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“Subterranean Northern Italian Gem”
Review of Ristorante La Buca

Ristorante La Buca
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Ranked #305 of 4,445 Restaurants in Philadelphia
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $30 - $40
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: City Center East
Cross street: Between 7th & 8th
Reviewed July 19, 2012

Unexpected food delights downstairs from the green awning on Locust St between Washington Square and 8th Street. Once you get past the larger-than-life murals on the walls and dark "old school" decor, let the wait-staff lead you to the best Northern Italian food Philly has to offer, and for a price unexpectedly low for such a gourmet meal. A mentor of mine who is Italian-from-Italy (and and Italian food snob at that), raves about this place, and though he lives in NYC, has brought his family to Philly to eat here.

A fresh seafood cart will display most of the tastiest dishes available. Do not miss the steamers (muscles, little neck clams and shrimp) in white wine garlic, and DO let your garlic bread soak up the broth before biting into it. If langostinos are avaiable, they are sweet morsels of heaven. If you are up for the good fight, and intermezzo of a pasta mista for the table - often spinach gnocchi (held together with hope and love), homemade pesto, farfalle with mushrooms and a 3rd pasta. Generally there is a branzino (Italian sea bass) that is the best I've had in Philly. Veal is popular as well, including one stuffed with oysters.

Dessert - unless the waitstaff steers you away, try the cheesecake - something different and out of this world, the chocolate mousse or the tiramisu. Fresh strawberries always available.

Added bonuses - space for large groups and quiet enough to hear each other speak.

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Thank Liz E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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83 - 87 of 106 reviews

Reviewed July 3, 2012

The food at La Buca was amazing. We were a party of 25 people and all raved about their food. I know how difficult it is to prepare that many different entrees to all be served at one time and it was all hot and delicious. We sat at the bar afterwards and the bartender was extremely attentive and poured the liquor very generously! Will definitely return.

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Thank brianwiegand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 1, 2012

In the hunt for a good meal we've tried a number of restaurants within a reasonable walk to the theater and are pleased with this find. Very fresh and well prepared seafood (soft shell crabs sauteed lightly, branzino, and even raw selections of shell fish). The waitstaff is friendly and family oriented, very focused on getting us on time to our play. The buffalo mozzerella and tomatoes was perfect (both fresh), and desserts the old standards but well prepared and enjoyed by all. Nice portions (too big to finish plates of pasta, an entire fish for the branzino, and Italian sized portion of lightly fried and very tender calamari) served with small sides (but adequate). The 3 generations (our standard for these pre-theater dinner) were all pleased (no easy task) and quite intent on returning. Although the decor is dated, for this family, food is primary and for that we are happy with this hidden gem! It seems to be more frequented by an older crowd, but I think the rest of us should consider this "retro" gem! The waiter even surprised us by taken 10% off the bill as a pre-theater offering!

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Thank NewPoster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 1, 2012

La Buca has been around a long time, but never gets old. Started going here in the 80"s for lunsh or dinner and continue to eat there before attending the Walnut Street Theatre (just around the corner). Excellent food, great service (ask for Tommy) and a nice house wine.

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Thank JWDphilly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2012

Our hotel recommended this restaurant for a lovely Saturdy evening dinner. It was a fabulous typical old style ristorante with delicious food, great, unobtrusive service in a very typical old school restaurant. Portions were bigVthe fish was cooked perfectly and filleted tableside. Can't wait to go
again.

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Thank nancy s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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