Just ate for the 2nd time in a month at Buca Di Beppo in Kentlands (Gaithersburg, MD) and each meal was spectacular. Yes, you heard that right, spectacular, for what it was, amazing, delicious Italian food for reasonable money.
The first time was with 12 guys and we had a blast. Ordered 2 huge appetizer mixed platters of assorted seafood items and mozzarella stix and it mostly was delicious. The salads were decent, not great, but decent. We tried 2 of these after our appetizers. Then we had 6 small main courses which we mostly all split. 1 main course feeds 2 or 3 people. The spaghetti and meatballs was my pick and was most excellent with 2 massive meat balls. The eggplant parm was wonderful as were the penne with sausage and other main courses. For dessert we all split pretty much every dessert on the menu and all were great sans the Tiramesu which the guys at the other end said wasn't that great. The cheesecake was out of this world and we even ordered an extra apple crisp it was so good.
I ate there again this past weekend on Sunday at the kitchen table thats... in the kitchen. This time I took our daughter, her friend that wasn't that hungry, and my wife. We loved it and ordered the garlic bread which was out of this world. We split 1 salad and it fed all of us. Then we all split 1 small ravioli which was one of the best ravioli's we have ever had. Incredible flavor and wonderful sauce. The perfect ravioli, really. We also split a small side dish of fettucini alfredo which was also yummy. For dessert we split 1 piece of the $10 chocolate cake it was one of the best ones we've ever had. Perfect texture of soft and hard with a super rich but not ridiculously rich sweetness. For $50 for 4 of us, we ate like kings. We used the $10 off coupon from the Washington Post too :o). Sitting in the kitchen was really cool for a one time trial. They showed us every single dish up close before they brought it out into the dining room. Because it was a slow Sunday afternoon, it wasn't too crazy in the kitchen at 330pm when we got there. They paraded people that were about to dine in the dining room by us the whole time we ate letting them know they could reserve our table one day if they were lucky. We just walked in that day and it happened to be available.
So why do people rag on this place? It's one of the best Italian restaurants around in my book, for simple, delicious, non-complicated, Italian. We've tried most of the expensive Italian joints in town from Tosca in DC to Cesco, La Panaterria and Pasta Plus in the burbs, and we've now found our favorite new place.
Silver Spring MD