Basil Prosperi's Lucca

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by Jennifer

The swordfish was absolutely perfect. So good. And the roasted green pepper and sausage rissoto was out of this world. Probably one of the best meals I've ever had. Wine was a touch overpriced...I always hate it when I can find it at Hy-Vee for $14.99 when I just paid $38 for it at a restaurant.

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by Boscoe

Our recent meal at Lucca's was one of the finest dining experiences I have had in Des Moines in several years. Good service, nice atmosphere, excellent food. Portion sizes were just right, actually leaving me room to enjoy a maple cheesecake desert without feeling stuffed. The wine selection is good, and reasonably priced. My salmon, served with red and yellow peppers, was wonderfully flavorful. My wife's pork chop was equally flavorful, but a little chewy.

Upon returning home, I did notice that my clothes had retained the smell of cooking oil used in Lucca's open kitchen. A small price to pay for an excellent meal.

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by John

A little disappointing, they don't have the great martinis anymore. I was told they are taking the restaurant in a different direction???

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by John Domini

Simply the finest restaurant in Des Moines. Even the martinis prove a sublime balance of invention and classic good taste. Of course the pastas and the Italian meat dishes constitute the core of this magnificent eating experience, so many of them dishes you can't find anywhere else, but all the lesser details are seen too beautifully as well. The wine selection and bread choices, the cheese plates and the succulent desserts -- none of these disappoint, ever. Then too, I must celebrate the understated white decor and friendly but subdued atmosphere. Ottimo! Complimenti!

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by vickie

I have eaten at Lucca twice just in the last two weeks. In my opinion it is the best restaurant in Des Moines. We showed up earler in the evening without reservations, and were able to be seated. The service is excellent, but the food is amazing! I had the caponata(eggplant) for an appetizer, and the main dish was pork. The pork was so tender I did\'nt need to cut it with a knife. For dessert I had the flourless chocolate cake, (dark chocolate with raspberry puree on the side), and I also tried the apple cake(to die for!)

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by Todd Massey

I had the opportunity to dine at three downtown restuarants this week: Splash, Centro and Lucca. While all three were positive experiences, the best meal was at Lucca. When you use your bread to wipe your plate clean, you're eating well.

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by k. s. h.

Ravioli was wonderful but by the time the plate was in front of me I was sweating like a, well, um... I'd say pig but pigs don't actually sweat. Come on Lucca's, turn on the air conditioner. You've been open long enough now so that little "kink" should have been worked out by now.

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by Tina

This place has become one of my favorites. Last week, I had the caponata (fresh roasted peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, fennel, basil, and capers), and the chicken, which was crispy sauteed with proscuitto and provolone, on a risotto spinach cake, with a mustard sauce. Both very delicious. And topped it off with buttermilk panna cotta, with vanilla bean, honey, and toasted almonds. The flavor combination was perfect. I also love their house cocktails, especially the lavendar pear martini and kaffir lime cosmo. Their international wine list is great, too.

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by Candace

What a gem! My husband and I were down in the East Village for the Blues Fest. and it was raining. We popped into Lucca on a whim wanting dinner and were able to be seated despite no reservation and somewhat casual attire. We found Lucca to be superb in its preparation of Swordfish -- absolutely delectable, flavorful -- it just melted in our mouths -- and it did it far better in my opinion, than big name restaurants like Boston's Legal Seafood or Anthony Pier Four or even Des Moines' own Waterfront restaurant. We greatly enjoyed the potato gnocchi and eggplant first course and the cheese dessert to finish was enjoyable as well. We definitely plan on going back! It was a very leisurely and enjoyable dining experience.

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by bob

Wonderful restaurant and wonderful atmosphere. The food was simple yet flavorful. The carrot gnocchi was delicious as was the panna cota we had for dessert. There were only two downfalls to the restaurant in our experience. First, my wife called for a reservation and they could not find the reservation book, so they promised to call her back. They never did. I called and got a reservation instead. Second, the place is made of brick and wood, which as you might guess, means the sounds are amplified within the restaurant. Something I do not enjoy while trying to hear my soft spoken waiter and my wife. All in all a wonderful dinner and I will return.

