Buca di Beppo – Livonia, Michigan
We’re really going out on a limb here, reviewing a chain, but we just can’t resist. We’ve visited multiple locations and Buca di Beppo has always held a special appeal for us, ever since we first sat at their inside-the-kitchen table in Livonia. Buca serves the vast majority of your traditional Italian specialties in a family style that will leave parties of two beyond stuffed with leftovers to spare. Their mammoth portions are most definitely intended to be shared amongst a group of four or more. The celebratory atmosphere of their main dining rooms comes across as somewhat more genuine than most of your flair-heavy national franchises and certainly matches the indulgent to gluttonous serving sizes. Italo-American oriented decor fills every spare inch of the interior, with nearly every location prominently displaying this classic and hilarious 1957 photograph of Sophia Loren eyeing Jayne Mansfield’s cleavage. Yay!
Enjoy a simple and delicious bread service for your first course and then move on to their spectacular version of the classic antipasto salad that’s more meat, olives and cheese than actual lettuce. The greens are a nice 50/50 split of iceberg and romaine tossed in an appropriately simple vinaigrette.
Our list of recommended appetizers includes their Cheesy Bread Florentine, prosciutto Stuffed Mushrooms with pesto cream sauce, Bruschetta and Shrimp Fonduta. If you’re dining with a large party try the Buca Trio Platter with Calimari, Fried Mozzarella and four of the aforementioned Stuffed Mushrooms.
Buca’s exhaustive roster of family sized entrees leaves us short of space. We believe ordering one of everything over the course of multiple visits is an excellent plan. Some of our favorites among their tantalizing smorgasbord of choices: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Carbonara, Linguini Frutti di Mare, Chicken Limone, Spicy Chicken Rigatoni, Oven Roasted Salmon, Veal Saltimbocca and, of course, pizza. No Italian joint is complete without pizza and we recommend their Four-Cheese pie. Large parties will enjoy a combination platter by the name of “Quatro al Forno” which includes four of Buca’s best baked pastas: Cheese Manicotti, Chicken Cannelloni, Ravioli al Pomodoro and Stuffed Shells.
Now that your adequately stuffed, go over the top like Stallone with a decadent slice of Homemade Cheesecake or share the Colossal Brownie Sundae with your party of three or more. For authenticity’s sake, pair any appetizer, entree or dessert we’ve mentioned here with a bottle of Peroni Italian Beer. Eat and drink it all!
Buca di Beppo of Livonia is located at 38888 Six Mile Road, just west of I-275. There’s a second Metro Detroit restaurant in Utica at 12575 Hall Road just east of M-53, and though we haven’t dined there, the consistency of our experiences at Buca of Scottsdale, Arizona and their former location in Downtown Birmingham leave us confident in making a general recommendation of their other 84 locations nationwide. ~I♥DM