In 1993, the basement of a Minneapolis apartment building was transformed into an Italian restaurant, becoming the first Buca di Beppo. The owners soon found themselves riding a wave of popularity and marinara sauce as they opened new restaurants across the nation. Today, the eatery occupies 97 locations nationwide, from San Francisco to Times Square.
At each location, chefs maintain the northern and southern Italian flavors that made the original so popular, with a few American twists. Then they serve it up in massive, family-style portions, making Buca di Beppo a favorite place for hungry families and groups of friends.
For starters, the chefs bake up batches of Cheesy Bread Florentine, a colorful combo of spinach, roma tomatoes, and garlic sprinkled over Italian bread and sealed in place with fresh, melted cheeses. Entr?es are prepared with an eye toward quality and quantity, both of size and selection, complete with Veal Parmigiana, Baked Ziti, and classic Italian-American staples like Ravioli and Lasagna. And in keeping with the convivial atmosphere, they also serve truly decadent desserts. The Mt. Vesuvius Dark Chocolate Cake erupts with melted chocolate, and the Colossal Brownie Sundae towers above other sweets with six scoops of ice cream and tiers of sundae trimmings.
From the name alone, Tapas y Vino's priorities should be obvious. An expansive menu of small plates, sandwiches, entrees, and wines greets guests as they sit down at the elegant onyx bar, or next to the fire pit on the indoor-outdoor patio that allows for al fresco dining year-round. Cool tapas?such as roasted beets with champagne-herb vinaigrette and the chef's charcuterie?offer a scintillating counterpoint to hot tapas like the pancetta-wrapped shrimps or the lamb lollipops, a delicacy once available only to good little wolves who don't cry at the doctor's office. Sunday brunches, served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., offer such savory specialties as the truffled mushroom omelet, or tapas benedict?poached eggs served with crispy arepas, chorizo, manchego cheese, topped with piment?n hollandaise.
Located in the heart of Redondo Beach's Riviera Village, Tapas y Vino recently garnered a Blue Zone Restaurant certification for its commitment to healthier eats. The eatery also hosts special events, such as wine tastings.
Ws China Bistro takes its name from the middle initial shared by all three Chong brothers: the South Bay restaurateurs behind this casual, friendly spot. Fernando, Roberto, and Marcelino were born in Cuba to Chinese parents and have found their niche sharing their heritage in the form of dim sum, crispy orange chicken, and spicy hunan beef. Their seafood paella adds a Latin twist to the menu, while a line-up of meat-free dishes appease the palates of vegetarians. Patrons can sit at the bar to watch bartenders mix cocktails, uncork wine bottles, and pour draft beers such as Bud Light, Fat Tire, and Kirin, or unwind with friends in the informal dining room.
Servers hoisting skewers circulate continuously through Samba Brazilian Steakhouse, pausing tableside to carve mesquite-grilled morsels of brazilian sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken, and sirloin steak. This is hardly an unusual sight at Brazil's famous all-you-can-eat churrascarias?until you see the ocean views through the 180-degree wall of glass in Samba Brazilian Steakhouse's Redondo dining room. This chic perspective on tropicalia dominates all aspects of the steakhouse. Clusters of mod white couches stand out against glowing orange walls, which contain plenty of nooks for groups to squeeze into.
Brunch hours offer a consortium of all-you-can-eat meats such as marinated beef and pork. The main course is complemented by unlimited trips to the salad- and Brazilian side dish-buffet, as well as your choice of mimosas, champagne, and sangria. On Thursday?Saturday, a chorus of smooth-limbed showgirls catalyze the party with a slight assist from the caipirinha bar's more than 20 versions of Brazil's national cocktail.
Chefs douse entrees in champagne sauce and cast nets of pasta over shrimp, scallops, and other sea treasures at Oh la la! Bistro & Wine Bar, a French-inspired bistro with a light touch and extensive wine bar. Thick filets of salmon swim in a bath of zesty dill sauce, and mussels open their shells to welcome one of six specialty sauces infused with gorgonzola or New Orleans–style spices. A decadent procession of French desserts passes through the kitchen’s triumphal arches, headlined by a perfectly torched crème brûlée and a rich, chocolate mousse garnished with a spattering of soft consonants. A mélange of circular and rectangular wooden tables fills out Oh la la! Bistro’s chic dining room, where artwork hangs from pastel walls, and chairs in a kaleidoscope of colors stand beside each other in mismatched harmony.