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by Hansel

After reading several of the reviews regarding this restaurant, I was a little hesitant to visit it, but my husband and I are continuously looking for new places to try, and this one was recommended by my cousin, so we decided to try it anyway. I am SO glad we did. The only reason I gave it 4 1/2 stars was that my husband made reservations several weeks in advance (for the weekend before Valentine's Day), and when we arrived, the reservations weren't noted. However, the host was quick to seat us anyway, so what could have been a major snag in our dinner plans ended up being nothing at all. However, I would expect more from a restaurant of this caliber. Besides that one minor irritation, the rest of the meal was phenomenal. The food was cooked perfectly and the portions were, in my opinion, just right, although if you prefer the "super-sized" portions of most American chain restaurants, you may be disappointed. The three courses were delightful, and for dessert we shared a flourless chocolate cake with cherry pinot noir sauce one side and a cream cheese frosting-like sauce on the other side. It was amazing. My husband and I have been to enough upscale restaurants to recognize excellent food and service, and both of these elements were present during our visit to Lucca. We will definitely be back!

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by Bobbie Russie

I have eaten several times now at Lucca. It is my current favorite place to dine in Des Moines. Go for dinner on a Saturday night and make reservations to sit by the piano.
The menu is a prix-fixe, 3-course dinner, currently $25. Selections are very limited and determined by the chef according to foods available. I've been most pleased by the seasonal soups and fish entrees.
Fish dishes are prepared perfectly, with layerings of interesting sauces and unusual flavorings and greens. It's always an adventerous mix of tastes and textures. Other offerings have not been great (fried appetizers are too greasy, pasta was underdone and served on a cold plate) but I've been told by another visitor that if something's not to your liking, it will be redone to your satisfaction.
The third course is a 4-part cheese course. Americans may not be used to this but it is common in Europe. There is usually a progressive selection of light, soft cheeses, to harder mellow, to very a strong cheese as the finish. Try the sheep cheeses! I'm always left wanting more of the tiny slices, or to be able to purchase some to take home but it is the perfect amount.
Dessert may be purchased additionally but we are usually satisfied.
During weekend evenings, two elderly gentlemen entertain by playing the standards on a stand-up base and the baby grand piano. They are very good.
I've not had bad service any time that I've gone.
Lucca is as good as any New York restaurant and the decor is reminiscent of SoHo. Sparsely but stylishly contemporary, it is comfortable in an unusual space.
Our most recent visit was on New Year's Eve (which is also my birthday) was less than fabulous but I think no restaurant cooks well that night for some reason. It was fine up until the lobster ravioli (the 3rd course of 5), which was undercooked and on a cold plate.There were only two large pieces, so it was gone before I decided it wasn't great. The entree was called Bollo Misto, so we had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be braised pork and beef spareribs in a brown sauce. It was too fatty for me (if you cover a meat with sauce, please trim the fat off, so I don't put that in my mouth first!) I was full by then anyway, so it was not a problem to leave it.
Despite this experience, this is still one of my favorite places to eat. If you're tired of chain restaurants and want to be more adventurous, give it a try. This is not a full-range menu, it's up to the chef's whims, which are usually great!

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by Brett

An experience in simplicity. Everything to make a fantastic dinner and nothing you don't need. Flavors were clean and perfectly cooked. Service exceeded my needs. Beautiful wine list that is not overblown with American Chard. and Merlot. Very reasonably priced. In any other major city it would be twice the price. This is exactly what a a town that rates chain restaurants as "best in town," needs. I'll be back many more times.

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by Judy Meyer

We ate (10 of us) at Lucca's for lunch today and it was fabulous. The food came so quickly, displayed fabulous and was delicious.

I definitely will tell people about your resturant.....actually I already have. Our son is a Pastor at Grace Church and he wanted to know all about it.

Thanks for a lovely and great time.............

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by Chris

Over priced, horrible service, bland food. Save your money and go anywhere else. I would rather eat at fazolli's than ever come back to this place.

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by Philip Latessa

What a great place. Very attentive staff and great food in reasonable portions. Inventive with usual ingredients and creative with new ones. I've been there four times for dinner and five or six times for lunch and encourage all my friends to go too. Even the "background" music is exceptional Congratulations to Steve Logsdon for persisting in getting Lucca open.

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by Tanya

I've wanted to try Lucca's dinner since it opened. I've had several lunches, one breakfast, and now finally made it to dinner. The food at lunch is great, breakfast was fabulous (although I've heard they aren't doing Saturday breakfast anymore) and dinner was really wonderful. I had salmon and risotto that was amazing and got to taste two desserts, both were great. I'll agree with the other reviewers that the service isn't outstanding, but there wasn't anything offensive about our service, just nothing to rave about.

