258 South 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA | Directions 1910239.947818 -75.166339
Monday - Thursday: 11:30-10 Friday: 11:30-11:30 Saturday: 11:30-11:30 Sunday: 11:30-9
Neighborhoods: Center City, Rittenhouse Square
Worst dining experience in Philly – Where do I begin? I walked into this place because an out of town friend insisted we go before going to see a show. The first thing I notice is how tacky this place is with creepy photos all over the walls and the dark walls with no windows. Everything just looks dirty, dusty and grimy so of course I was nervous about the food. Our meals were not bad but the portions are just two big. I will say that the ½ pound meatballs have a dog food consistency. The service was mediocre at best and the whole experience was nothing like I expect from Center City restaurants. But when I looked the place up later I found out that it’s a chain. Go figure. Never heard of it and I’ve been to better chains. I told my friend that next time he comes to town if he’s dead set on Italian food lets go to La Viola just around the corner from Buca next time. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience in Philadelphia don’t even put this on the list for consideration. This city has way too many incredible restaurants to choose from. Can you think of any other restaurant in Center City where the wait staff wears dingy shirts and a tomato tie? Neither can I.
Get cozy with friends and family and enjoy an Italian feast at this loved-by-locals restaurant. – In Short
Homesick for your mother's Italian cooking? Grab your appetite and head to this restaurant, where the friendly wait staff will serve up portions of Colosseum-esque proportions, like spaghetti and meatballs loaded with savory tomato sauce and lots of pungent garlic. Dishes center on Southern Italian immigrant fare, and are meant to be shared family-style with a large goblet of wine-to enhance the taste, of course. The ornate décor with walls covered in vintage photos evokes a warm homey feel that welcomes customers to dine among the other families and loyal customers. Buon Appetito!
Spaghetti sauce was exceptional. – I really don't understand what all these whining people are talking about. No one goes to more restaurants than I do, especially Italian retaurants. This was our 4th trip to Philadelplhia in the last 10 years and we went here yesterday for the first time. We are from Long Island and go to many restaurants there and in Manhattan. We also did not know Buca's was a chain until we got home and looked it up online. I had walked out of an Olive Garden years ago, never to return. I wish we had a Buca di Beppo's near us here, although to be truthful, we have many one of a kind Italian restaurants we love. I used to go to Romano's Pasta grill, but it has gone downhill and I would not rush back. Our experience at Buca's was excellent from start to finish and the quality of the food and service was great. We would go back in a heartbeat, and until I have reason to complain, I would recommend this visually interesting establishment. As for the rest rooms, that someone was kvetching about, they were large, clean and well supplied. The wall decor was also appropriate for the surroundings, and very funny in some instances. After going to two other chain restaurants our first 2 nights, McCormick's and Schmick and Ruth's Chris' we found Buca's a nice change at a third of the price. This is my first review and the reason I joined citysearch. I just couldn't let these reviews stand without adding my 2 cents.
awful food and service – Well, I used to love this place. I first went about three years ago with my daughter and we had a great meal. I loved the attentive service and the good food and the campy decor that reminded me of something my Italian Grandmother (God bless her) would have dreamed of... Over the past three years, this place has REALLY gone downhill. Each time I visit, the service and the food get worse. Went tonight with my hubby and three kids. BAD service. Not sure where the waiter was half the time, as his section was not full. We didn't see him for 15 mintues at a time. He just disappeared, and the place was not busy. My son's pizza came out 15 minutes before the rest of our dinners. We were informed that the KITCHEN RAN OUT OF MEATBALLS (how does this happen in an Italian restaurant, I wonder? and no offer of subbing a sausage for the meatballs either...) and that was the hold up for my daughters's meals. BAD FOOD. Our fried fresh mozzarella was lukewarm and gross. Greasy. The penne arribiata I usually order was inedible. So much hot pepper my hubby and I were literally gagging. We love spicy and usually order this very dish when we dine at Buca di Beppo and IT WAS HORRIBLE. It tasted like the chef had accidentally spilled the bottle of crushed red pepper in our dish. We told the waiter at the end of the meal, not expecting much reaction, even though we only ate 1/4 of the small entree of this. Not sure he really cared. Then, to top it all off, my girls and I were going in the restroom at the end of the meal and a staff member was leaving as we were walking in. Half of the bathrooms had no toilet paper and there were no paper towels. How does a member of the staff miss that?? Anyway, I think we'll look for something a little more authentic and reasonable in South Philly for the days we head into the city with the kids. It's a shame... this place used to be OK, but the poor service and the bad food were really disappointing.
Good food for the price – Good food for not much money. The pizza was great and the seafood pasta was ok. The great thing is with $12-20 you could get a huge good meal for two+ beverage + tip.
For a student budget or hungry families this is a much better deal than going to Fridays, Applebees and the like...
Desserts are really good.
Gag me! – How can an italian only restaurant in philly be so bad?? Gross, oily food. The chicken with prosciutto and artichokes came with on artichoke QUARTER, ummm family style? How do you share that 6 ways? I've had better pasta from a can. What a waste, and it wasn't cheap either. Thank god the drinks were strong or we would have walked out.
In a word - yum! – Buca di beppo was a great find. Our party of 4 was seated promptly, even with no reservation on a Saturday night. Since it was the first visit for my fiance & I, we were treated to a walkthrough of the kitchen area, and all staff were super friendly. From start to finish our meal was teriffic. We ordered two "small" entrees for the table and everyone had plenty to eat. Food was colorful, aromatic & very flavorful. I was truly shocked when I later learned that this place was a chain. But don't let this sway you - this is no crappy Olive Garden, we're talking quality Italian in a fun setting.
User review by eirs9 – Poorly prepared food, obnoxious service and stereotypical italian decor. With so many excellent italian restaurants in Philadelphia, why was your time and money is this run of the mill chain restaurant. Amazingly, this 'family' restaurant could make no 'special provisions' for a child that didn't like tomato sauce and just wanted her ravioli plain. Holding the sauce on 4 or 5 ravioli's is too difficult for their master chefs?? This restaurant deserves to be in a suburban mall, not center city
Please don't eat here – Yeah the food along with everything else sucks. Just don't do it. Much better off going to Romano's Macaroni Grill. BAD, BAD, BAD. You know the food is bad when you don't eat it & would rather go home hungry. You could make better tasting food with a jar of Prego and a box of Macaroni!
WORST DINING EXPERIENCE EVER – We took our guests here after our wedding rehersal. We'd made reservations and pre-ordered the whole meal about a month in advance, but we were treated like intruders.
In spite of our reservation, we were assigned one server, that's one (1) server for 17 people. We basicly had our food and a few bottles of wine thrown at us and we had to fend for ourselves.
The gross incompetence and open hostility of the restaurant staff/ management were shocking and humiliating...reducing me to tears. My guests were horrified and so distracted by the constant drama that they were unable to enjoy their meal.
DON'T go here unless you have NO other options in the Philadelphia area. The mediocre food is NOT compensation enough for the hostile service and disorganized atmosphere. If you need an italian place that can accomidate large groups of people- just go to Bertucci's down the street.
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