It had been ten years since we dined at Buca Di Beppo, a fun and lively Italian restaurant in South Lake Union. My husband's birthday was coming up and he happened to receive a birthday gift card in the mail for $20 off when you spend $40 at Buca Di Beppo. I seemed like as good as time as any to use it, so we went for it. We weren't aware that two years ago they moved a block away. So when we drove up to the place it looked totally shut down. It was Google to the rescue though, and it directed us to the correct location. Parking is a real bugger in the area, and you will not only pay to park but may have to walk several blocks. Which may be a good thing depending on how much Italian food you consume during your meal.
The new location, or at least new to us, seemed a little less "nonnie's italian cocina" and more "all of the Amazon guys gotta eat somewhere". I liked the old place because of the tour through the kitchen and even the table in the kitchen for that lucky diner. It seemed to have a bit more character. But then I found out about the upstairs at their new spot, and then I understood why they may have moved. The upstairs space was huge. It's a little more modern with a nice fireplace and even views of South Lake Union. Since we went for a weekday lunch, the upstairs was closed. But the hosts allowed us to go up and check it out. And luckily, they kept all of the pictures and the little knickknacks that make the space special.
Our service was a little slow a first, but once she got the ball moving, it was all good. The restaurant is geared toward celebrations and big groups, so the food is best served family style. The food is more quantity than quality, and is typical Italian you'll find here in the states. They really focus more on drinks, desserts, and making sure diners are having a fun time.
I ordered a Red Sangria and my husband, a beer. Our family all shared an order of the Mozzarella Garlic Bread. It arrived in a basket with a lot of pieces and was nice and cheesy. Our sons shared the kids' spaghetti and meatball but without the marinara sauce. I asked for butter on the noodles, but they arrived without any. There was parmesan cheese on the table, so I just dumped some of that on their pasta, added some salt, and called it a day.
Unfortunately for me they were out of Lasagna, so I went with the Flatbread Pizza. It had pepperoni, sausage, peppers, and onions, and a nice amount of cheese. My husband had a side salad and the Fettuccini Pasta. He liked the pasta, but it didn't really hit it out of the park flavor wise for him. Everything wasn't perfect, but our server was really nice. She took group photos of us at our table and then surprised my husband with a scoop of ice cream and a candle. We didn't request it and my husband's not into that, but he was a good sport and seemed to enjoy it anyway.
If you're interested in visiting Buca Di Beppo, I recommend going in the evening with a big group and making a reservation to sit upstairs. Beware that it's a little on the pricey side for the quality of Italian food. But they have a cool table upstairs with a chair like a king or queen sits in, so all of that may be worth it...