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If you’re in the mood for Italian food, I recommend Buca! This was our second visit here. I had recommended it to a co-worker who was raving about it the other day to me. Immediately, I had a craving to go back! It was already late in the afternoon on a Friday, but we decided to try our luck by calling in. Fortunately they said they could accommodate us but there was a reservation immediately after at 7, so we raced over to the restaurant.

Charcuterie Plate - Spicy pork sausage, pancetta and salami with a side of green dandelions, golden beets and beans

The restaurant entrance is located down a long alleyway near King and Bathurst. Buca has a dark, wine-cellar feel to it, with exposed brick and high ceilings. The seating area near the entrance has a busier, livelier feel, while the room on the other side of the restaurant is more intimate. On this visit, we were seated in the quieter room. After having our coats checked, we walked past a room with a glass window where you could see all the meat they cure hanging.

The service was excellent as our server was extremely helpful. Shortly after being seated, he came by to explain the menu to us, asking us if it was our first time here. I remember on our first visit, the server had taken the time to explain the menu to us, so we didn’t need to get reacquainted with the menu.

We started with the charcuterie plate. They have a wide assortment of cured meats available. You can either order 3 meats for $18 or 5 meats for $25. We selected 3 cured meats, all house-made, for $18. We chose the pancetta, spicy pork sausage and salami which were served with 3 small sides – sautéed green dandelions, golden beets and beans.  We both really enjoyed all the cured meats. Next time I’m definitely going to try some of their cheeses with the meats.

Eggplant Parmasan - Ricotta and creamy burrata sandwiched between crisp slices of eggplant

One thing to note about Buca is that they don’t have complimentary bread. So, we ordered 2 pieces of their herb bread ($1.50 each), as we needed something to eat with the cured meats. The bread came warm, and was nothing special. Another thing to add to my list of items to try next time I come is the garlic bread knots. I heard these taste pretty amazing.

Our second starter was the eggplant parmesan ($14). We had ordered this on our first visit after reading about this dish on Toronto Life. I used to really hate eggplant, but I started to change my mind about it since Mike orders eggplant pretty often. There were so many things I hated as a kid, but I’ve learned to enjoy as I’ve gotten older. I guess eggplant is one of those things! Buca’s eggplant parmesan was absolute perfection and even better than I remembered! The ricotta and the creamy burrata was sandwiched between perfectly crispy eggplant slices. This is easily one of my favourite dishes, anywhere – not just at Buca.

Bigoli - duck egg noodles with a duck ragu

For my main, I ordered the bigoli ($21) which consisted of duck egg noodles and duck ragu. This is also the second time I’ve ordered this dish, and it was as tasty as I had remembered. It was just a tad salty, but otherwise, delicious. The portion of this wasn’t very large, as you can see from the picture. But given the two appetizers we ordered, this was sufficient for me.



Mike ordered the pappardelle ($24) which was served meatless, in a butter sauce with truffle shavings on top.  The serving of this dish was particularly small, but was extremely delicious. This was probably one of the best pappardelle dishes I’ve had. Mike has a tendency to order this type of pasta whenever he sees it on the menu and I’m never very impressed, but I enjoyed this dish as much as mine, maybe even more.


We finished off our meal with the tiramisu ($12). It was the perfect way to end the meal! This was simply delicious. There was a layer of chocolate mousse in the middle and came topped with a thin layer of crisp sugar on top which gave the creaminess of the dessert a nice crunch. I was surprised that all the desserts were around $12, given that the pasta dishes were around $25. But the tiramisu was worth it! This was an amazing meal from start to finish. From the house-cured meats, to the fresh pasta and dessert, everything was excellent. I highly recommend Buca for a delicious italian meal!

At a glance:

  • What to order:
    • The fantastic house-cured meats
    • Start with the eggplant parmesan
    • The Bigoli – duck egg noodles and duck ragu
  • Friendly and helpful service
  • Small portions
  • The restaurant is tucked in an alleyway near King/Bathurst

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars

Buca on Urbanspoon

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