I had heard about Buca di Beppo from several friends who touted it as having a warm atmosphere, great food, and large food portions. I was told to bring friends, as the large portions suit a group of people and allow you to sample several dishes rather than just one. Based on this, I went with a couple friends and my young daughter.
The eclectic collection of pictures on the walls gave an unlimited amount of conversational topics and the delicious smells added to the overall feel of a cozy place to relax and unwind. Ordering consisted of choosing a dish and then deciding the portion size, large or small. As there were only four of us, one of whom was sharing my food, we opted for the small portions.
We decided upon some garlic bread as an appetizer, and then the chicken saltimbocca and the stuffed shells (which our waitress warned us was slightly spicy) for entrees. Finishing off the meal was tiramisu for dessert.
The garlic bread was brought in a short time, allowing us to munch for a bit before the main course arrived. It was warm and cheesy, toasted just enough to give some crisp in the bite but not overcooking the cheese. There was however, a noticeable lack of garlic.
The stuffed shells and chicken saltimbocca arrived, both with six portions to a platter, which was the perfect amount of food for our small group. The stuffed shells were cooked to perfection, the very definition of al dente, and had a homemade (rather than store bought) taste to them. The spicy flavor that our waitress had warned us of was the Italian sausage which was a welcome burst of flavor amidst the cheese stuffing.
The chicken saltimbocca was a subtle collection of flavors which was enhanced by the artichoke hearts. Both the chicken and the artichokes were well cooked, with a nice texture that danced throughout your mouth, rather than lumping up or coating everything.
Lastly, we ordered a serving of tiramisu for dessert. A single order of this was all that was needed as it came in a porridge sized bowl and was more than enough for all of us and a carry home portion as well. I was positively assaulted by the rum and espresso flavors which left no doubt as to what I was delving into. This was an excellent ending to a good meal.
Overall, I was very pleased with the meal, atmosphere, and service that Buca di Beppo offered.