Buca, Toronto

We wouldn’t blame you if you’ve forgotten about Buca. When the Toronto restaurant project was first announced, there was reason to take notice. After all, this is another restaurant from the team behind Brassaii and Jacobs and Co, neither of which are low-profile restaurants in the slightest. But Gus Giazitzidis, Peter Tsebelis and their ubiquitous ownership team were justifying themselves to Toronto’s puritanical liquor license board (a tough group to please) and converting the former boiler room space into a restaurant, we kind of forgot about Buca.

Now, over a year later, we’re happy to announce that Buca is just about ready to open its doors to the public. It would be easy to think that a restaurant that long in the making would be bloated and overthought, but Buca’s concept is first and foremost about restraint. In his design of the space Guido Costantino built around and emphasized the elements of the pre-existing heritage building, creating a large and airy, yet understated main dining room with soaringly high ceilings, exposed raw brick, and iron beams. Towards the back, beyond the open curing room, a smaller wine bar is a bit more sleek and private.

The menu follows the design (or vice versa), opting for simplicity over showiness. Executive chef Rob Gentile earned his stripes over the last decade working with Mark McEwan at One and North 44, but he learned just as much from his Italian grandmother. The menu aims to combine the ingredient specificity of rustic Italian cuisine with the culinary finesse of fine dining, building recipes around fresh and seasonal produce, but using a number of classical culinary techniques as well. Endlessly compartmentalized into Pizza, Pasta, Carne, Formaggi, Pesce, Piatti Freddi (small plates), Fritti (fried dishes), and salumi (house-cured meats), the restaurant allows you to have as elaborate a meal as you see fit. Like a wine programme, the more artisinal the ingredients, the more expensive the dish can be, creating a pricing system that is accessible to both high end and low end customers.

You may have a bit of trouble finding Buca (it’s located through a semi-gated alley next to Cheval), but once you get there, you’ll remember why you were excited about Buca all those months ago.

Address: 602 King St W, Toronto, ON
Contact: 416-865-1600
Cuisine: Italian
Area: King West
Venue: Restaurant
Hours: Sun. to Wed.: 11:00am – 3:00pm
5:00pm – 10:00pm
Thu. to Sat.: 11:00am – 3:00pm
5:00pm – 12:00am
Price Range: $$$ (Within Reach)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express

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