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“Fantastic” 4 of 5 stars
Review of BuKu

110 E. Davie St, Raleigh, NC 27601
(919) 834-6963
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Ranked #75 of 1,129 Restaurants in Raleigh
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $31 - $50
Cuisines: Eclectic
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Entertaining clients, Bar scene, Doing business, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Wilmington
Description: Located at the corner of Wilmington and Davie Streets in the heart of downtown Raleigh, bu•ku is a local restaurant that tells a global story. The name "bu•ku" itself is an international slang twist on the phrase, "Merci, beaucoup" meaning, "Thank you very much." Inspired by the pushcarts of street vendors across the globe, our chefs harvest an array of unique and distinct flavors and present them authentically, in a virtual kaleidoscope of plates. The common link: these are foods that people love. Working within different regional traditions, our menu brings together complex and flavorful dishes that have been honed over generations. Foods like Polish pierogis, Colombian arepas, and Thai barbecue prawns served in a banana leaf with green papaya salad can be found on the street corners of Warsaw, Bogota, and Bangkok. We strive to convey the immediate thrill a traveler feels eating foods like these as they first cross over the cart and exchange hands into the urban setting.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

Food and service were fantastic!! A little pricey but worth it. Sunday brunch is the best. Great selection of different foods.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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244 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Raleigh, North Carolina
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
54 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 56 cities Reviews in 56 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
“Mixed Menu...Mixed Review”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

I recently had dinner at Buku with some friends. The atmosphere is very nice and we were seated in a quiet booth in the back. Nicholas, our server was very friendly, efficient, and so informative. We had never been there so he made several recommendations. The menu is very eclectic so we went with his ideas to get some small plates and some large plates.

The lava roll from the raw/almost raw menu the was a delight to the eyes as well as the palate. We ordered several small plate items to try. The Pierogi were just okay. The Baja Crab Flautas were delicious and spicy. I had the Cochinita Arepa (soft corn pastry, pulled pork, guacamole, pickled red onions, queso fresco ) and it was the best of the whole night. I should have just ordered a couple of those! Unfortunately, the crab stuffed avocado was very bland.

We ordered two large plates on the recommendation from Christopher. The Korean BBQ Ssam was a lettuce wrap style plate. The meat was tender but the whole plate together was pretty so-so. I ordered the Filipino Duck Adobo. I guess it wasn't explained to me that the duck breast would come out almost raw. I should have read the menu more closely. It was tough and I had to send it back to be cooked more. The duck confit, coconut rice, fried duck egg, and atchara that accompanied it were very good though.

For dessert we ordered the Creme Brulee trio--very small shot glasses of vanilla-very tasty, chocolate-too dense and ginger-just shouldn't be a Creme Brulee flavor. We also ordered the Chocolate Souffle. It had a dense dark chocolate/not too sweet flavor. It balanced out nicely with the scoop of almond ice cream. The tiramasu parfait was served in a very tall glass and looked as good as it tasted.

Unfortunately, by the time ordered several plates...enough to have a meal, my bill came to almost $60 for just me (without drinks).

If we went back again, we would just order a few small plates OR a couple large plates and share. All in all, we would return to Buku but we would be a little more careful about the items we ordered.

  • Visited February 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
95 reviews 95 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
“Sunday brunch review”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2014

I have only eaten at Buku for Sunday brunch, so I can't comment on the other reviews. Brunch is a great value. It's a buffet.
The positives: great coffee, good omelets, salads/fruit/bacon/sausage, etc.
What needs tweaking: the warm international foods have been the same since we started eating brunch here. They're very tired and don't hold up on the buffet line. Desserts are extremely boring--cookies, peanut butter bar. Not very creative.
Finally, if I had to tweak any one food, it would be their grits. Come on, you're in NC! Are you using instant? They're extremely watery.

Visited March 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

I recently had dinner at Boku with a colleague while in Raleigh for business. We both had a "small plate" and a "large plate" and neither of us found the food particularly inspiring or flavoursome. The pierogi I had were all right, but they were forgotten a moment after I had my last bite; the South African lamb kebabs were a mish-mash of ill-assorted flavours put together on a plate in the far-fetched hope of making a dish. Our waiter was rather unfriendly and hasty, and didn't make any effort to make our stay pleasant or show any interest in whether we liked the food. The overall experience let us down and was completely forgettable. Will not go again.

  • Visited March 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cary, North Carolina
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Very nice decor, interesting food variety, good brunch”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2014

Fairly pricey for "street food". Booth seating is far too low, fortunately they have cushions on request. The decor is pretty darn cool.

Great selection of flavors on dinner menu. We liked the smaller plate options better than the entrees. Service was great.

We also tried brunch. The variety is better than anywhere else in Raleigh and it gets busy.

Visited November 2013
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