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by Scott

I was extremely disappointed with Basil's new restaurant, Lucca. After reading local reviews before the restaurant opened we were very excited to visit an upscale restaurant. As we walked in the door we greeted by a very unfriendly hostess who did not make us feel important. The waiter we had was was very arrogant and treated like we had never been to a "3 star" restaurant. On a good note, the entrees were simple but flavorful. Due to the service, we decided to cut our visit short however we notice that the desserts might be the restaurants only saving grace, they looked beautiful.

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by debra

What an enormous disappointment! This is nothing more than Basil Prosperi's mediocrity moved down a block. I am stunned to see a five star rating on this restaurant...even in Des Moines, a restaurant that delivers such horribly lacking service, a smelly open kitchen and marginal food ( dirt in my salad and over-cooked entree) should not be elevated to five star status. This attempt at a restaurant has a real "The Emporer's New Clothes" element to it. Des Moines wants so badly to belive that it is an up and coming, saavy and sophisticated culinary center that it blinds diners to the truth: that this is just a crummy place in a nice robe.

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by Tony

Nice restaurant with a unique style in a city like Des Moines. Reasonably priced at $25 a meal. Your money gets you a small plate to start with, a choice of one of 5 entrees, and finish with a cheese plate and olives. Of course you can order drinks and dessert in addition to the meal. The food is good and offers unique takes on some familiar ingredients. I felt the portion sizes were appropriate, but you will be let down if you're picturing chain restaurant portions. While I had a nice experience, Lucca gets 3 stars for several reasons. The room was unusually warm, this bothered me after a while. When you first walk in to the place, there is no one to greet or guide you. I guess they just intend for you to stand there and look confused until they spot you (this is what happened to my girlfriend and I). I find this annoying, especially when you've made reservations. Finally the service was slow. It wasn't horrible, but it was noticeable. After ordering, we had to wait 15-20 minutes to get our small plates. This was annoying since the dish I ordered was pre-made and setting on a ledge right next to our table. It was then another 15-20 minutes until the entree came out. This may not sound like much, but when serving a several course meal, timing is an important part of that. Ultimately the food would probably get four stars from me, but the intagibles brought the experience down. I would recommend for someone looking for unique menu options though. I'm sure the other stuff will be refined with time.

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by Samuel

I really wanted to give this place a higher rating, but my first experience in this restaurant was not very good. My girlfriend and I went to Lucca on a Friday night around 8:30pm. The restaurant was packed but the hostess was able to get us a table right away. Unfortunately this was the only great experience of the night. She sat us, came back within a minute to fill up our water glasses and she said our waiter will be right with us. 15 minutes later we still were sitting there with our waters, no menus, no wine list, and we hadn't seen our waiter yet. Also keep in mind the air conditioning wasn't working in the new building and the temperature outside was about 90 degrees. What was odd was we identified who our waiter was within the first minute of being there because he was serving our table to our left and to our right. He would look at us when he was dealing with the other tables but never would come to our table. Even odder was the person was an acquaintance of my girlfriend from college. Once he finally came to our table his greeting wasn't, "Welcome to Lucca, my name is "...", our specials tonight are "...". He just said, "What do you want to drink?" You get greeted better at McDonald's than at this place! I was stunned and almost laughing at the same time! We ordered some drinks, the hostess brought them over to us, and then the hostess brought us some menus. At this point we had been there for about a half hour and we had seen our waiter once. The rest of night the server was shoddy, the food was okay, and the cheese served as the last course was again just okay. Basically the server knew the total bill was going to be over $100 dollars and just expected to get a $20 tip regardless of how hard he really had to work for it. I've had better service at Applebee's. So at the end of the night I had paid $119 bucks, was still hungry, a little drunk, sweated through my undershirt, and decided to never go back there. I'm sure most of the bad experience was due to the place just opening, but it really should have been better.

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Tips for Basil Prosperi's Lucca from foursquare users

Danielle R.

Their lunch is fabulous! Had the roast beef - provolone and a greek salad. Sounds like a lot but perfect portions made it simple amazing. I'll for sure be going back.

4 people have done this and 1 other wants to

David C.

Go for lunch - Go for dinner. Just go.

3 people have done this

John H.

Easily one of the top restaurants in the metro. Try the risotto!

2 people have done this and 1 other wants to

joel m.

Wow the Bolognese is phenomenal! Try the salmon!!! Deece 3 1/2 stars out of 4!

1 person has done this and 1 other wants to

Wade M.

Pricey and worth every penny

1 person has done this


Try the IPA...

1 person has done this

Located in East Village