud Italian music. However, don’t be discouraged, you are going to have a great time. Just prepare yourself prior to being seated. May I suggest a glass of red wine?
Located on Van Buren Street in downtown Milwaukee, Buca’s will almost always draw a crowd and provide for a very entertaining meal. It is important to have reasonable expectations when headed to this restaurant. If you are looking for a quiet, romantic evening, this might not be the right spot. However, if you are looking for a fun, lively night with some family style Italian food, this is the place to go.
The bar is a fun spot to have a drink, however it can get a little tight, especially on weekends. Make no mistake, this is still one of the most popular and crowded restaurants in the city.
The menu is located on the wall, which makes perfect sense. The couple of visits we made were on the weekend, and it was very crowded. However, despite the crowds, the food did not take an inordinate amount of time. For appetizers, we went with the Fried Mozzarella ($11.00) and the Mozzarella Garlic Bread ($8.00). Now, those prices might seem a bit steep, but remember we are talking family sized portions for everything.
For dinner we tried several large entrees. My personal favorite was the Penne Arrabiata ($19.00 for the small). This is pasta served with Italian Sausage, red pepper flakes, and the traditional marinara sauce. It has a great kick and is a fun way to spice up the traditional spaghetti. Our table also ordered the famous Spaghetti and Meatballs. This dish is well known if you have stopped by a Buca’s restaurant before because of the sheer enormity of the meatball. According to the waiter, these things come in a half a pound each. We ordered a small entree ($19.00) and we had three of these on our pasta. They look about the size of a baseball, but they are much better tasting. Finally, we had to try the Chicken Parmigiana ($19.99). The chicken was very well cooked and had a nice crispy coat. Marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese made this the perfect comfort food.
On only one of our visits did we actually save room for dessert. We tried the Tiramisu ($11.00) and it is again, meant for sharing. It was the perfect way to end a fun meal and like the rest of the food, required a box to take home. I will also say this, Buca’s tastes just as good day two as it does as the restaurant!
Also, just to point out. If you are in the mood for some Buca’s but don’t want to dine in, they offer a great carry out service and the portion sizes are the exact same. Trust us, you still get family sized portions if you order take-out.
This is just a good spot if you are looking to have a fun night out. I would not rate this the highest quality Italian food in the city, but it is certainly very well prepared. The food is all standard Italian fare and the atmosphere is borderline cheesy, but that is why you want to go. Take the family, some friends, be noisy and have some Italian food. Does it get any more fun than that?