Buca di Beppo is a chain restaurant with good Italian food. I got a free gift card in the mail so I decided to try it out. All dining is meant to be done family style with huge portions. Small portions serve 2-3 people and large portions serve 4-6. This is a good place if you are going out with a big group of people.
The dining rooms are festive and decorated with all kinds of interesting photos and Italian things. Service is good but not the quickest. Food is reasonably priced - you get a ton of food for your money, but remember it is also meant to be family style.
Overall, it is good but there is much much better truly authentic Italian food in this city than Buca di Beppo. As far as upscale Italian chain restaurants I still prefer Maggiano's Little Italy.
Valet parking is available. Hours are:
Mon - Fri 11:30am - 2:00pm
Sat & Sun 12:00pm - 4:00pm
Mon - Thur 5:00pm - 10:00pm
Fri 5:00pm - 11:00pm
Sat 4:00pm - 11:00pm
Sun 4:00pm - 9:00pm
Favorite Dish: We split the Chicken Parmigiana (with prosciutto) and the Linguine Frutti di Mare. The chicken was very good - I really liked the marinara sauce. The linguine was also good. It had mussels, clams, shrimp, and calamari with a red sauce.
We were too stuffed for dessert but whatever the next table was having looked great.
My wife and I ate lunch here while waiting on about 8 friends to arrive into town. Its conveniently locate near Michigan but is quite a bit less busy. The service and people watching are the reasons to go here.
Sit down and have a glass of wine and lunch.
Favorite Dish: I don't recall the name, just ask for the spicy sausage dish that will melt your face. You may want to order a gallon of water just to be on the safe side. Excellent if you like the spicier side of life.
This restaurant is a tradition in Chi town. The food is exceptional!!!.... Be warned though.... the medium sized meals are enough for 2 people.. that is 1 dish to share between 2.
Its a must do when in Chicago.
Favorite Dish: Everything!
Buca posts its menu on the wall in each of their small dining rooms--it's much more fun that way! So if you're planning ahead, here's the menu at their Wheeling, IL location.
Favorite Dish: See above Buca di Beppo tip for my commentary.
This place is really in a class of its own. Its northern Italian cuisine is served mostly family style (one entree will feed two to three, with leftovers guaranteed!), and everything I've tried is superb.
The atmosphere itself is worth going for--the walls are covered with retro and "old country" photos, ads, etc., loud Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin music plays on the speakers, and the placemats are big enough for two plates! :)
They do have "dinners for two" available for those who aren't there in large groups. But try to save room for dessert--the chocolate cannoli is fabulous!
Buca is actually a chain, but locations are limited. There are a few locations around Chicagoland, including downtown--check out their website.
Favorite Dish: Dessert: Chocolate Cannoli -- three (yes, three) cannoli served in a pool of thick chocolate sauce.
Main course: Manicotti--just the right texture, fresh tomato sauce, and scrumptious filling!
Appetizer: Garlic bread--focaccia-style bread smothered in sliced garlic--enough to keep you "aromatic" for a day or two!
Italian food served family style. A quality place for groups to go and enjoy a night out. If you have at least 10 people, you can request the Pope's Room. It's a room with a glass encased pope in the center of a lazy susan. A great laugh the first time you see it.
Favorite Dish: The sausage appetizer was quite spicy, which I like. Everything was good quality so you can't go wrong.
While I haven't been inside this Buca yet, I've been to the store in suburban Wheeling (see my other restaurant tip for that one), and I'm sure this one is just as good!