Dear Buca di Beppo…

Your gluten free menu is worthless and your decor is trashy.

Have a nice day,

Anna

I know, harsh. But I reallllly dislike Buca di Beppo. Their ridiculously large portions, their inauthentic dished, their poor quality ingredients, the silly knick-knacks on the walls – just bad. But I could overlook all of that if they didn’t have the worst gluten free menu I’ve ever seen.

First I should say that I respect any restaurant that actually has a gluten free menu and staff who are knowledgeable enough to accommodate gluten free diners. Buca di Beppo is a bit of an outlier though, since their food is all served family style. So, you basically have to force your entire table to eat gluten free, or you can pay up the wazoo for your own meal (which I ended up doing). My friends wanted to go to Buca so I didn’t really have a choice in the matter, but usually I have the mentality of “I can find something to eat anywhere”. This time that was not the case.

Here it is, folks:


Problems with this menu:

  1. The disclaimer at the top is good to have (and I’m sure required by their legal team), but it also says that I’m supposed to speak to a manager? Awkward.
  2. There are no prices on the menu. Since it’s not coming with pasta I thought it might cost less, but who would know? I also wasn’t sure if the dishes were still in the family size or if they were single serving since it was a special menu. It just says “salmon” – how many pieces of salmon? Does it come with something? Who knows?
  3. The only vegetarian things on the menu are three salads, green beans, broccoli, and mashed potatoes. Vegan options = house salad and green beans. That sure sounds like it’d make a satisfying meal!
  4. It seems like they could so easily offer gluten free pasta. Maybe I’m overlooking something, but it seems like if you dedicate a pot for just gluten free pasta and do a bit more quality control on cross contamination of the sauces, it would be really simple.
  5. No desserts.

I should so be a gluten free restaurant consultant. I’d whip this place right into shape.

So what did I end up getting?

This lousy piece of plain salmon (appears larger than it was. It was probably a 4oz portion, for $10)

And a salad.

Everyone else at the table gorged on bread, garlic bread, calamari, baked ziti, fettuccine alfredo… It was not a great time to be a Celiac.

Needless to say, Buca di Beppo is now on my “will not return” list. While it’s promising that they have such a large chain implementing a gluten free menu, it’s not at all a pleasant dining experience. for gluten free guests.

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5 responses to “Dear Buca di Beppo…

  1. I was part of a great gluten-free dinner at the Buca location in Philly. We spoke with the manager in advance (not an unusual request) and everyone enjoyed the variety of dishes. They certainly should have GF pasta and dessert, but it’s a good start.

    • Glad you had a better experience! I was in a huge group of people, many who I had just met, so calling the manager over just seemed embarrassing (which I should have gotten over by now haha). If I ate meat I think it would have been easier, but it stunk to be limited to so few choices.

      • OMG I’m so excited to see your reeviw!!!! I got diagnosed with Celiac about 4 moths ago and I’ve been having a very hard time following my new diet, especially since I love to bake. A couple of days ago I saw this product on a gluten free website and I was debating on trying it. My husband found a couple of stores in my area that carries them and now I’m really excited to try them out. We are going to the store tomorrow!!!

  2. The salmon looks like it came out of a box. And I know we’re supposed to be our own best advocate when going out, but sometimes you just don’t feel like dealing with it.

  3. I agree. I don’t eat chicken or beef, so no point in eating there. Haven’t eaten there since going gf in 2003. Try Chianti grill in Roseville. Super good food and gluten free pasta.

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