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September 12, 2017

REVIEW: Buca di Beppo - New Location at Celebration


If you have been a ComeSeeOrlando fan since the beginning, you may have caught my previous article on how to do Christmas, Italian-style at Buca di Beppo. Way back then (in 2013), I was reporting on a South Florida location, and hoping we had one closer than we did here in Central Florida (Maitland). Well, it seems that the Buca gods heard my plea, because they recently decided to grace us with a brand new location in Celebration, just minutes from my home. I don't think I've ever been so happy to have such a tempting assortment of calories so accessible, but I would gladly accept a few additional pounds for this! (Don't judge... there's a big menu to work through, after all. It's my duty!)


When dealing with a chain or franchise, consistency is key. Buca di Beppo has locations in 25 U.S. states, and Washington D.C, along with International (UK and UAE) locations as well. Although my experience with Buca is limited to Florida thus far, I can confidently say that consistency is not a worry here. I cannot be convinced that a coincidental fluke is to credit for the next-level deliciousness that goes on at Buca... and it simply can't be duplicated without some sort of precision in the process. Keep in mind, I've been spoiled by the most authentic Italian cuisine this side of Italy (the little grandma in the kitchen with the wooden spoon and her table wine, prepping Sunday dinner for a couple dozen... no big deal, right?), so I'm destined to be a very harsh critic. My cynical side wants to find fault with Buca di Beppo so I can push for that 'at-home' quality, but I can't seem to find a legitimate way to criticize... sorry, Grandma Rose. (Who am I kidding? She loved Buca, too!)


I jumped into good a little quickly there. I'd be grossly negligent if I failed to mention the atmosphere and setting at a Buca di Beppo location, so let's backtrack for just a moment to touch on that! The ambience pushes that authenticity a little further, and you just have to love that attention to detail. Everything from the tablecloths to the wall decor just FEELS like a cozy Italian family dining room in the most fabulously stereotypical way. Have you ever been to Cracker Barrel? The way they do southern charm is on par with how Buca does Italy! All the way down to the staff - it just feels like home... like family.


Speaking of family, this is one place where it's always better to bring the whole clan along. Sure, just about any restaurant will do all they can to accommodate any sized party, but they can't all really handle it. At Buca di Beppo - it's their specialty! No worries about staggered food delivery or mixed-up orders! One of the reasons that Buca is able to perfect this is their "family-style" serving method. Menu items are available in Buca Small and Buca Large options. Buca Small serves up to three people, while Buca Large serves up to five.

You really can't go wrong with this menu. There isn't anything I've had at Buca that I wouldn't enthusiastically recommend. (I'd even recommend the eggplant parm, and that is something that NO ONE can get right!) This time, we tried an entree that we hadn't had here before, but we did stick with a couple favorites as well. We started off with a carafe of sangria - something else we hadn't yet had at Buca. I've become quite the sangria connoisseur after discovering a love for it this year, and this was a fabulous example to add to my checklist. Quite potent, and very tasty!


We were just as content with our edible path on this journey as well. Though they have the greatest fried mozzarella, we opted for the mini meatballs this time around. They come bathed in the zestiest sauce - perfect to prime your palate for the main course. By the way - maybe it's only truly possible to appreciate this is you're Italian (or married to one), but these are meatballs made RIGHT... multiple cheeses and multiple meats, not packed too tight like a rock - perfect! As for the entree, we decided to try the prosciutto stuffed chicken. Anything that combines mozzarella and prosciutto is a good thing, and top with an incredible, creamy pesto sauce? Yes, please! It is every bit as good as it sounds. We paired this with the fettuccine alfredo, which is always a hit with us. It feels a little wrong to combine a red-sauce entree with a white-sauce pasta side, but wrong in the most justified way. I have issues with sauce indecisiveness at Buca, so right or wrong - I did it my way! We didn't manage to find the ability to squeeze in dessert this time, but I couldn't deprive you of what we had to regretfully turn away. Feast your eyes on the dessert menu...


The tiramisu, and the cheesecake.... personal favorites. Even if you have to return for a dessert-for-dinner cheat night, you need to try these. (I really had to fight the urge to push myself into the binge... these items are so hard to refuse!!)

If you've been looking for a Buca di Beppo on the Osceola end of the Orlando-region - or if you didn't know this was exactly what you're looking for the next time you crave real Italian cuisine - check out the fresh new Buca in Celebration. Of course, you can seek our other locations or just find out more about Buca di Beppo on their official website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram