Buca di Beppo at Excalibur is known for extremely generous portions of Italian fare. The larger-than-life restaurant is decorated in bright red colors, Christmas lights and old photos and looks comfortable -- like someone's living room. There are plenty of spaces in the restaurant that cater to larger parties, including a completely private glass-enclosed dining room for up to 70 guests and a large circular table, complete with lazy Susan that seats 12.
But back to the food. Most dishes will be able to feed three to four people, while half portions are available and can feed two people easily. The casual restaurant serves most dishes family-style. For example, if you order the prosciutto-stuffed chicken, you get five large pieces of chicken, stuffed with mozzarella cheese and prosciutto, breaded, topped with marinara sauce and served in a pesto cream sauce. Good luck to the guy who thinks he can polish that off by himself.
For starters, Italian favorites like crispy fried calamari, fried mozzarella and a variety of salads like antipasto and apple Gorgonzola salad are available. One staple at Buca di Beppo is the bread, with a choice of regular garlic bread or garlic bread with cheese, like the cheesy bread Florentine, topped with spinach, tomatoes and a three cheese blend.
Main courses include chicken marsala served with large chunks of button mushrooms and eggplant parmigiana, a traditional take on a classic favorite. A variety of thin-crust pizzas like veggie, four cheese and Italian supreme are available. Specialty pastas such as chicken carbonara and chicken sausage and ziti are also on the menu.
Always a crowd favorite among Buca di Beppo regulars is the baked rigatoni with marinara sauce, sausage, ricotta cheese and topped with cheese. If you're not a meat lover, you can order the baked ziti, a similar version sans sausage.
For dessert, the Italian creme cake is surprisingly light and fluffy with a hint of lemon and the profiteroles are a shareable sweet treat.
-- By Nikki Neu