Champlin >Food & Dining > Buona Sera Italian Ristorante
11949 W River Rd, Champlin, MN | Directions 5531645.169528 -93.360276
Born in Southern Italy, Chef Raffaele began spending time in the kitchen with his Mama at a very young age, where he learned that the only thing that makes food so special is the amount of affection you cook into it. In Italy, they use only the freshest ingredients to prepare food for the people they love.
Since moving to the United States in the early 1970s, Raffaele has earned a great reputation in the Twin Cities restaurant scene for wonderful food with a pleasant dining experience. Buona Sera is the latest of Raffaele's creations, a cozy neighborhood restaurant and wine bar featuring the wonderful and authentic Italian recipes. When you walk in the door, you're treated like family. Enjoy good food, good wine, good company and of course, a "good night".
Crowded, for a reason. – Having dined at Buona Sera for several years now, I have come to expect, if not enjoy, the hustle and bustle of what is a fabulously popular little hideaway. You don't always get your table on time, but they also NEVEr push you out of your table once you are seated. The food is top notch. One example: I ordered the Rainbow Trout once and loved it. I can back, they were out. Next time, same thing. Finally, I asked Raffael and he said in his broken ItalEngish "If I don't get good quality, I don't get. I cannot find good Trout, so you cannot have it. These people (waving around the room) maybe they never had the Trout here and they love what I can get. But you, you have had the good Trout. You order it now, it's not so good, and maybe you think Buona Sera is also not so good. So, my friend, I am sorry but I cannot serve it. It was off the menu the next time we were in. The steaks are quite good and the Seafood Soup is unequaled. Expensive and unequaled.
Great Romantic Spot with Friendly Environment – After reading the reviews, I was worried as I pulled up and the temp was reaching -8 degrees, I was afraid I'd be stuck waiting at the cramped door. Just the opposite. For the size of the restaurant, the lot size was fine. We were seated immediatly, and the help was awesome. We started with the Bruchetta, and it was marvelous, the bread was absolutly delicious. Then my date and I both got past dishes. I absolutely loved the red sauce, I'm not a chunky tomato lover, and this sauce was smoot, and out of this world.
All in all, great experience, with great prices.
Best Italian north of 694 – Fabulous food and service. Can be tight, but buck up. The Chef is very friendly and the wine list is great. See also, La Grolla.
Don't waste your money!!! – I normally don't write reviews but I want to save other people the disappointment and money associated with dining at this restaurant. I tried it twice. Both times the food was average at best but I will call it awful. I can periodically talerate average food but not when it costs a far amount of money to eat it. I also don't mind spending $100.00 on a wonderful meal, so it's not that I'm cheap. Both times I left that restaurant feeling ripped off. Everything about it is average including the wait staff and seating. Too bad as it really has the potential to be a nice little spot. The owners should go get a meal at Figlio and take notes, even the Olive Garden at this point would give them an idea of eatable food. On my second trip ( I always give two chances as it could just be an off night) I had an open mind and high hopes. Bad food, bad dinner salad (get creative) and expensive.
Flashes of brilliance – My wife and I "discovered" Buona Sera several weeks ago. An hour after our reserved time we were seated, very frustrating. Then we got the food - outstanding, and it almost made up for wait. Because the food was so great we returned the next week and againthey were unable to seat us within 45 minutes of our reserved time. Most times this would be OK but here the waiting area is cramped and uncomfortable. Both times times we have been there people who are waiting start to get grumpy. The worst thing is that the stress this causes ripples throughout the staff - they are constantly apologizing and even give comped appetizers to make up for it. The kitchen seems to be forcing the food to get tables to turn, and it shows. Once the food was outstanding, once it close to unedible it was so bad that we will never return. What a shame, if they would just take a few less reservations I suspect that this could truly be one of the best Italian places in the entire Twin Cities. I hope they figure it out and get it right because everybody who works there is so nice!
Best Italian in the Twin Cities – The food is some of the best Italian in the cities. Must make reservations, as they get really busy. Prices are reasonable, and everything on the menu has been suburb.
Great Little Italian Place – The atmosphere is cozy and the food is delicious! It's a great date place. Because it is small and popular, you might have to wait for a table. But the wait is worth it!
Bad service – We waited 30 minute even with a reservation and 10 minutes at the bar just to get a wine list. One of the guests at the end of our table was constantly bumped into by the MANAGER. He at one point was almost knocked over! I would not go back to this restaurant. I feel there are far better Italian places to go in the city.
Lively atmosphere and well-executed Italian fare make for a memorable night in the 'burbs. – In Short
Drive up to this little house in the middle of a residential neighborhood, and it feels like you're arriving at the neighbors' for dinner. Inside, it's noisy and rambunctious, just like an Italian family gathering should be. But there's a touch of romance too, with an intimate, low-ceilinged bar and twinkling lights intertwined like grapevines above the windows. Besides well-made pastas, there are house specialties like herb-scented veal and salmon in a spicy tomato broth.
Our Favorite Italian in MN – Being of Sicilian descent and having grown up in NJ, I'm pretty picky about Italian food and pretty negative on what's available in MN. But, Bouna Sera is the real deal. My wife and I continually find ourselves craving their food. Service can vary, but is generally good. The seafood chowder is to die for. Haven't had an entree yet that wasn't wonderful. And if owner/chef Rafael is around and stops by to tell a few jokes, the evening is perfect. Be sure to make reservations, and expect it to be loud due to the small space, but that's part of the ambience. To top it off, some nights they offer a free Amaretto to end your meal.
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