One place we went to for dinner was Buca Di Beppo, one of my all time fave restaurants.
My first time here was in college for my roommates birthday. Everything was delish! I even had my graduation dinner at this restaurant.
However, because I need to be on a lower carb than usual diet, I always thought that Buca was out of the question. How am I supposed to go "low-carb" with such yummy pasta dishes and "Meatballs as big as yer head!"??
One of the hubbs favorite dishes is the Chianti Braised Short Ribs. These are GOOD... so tender! So with a little tweaking we were able to figure out a suitable meal for the both of us.
We ordered the short ribs, ravioli, and a side of broccoli. For just the two of us, it was a lot of food! We were sure to order "small" sizes of the entrees (really, you're only choice is small or large). And it was DELISH!
My only gripe with Buca? Is the way they handled their host/seating process.
We are always prepared to wait for Buca. At least 20-30 minutes if you go during prime dinner time (6-8) which we did (we arrived at 7:15).
First of all, there was a guy at the host stand in front of the restaurant. We approached him and he didn't mumble a single word. So we kept walking to the stand in the restaurant, only to get sent back outside to see "Andrew" at the front.
I took a seat inside and hubby put our name in and grabbed a buzzer thingy. The buzzer would vibrate/light up (FUN!) when our table was ready. Quoted wait? 1 hour.
Whatever. We'll wait. There's only 2 of us so we may get seated sooner.
During that 1 hour wait, there were other couples that I watch put their name in and play the same waiting game as us.
No problems so far, right? Right.
That is until a family of 3 walked right up to the inside hostess and put their name in. Apparently they are friends of hers and were asking about the wait. They were quoted 30 minutes. 30 MINUTES!!!
And sure enough, in 30 minutes (a little before 8) they were seated.
This gets my hormones in a really grumpy mood. See, I don't have a problem waiting if everyone else is waiting too.
To make a long story longer, there was another couple who checked in AFTER us and got seated BEFORE us.
We eventually got seated (obviously) but the mood was pretty grouchy after that. At least the food didn't disappoint!
Another restaurant we ate at this weekend was BIG CITY DINER.
BCD is a locally owned restaurant chain. Each time we've eaten here (I don't know maybe 10 times in the last 3 years?) we haven't been disappointed. The food is decent, the drinks are good, and the price is never too far out of range.
My husband ordered a loco moco (hamburger patty over rice topped with a fried egg and smothered in gravy) and I ordered a cheeseburger (Baja Burger- jack cheese, salsa, and avocado), hold the fries, and a garden salad. Halfway through my burger I decided to take the top bun off to make sure I was within my carbohydrate limits.
One of my fave things to order (pre-pregnancy) are their Midori Margaritas. Sooooo gooood and probably one of the first things I'll have post-pregnancy!
We also tried a brand new place, well for us anyway: UAHI GRILL (click to read some Yelp reviews!).
It's a small restaurant in Kailua, HI. We got there before the "rush" (seriously, 2 other couples arrived within 30 minutes of us).
Their menu has a lot of healthy options. However it seems like their extension of "Hawaiian Grill" is kinda far-fetched. The only Hawaiian food they had was Kalua Pig (roasted, salted, shredded pork). Still, they had fresh veggie options, fish, and chicken.
I ordered the Red Curry Fish and it was AMAZING. Just typing about it makes me drool and crave it. The curry I'm used to is a little bit thicker with vegetables (almost like a beef stew). This curry sauce was poured over brown rice and two pieces of fish (Mahimahi- a white flaky fish- was the selection of the night) served with a side of Papaya Salad.
Hubbs ordered the Jerk Chicken. He read it came with red peppers, mashed potatoes, and asparagus. When it arrived, the presentation was a bit dissapointing. The red peppers were more of a salsa texture and there were only two (2) pieces of asparagus. I don't know about you, but I thought Jerk Chicken was meant to be spicy. This chicken was "blackened", but not with seasoning- more likely from overcooking. The chicken was also dry! Poor hubbs finished his meal but left unsatisfied.
I did share some of my curry with him and he loved it!
|My Red Curry Fish|
|Hubby's Jerk Chicken + 2 Asparagus|
Do you have any favorite local restaurants in your area? Or do you navigate towards chains?- Living in Honolulu, we like to balance a little bit of both. When we feel adventurous we'll try locally owned restaurants. But when we want a little more predictability, we'll hit up a chain.
What are you biggest decision factors when deciding if you'll return to a new restaurant? First of all, if the service is good, that is BIG in my book. You can have the best food in the world but if your servers are snobby I won't be returning. Second- is it worth the price? If the food is ridiculously priced, I have a difficult time justifying my return, even if the food was delish. But as long as the service is decent, we can afford it, and the food is delish, we'll most likely return.