343 N. Front St.
Columbus, OH 43215
Prominently setting itself up in big commercial developments in America’s suburbs, Bucca di Beppo has a very specific feel and a use. A “family” restaurant, the many plates of pasta, pizza and seafood come in one size: huge. Meant to be shared by a few people. And its served in what feels like a crowded basement, the walls adorned with many pictures and trinkets. You’re made to feel like you’ve come to dine in an Italian family’s basement. How unique.
You’re going to want to have a few friends with you when you sit down to these dishes. Some of the things worth trying:
- Bruschetta: A refreshing mix of fresh mozzarella, chopped tomatoes and basil in a light glaze of oil. Served with crunchy tostadas that delivers a packed bite of freshness without cheapening the experience with overly simplistic.
- Baked Ziti: This pasta of course thrives in the liberal use of fresh and acidic tomato sauce, and in this case it’s topped with cheese.
- Chicken Parmagina: The chicken here is breaded and comes out extra crispy, and served of course with a giant cut of cheese. Best when fresh.
- Raviolli: Pretty classic take on the recipe, the thick ravioli is filled with cheese and topped with a generous amount of tomato sauce.
- Spicy Chicken Rigatoni: This pasta is topped with a fra diavolo style sauce and plenty of red pepper flakes, for a slowly-rising but sturdy heat. It’s about as hot as the dishes here come.
- Salmon Sorrento: The large cuts of salmon here come with a white sauce that only slightly adds a creaminess without overwelming the fish. Just make sure you don’t go overboard with the sauce or you’ll miss it.
- Chicken Limone: Lemon chicken is a delicate thing and it absolutely has to be done evenly because lemon can be such an overwhelming flavor used incorrectly. In this case, wonderful.
- Penne San Remo: A drier white dish of pasta with artichoke hearts. Maybe a bit on the more bland end.
- Strawberry Cheesecake: Good cheesecake uses a wonderful creamy cheese as its base. This one is notable for its giant smattering of strawberry glaze. Delightful.
The restaurant seeks a specific kind of atmosphere, the feeling of disconnect from the normal world and into a place where you’ve entered this old basement full of memories and genuineness, where you can yell and laugh and be boisterous and enjoy some of the intangible feeling of being Italian. The food is comfortable and the experience makes for something worth remembering.
It’s over the top and it’s best for a special kind of occasion, but this restaurant has stuck around for good reason. It’s just a fun experience.
- You absolutely must come here with a group of people, the food is huge.
- Looking for a special experience? Make a reservation and ask if you can get the table in the kitchen itself where you get to watch the cooks at work.
- Most of the food is best when fresh. Take some home as you’ll inevitably need to do, but make sure you eat it quickly.