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Buca di Beppo's family-style Italian menu means big flavor
It may be one of the most recognizable restaurants in the country, a family pleaser with something for everyone, but remember: This is Las Vegas. Is this Buca di Beppo experience going to stand out? It’s a safe bet.
There are three Buca locations in Las Vegas, including restaurants just east of the Strip on Paradise Road and close to the Summerlin neighborhood on the west side of the valley. But for the most Vegas-fied version, head to the promenade level of that gleaming castle on the Strip, Excalibur. Here you’ll find a bar with an all-day, every-day happy hour ($2 domestic beers and $5 wine and cocktails), a decidedly more festive atmosphere and the classic Italian-American entrées that have served as the bedrock of our favorite family meal for decades.
This expansive establishment offers a variety of environments, from that holiday-vibe bar and a classic trattoria-style space in the front of the restaurant to cozy, big booths in the boisterous back hall. The circular, celebratory Pope’s Table room, which seats 14, is the hot spot for groups looking for a warm, familiar experience amid the glitz and glamour of noisy Vegas.
Another consideration: Since you’re doing Buca Vegas-style, why not upgrade from your standards? Garlic bread is a given, but it’s the right time and place to go big with cheesy bread Florentine, fresh-from-the-oven crispiness topped with Parmesan, provolone and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, tomatoes, garlic and Alfredo sauce. Mouth watering yet? The antipasti trio platter is a must, with fried calamari, mozzarella and stuffed mushrooms. For a starter that’s lighter in mass but not in flavor, mussels Bianca are steamed, succulent bites with a white wine and garlic-butter broth. Good thing you’ve got that bread to sop up the leftover juice from this great dish.
Buca Di Beppo
After a big, shareable bowl of 1893 salad—sparked with pepperoni, pepperoncini, cucumbers, roasted peppers, kalamata olives and feta cheese—you’re ready for the main events: bring on the pastas and the parms. Baked noodle dishes like lasagna and rosa sauce studded with ziti are hearty favorites, while those in need of a spicy kick favor penne arrabbiata with sausage or the red pepper-flecked shrimp fra diavolo. Ready to graduate from that crispy chicken coated with marinara and melted cheese? The saltimbocca adds a lemon-butter-sage sauce to poultry topped with prosciutto, artichoke hearts and capers, resulting in a memorable blast of savory flavors. Recent additions to the menu include rigatoni positano, chicken breast tossed in marinara, cavatappi Puglia, Italian sausage with sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper in a cream sauce, and penne al forno, which bakes sausage, prosciutto and pepperoni with marinara and ricotta.
Options are great, but if you’re in the mood, you need not stray from those beloved classics: veal parmigiana or marsala; crispy bread crumb-coated eggplant saturated in rich, sweet marinara sauce; mild or spicy sausage and
peppers; and even solid pizzas to pass around your table. With that beautiful half-pound meatball calling your name, it might be a struggle to save room for multicolored celebration cake, velvety tiramisu or six-layer lemon crème cake with mascarpone cheese filling and raspberry sauce. But ask yourself: In Vegas or anywhere else, is your Buca di Beppo visit complete without at least indulging in a cannoli?
Go ahead ... take the cannoli.
Excalibur, 10:30 a.m.-midnight Sun.-Wed., 10:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Thurs.-Sat. 702.795.1010
Additional locations at 7690 W. Lake Mead Blvd. and 412 E. Flamingo Road