Now, to start off this review, I would just like to let you know that this visit to Bucca di Beppo took place about 2 months ago and, though I SERIOUSLY doubt that anything has changed, there is the possibility that something has I suppose.
Alrighty, now lets get on with this thang! When you go to Bucca di Beppo in Columbus, which is right in the heart of Columbus, you realize that the parking is nothing more than horrible. In fact, when we arrived, it took us a good five minutes before we realized that there was just no way to park without taking at least a 3-5 minute walk through the arena district. So, if you are taking some older folks with you, it may be in your best interest to first, call ahead and see what the wait time is and second, drop them off at the door.
Okay, now that you're all parked, you should probably know where to walk in at. I say this because the front of this place actually (to me anyways) looks like the back. However, once you walk in, you are greeted with a smile. The outside of the building is very pleasing to the eye in the sense that it has all kinds of vines lining the walls and a beautiful submerged area for outside dining. I REALLY like that it is submerged because, being that it is below the ground level, it really cuts down on wind and sun if you like to eat outside.
Now that you are finally in this place, if you have never been there you should ask your host to give you the long walk to your table through the kitchen. I know this sounds odd, but it really is pretty cool. They actually have a large booth set up in there that (I believe) is available for reservation. Also, you should take a good look around, because this place has a lot going on in the decoration department. It is lined with all kinds of funny pictures and memorabilia. This place would have met my expectations for a Hollywood Italian restaurant!
Finally, I'll get to the food. We were both in the mood for Italian that day, so we both knew exactly what we wanted; we wanted Spaghetti and meatballs! So, that is what we got and, I have to say, we got it all right . . . WAY too much of it (though, I am not complaining). The website even tells you that they serve up two portion sizes. One, the small that feeds up to three, and the Large which "feeds an average-sized countury (yes, the website DOES say that).
Overall, the spaghetti and meatballs meal was so-so to me, which is a surprise nearly as big as the dish itself considering how much it was talked up by the people in the town. However, I did come across a review at Urbanspoon.com (here) that claims the food has been changed in the recent year, so this may explain the strange phenomenon. Though, unlike this reviewer, I didn't think the food was bad at all. It wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either. The meatballs tasted a little off from what I expected . . . it just seemed like they needed something more. However, the sauce was great, and the noodles . . . well, if an Italian place screws up noodles (which Bucca did not), then they may as well give up and start a lemonade stand.
Now, I would like to point out to you that this place is a REALLY fun place to eat! However, this does mean that other people are trying to have fun as well and things can get a little loud in there. There are a lot of people that go here for birthday parties, graduation parties, and many more things of that nature, I'm sure. So, in short, be prepared for things like this to happen and don't be afraid to get a little loud yourself. This place seems to be built on the premise of fun.
The Verdict: 7.0/10
This place was astonishing in service, atmosphere, and portion sizes. The prices may SEEM a little high, but keep in mind that two people can easily get full on ONE large spaghetti and meatballs portion. However, the food was only so-so. I saw nothing astonishing about it but, once again, I didn't see anything terrible about it either. Overall, Bucca di Beppo is a great place for family, friends, and LOTS of FUN!