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Buca Di Beppo lost an Italian Füd Trial versus Gaspare's

Buca Di Beppo
855 Howard Street/4th Street, SF
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Pretrial hearing at the bar


We kind of fell into this one. Our Buca trip over the weekend was not scheduled as a legitimate Füd Court session but as we stood at the bar getting going on the inhumanly tall beers and inhumanly cold red wine, we figured what the hell. 17 extra judges was a bit absurd, but so is everything at Buca di Beppo. The Buca's more about atmosphere and comraderie than it is about judicious food tasting. Johnny Reno was the honorary judge for the evening, I suppose, seeing as it was his birthday and he sat in the throne. The Pope oversaw everything but he remained rather stoic in his glass box the entire time, so I don't know if he liked it or not. I did -- as much as you CAN like mass-produced Italian food. They do a good job, considering the quantities they're putting out there on the lazy Suze. Ultimately, I never end up CARING much either, because by the time that cold red wine comes around the Susan for the fifth time the food is hardly the issue -- getting home without falling down in a gutter is. I didn't.



Füd Court Incognito. We slipped in with a group of 18 for a party in the Pope Room. The atmosphere (at BDB) is always festive, and most of the senses get a workout at BDB. The food is hit or miss. I have my favorites, which were included in our huge order. Pep & pep pizza, caesar salad, chicken parm, and a new fave for me: side of meatballs. I'm convinced it's best to stay away from any and all pasta dishes. There just isn't anything special here. The chilled house wine is cheap and the way to go if you want to get liquored up. They do it family-style, so go with a large group to best be able to sample a variety of dishes, or be prepared to leave with a shopping bag full of leftovers.



Andy Sez: Andy

Buca sucks.

The Disneyland of Italian restaurants, Buca Di Beppo is a paradise of Bacchanalian delights. Well, no orgies that I know of, but everything else. The festive, kitsch atmosphere compliments the insanely huge portions of tasty food and free-flowing Chianti. It's all good. Definitely get the chicken saltimbocca, chicken parmagiana, and meatballs. The pizzas are tasty too. And I have to hand it to them, they are not stingy with the hot spices, which is kind of daring for a place targeting John Q. Public. It's amazing how good the food is considering the volume they churn out, aside from the fact that it's a chain. The pope room has to be reserved way ahead of time, but it's worth it if you have a large party. And you should have a large party, because the portions are humongous, and you WILL spend some dough. But it's la dolce vida at Buca Di Beppo, so live a little.






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