Friday, March 9, 2012

Buona Terra

Location: 2535 N California
Cost: About $25 per person

My dad has gotten pretty into Chicago based food television shows. I often get calls after a new episode of Check Please or Chicago's Best airs with questions about whether or not I've been to a place they featured. This has thus spilled over into our occasional early Sunday family dinners. Back when we tried out Bricks, it was because they were featured on TV, and this time my parents wanted to hit up Buona Terra.

There were two main rooms to Buona Terra. The one up front has a few high tops and a bar while the other room is for regular dining. It's kind of tough to find parking around there, but if you cross over the main intersection there are plenty of free street spots. We didn't need a reservation because we went with the blue hair brigade, but you might need something for a busy time slot.

Our waiter was attentive, had good suggestions, and worked efficiently. I thought it was goofy that he referred to my dad as "senor" since it's an Italian restaurant and all. The cost is right on par with most other Italian spots in town. Apps are around $7, pasta dishes average out around $13, and protein centered dishes are closer to $17.

The Food
We each ordered a soup or salad. My dad got the Mushroom Soup, I got the Minestrone, and my mom got the Caprese Salad. Everything was pretty traditional and standard. The mushroom soup was too runny, but the minestrone had tons of veggies and a nice acidic broth. The tomatoes on the caprese were a bit bland.

The Caprese Salad

The Minestrone Soup

 The Mushroom Soup

For the main course my mom got the Veal Marsala, my dad got the Spaghetti al Gamberetti, and I got the Halibut (fish of the day). The veal was tender with no knife required. The marsala sauce was thick and rich. The little potato cakes were probably my favorite thing though. My dad's pasta had nice large shrimps and plenty of vegetables. The halibut came in a broth with crab meat. It reminded me a lot of the meal I'd had the previous night at Gemini Bistro. That being said, this had a bit of a mushy texture between the fish and the crab, and I was hoping for some kind of crunch.

The Veal Marsala

The Spaghetti al Gamberetti

 The Halibut

For dessert we ordered a Chocolate Torte of sorts and some Pistachio Gelato. They were very refreshing, and my family digs anything that's pistachio flavored. The torte had a nice, crumbly crust underneath to go well with the smooth chocolate filling.

The Chocolate Torte

 The Pistachio Gelato

Buona Terra is a great neighborhood spot, just not my neighborhood spot. I don't think I'll rush back because there are so many great Italian spots left to try, and I have some standing favorites in my back pocket (Rose Angelis and Piccolo Sogno). Still, they have well prepared food in a friendly environment. If I were you, I'd get the veal. I'm giving them 3.5 out of 5 Pearls.

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