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Being a huge fan of Buca (@bucatoronto), I couldn’t wait to try Bar Buca (@barbucatoronto), its sister restaurant located just down the street. The restaurant is located at the bottom of a condo building on Portland between King and Wellington. Blink and you’ll miss it…and what a shame that would be.

Bar Buca has more of a casual feel to it as it only has high-top and bar seating. Sit at the marble bar if you want to get a great view of the open kitchen. The space has a bit of an industrial feel and I loved the high ceilings. The front of the space features a coffee bar and take-out counter for the grab-and-go crowd.

The coffee bar/take-out counter

Mike and I were in the area on a Sunday and decided to drop by for brunch. It was around 12:30 and it wasn’t very busy at all. Thank goodness as I didn’t think my stomach would make it through a 1+ hour wait during prime bunch hour.

The interior

The brunch menu consists of sweet and savoury items as well as a selection of stuffed focaccia. As far as beverages go, they’ve got cocktails, the usual caffeinated suspects as well as specialty coffee drinks.

We both started out with a satisfying Americano ($2.60).

An Americano

To pair with our americanos, we ordered the Assaggi di Pasticceria – tasting of pastries ($14). I’m a sucker for “tasting” anything… they’re the best choice for indecisive folks like me who just want to try everything.

Assaggi di Pasticceria

The pastry tower consisted of a Cornetto Con Crema di Miele, Cannoli Siciliani, Biscotti alla Semolina, Biscotti con Marmellata, Torta Cioccolatino, Amaretti Siciliani, Pizzelle (with chestnut and brown sugar), Bocconotto and a Bombolone.

Cornetto & Bombolone

Can you say sugar coma? Mike and I were a little ambitious but I wanted to try ‘em all! My favourite was definitely the cornetto. While it may look similar to a croissant, it’s a little denser and not quite as flakey. This particular version was filled with a delicious custard. Other highlights included the bombolone, an Italian filled doughnut. While the doughnut itself wasn’t mind-blowing, I really loved the lemon pistachio filling which had just the right amount of sweetness.

Pizzelle, Biscotti alla Semolina & Torta Cioccolatino

Also noteworthy was the cannoli which was filled with ricotta, orange zest, chocolate chips and garnished with candied orange and pistachios. We actually took this one to go and the delicate shell and filling held up surprisingly well.

We wanted an egg dish so we decided on the Uova Strapazzate – mixed variety farm eggs, burrata, truffle ($14). It’s not brunch without eggs, right? The eggs were well cooked and that burrata… SO good. It was a simple but well executed and perfectly seasoned dish.

Uova Strapazzate

With a selection of stuffed foccacia which will make you drool just reading the menu, we had to order one. We decided on the Porchetta Schiacciata – roast Tuscan pork, farm eggs, mostarda ($12). As you can probably tell from the pictures, it’s an incredibly greasy (and salt-heavy) dish but I guarantee that it’s totally worth the calories.

Porchetta Schiacciata

The focaccia bread was really crispy and held up well against the runny egg and juicy, fatty porchetta. The sandwich had a bit of mustard in it was a nice touch as it complemented the porchetta nicely. After the pastry tower and eggs, we thought we’d only eat half of this and save the rest to-go. But the sandwich was just too delicious and we ended up polishing it all off.

Porchetta Schiacciata

On another occasion, we tried the Ammazza Fegato – Tuscan offal sausage, faro, cavolo nero, porcini, farm egg ($14) which is also available during brunch. The thin offal sausages were packed full of flavour and sat in a wonderful broth. From the sausage to the faro, each and every component of this dish was nothing short of delicious.

Ammazza Fegato

I don’t think I need to tell you that I’m a big fan of Bar Buca. After a satisfying brunch here, I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

At a glance:
• Tapas snack bar/café located on Portland between King and Wellington, a short walk from its sister restaurant Buca
• Executive Chef Rob Gentile
• Dropped by for brunch around 12:30 on a Sunday; no wait
• Open Mon to Fri 7am to 2am; weekends from 8am (brunch from 10am to 4pm)
• No reservations
• Must-orders: Ammazza Fegato and Porchetta Schiacciata

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars

Bar Buca on Urbanspoon

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