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First Official LA Buca di Beppo in Historic Original Farmers Market

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(Gerry Furth-Sides)  The first Buca di Beppo in LA is inside the Original Farmers Market with easy access from the stalls and parking lot.  I know Buca di Beppo originated and are still going strong in the LA ‘burbs of Pasadena, Redondo Beach and Claremont because I arranged all the opening parties which deserve defining as “rollicking.”  But this is the first official one inside of LA and under new ownership.

The service is friendly and impersonal- not like the early days when a team of exuberant “paisans” ran the show.  The effort seems to have been transferred to the excellent food. For details, please see: https://www.bucadibeppo.com/menu/

Chicken Saltimbocca topped with prosciutto & sage, served with artichoke hearts, lemon, capers & lemon butter sauce.

Staying true to it’s southern Italian roots, dishes include my favorite (at one time off-the-menu) Pizza Arriabiata and Caesar Salad.  The thin-crust pie is carpeted with spicy Italian sausage, pepperoni, caramelized red onions, Gorgonzola, mozzarella, provolone & our authentic pizza sauce.  Excellent.

The cannolis did not disappoint.  The pair is dense and crunchy enough outside and filled with a creamy cheese inside.

But I miss the old tiramisu heaped in a soup bowl,  heavy on the rum, marscapone and espresso, and light on the lady fingers. The current version is more of a muddle topped with cocoa & crumbled hazelnut biscotti.

The new “star” seems to be an oversized sundae.

Buca’s excellent Spaghetti with Meatballs is still on the menu.

All dishes are served family style.

The chef was enthusiastic and coined the term, “meatballs as big your head.” It is now more of a t-shirt slogan.


 

Buca di Beppo translates into “Cave of Johnny.” and how many times did I explain this when I happily did the opening parties when they  first landed in Los Angeles?  I was thrilled after questioning how rollicking concept would go in “sophisticated LA” after experiencing it at their successful San Francisco and Seattle locations.

It went just fine, thank you very much, or “Grazi,” in Italian, just as the restroom recorded language lessons instructed.  It was all in the spirit of good food and good fun.  So much fun that the music track was timed to play each song three times — the first for fun, the second for recognition, and the third, for an annoying signal to leave!

 

Everyone recognizes Sophia Loren, maybe not from an early American film role with Alan Ladd

Not one of the staff recognized the first CEO’s wife, Connie Micatrotto, an inside joke. Miss you, Micatrottos!

The idea of the Buca di Beppo chain out of the midwest, was to copy the low ceilings of early Italian apartment basement restaurants.

 

The remodeled Original Farmers Market location, holding approximately 200 patrons, was previously  home to Planet Dailies L.A.,  and has regular height ceilings. The patio is the most fun now.

The location includes a cozy but upbeat outdoor second floor dining patio, private rooms for larger group events, and a bar.

High School graduation celebration to these two now at UCLA!

A high school graduation – perfect setting

Gone is the over-the-top “secret” pope’s table.  It is now more of a cipher at the end of the open dining room.

Still available, if you ask and remind the staff, is the candelabra birthday salutation.  I dreaded when I saw it coming toward me as a Redondo Beach location surprise — but it was, and it is, so much fun!

 


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Author
Gerry Furth-Sides

Gerry Furth-Sides

Content Editor/Columnist

Photo-journalist Gerry Furth-Sides has been covering the ethnic and American culinary scene in California since it first came into prominence 25 years ago.