Bar Buca By Renee Suen
At the corner of King and Portland streets is a café with a tiny sign in the window that's easy to walk right by — but you'll be glad if you don't. Specializing in Italian dishes, Bar Buca is a cosy and contemporary eatery with fewer than 40 seats, most of which are shared at six-person tables with high stools. Bar Buca has created an industrial look, with thick cement posts, exposed pipes, and racks holding bottles of wine along the walls and up to the ceiling. The open kitchen means you can sit three feet from where the magic happens and still have a view of the bar at the front. Open from 7:00 AM to close every day of the week, Bar Buca is a much smaller version of its sister restaurant, Buca, located around the corner at 604 King Street West. You can find the Buca review here and Buca Yorkville review here.
Kitchen Bar In Buca Bar By Renee Suen
The café-bar offers a plethora of drinks to choose from — like cocktails, cappuccinos, lattes, and a particularly tasty "espresso bonbon" with condensed milk. To complement your coffee, Bar Buca has created a combination of brown sugar and coffee grains, which is a nice touch. Professionals in the area may just pop in for a quick drink, but the joint is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a selection of plates made for sharing. There's nothing better than starting your day off with a coffee in one hand and a warm croissant — with pear, chocolate or a nice jam — in the other. The croissants are baked to be perfectly flaky, with each buttery layer melting into the next — truly the best I've ever had.
Caffe Completo In Buca Bar By Renee Suen
The menu boasts an assortment of Italian dishes. At first sight, it may seem like you'll need a an interpreter, but the friendly servers (some with thick Italian accents) are happy to help you through the menu. You can choose from "small bites," cold plates, hot plates, skewers, fried dishes, and stuffed focaccia sandwiches. Highlights include the skewers: cuore, skewers of chianti marinated beef heart with robiola cheese and cipollini onions ($5), or mozzarella, a simple but delicious dish of amazingly fresh virgin mozzarella, with sweet tiny cillegini tomatoes and lemon leaf, lightly charred for flavour ($7). The best of the night was the porchetta sandwich because of its moist roast Tuscan pork, mascarpone, agliata sauce, and sweet apple mostarda ($11), which blended together harmoniously.
Mortadella Schiacciata In Buca Bar By Renee Suen
Also noteworthy is frico, a pizza-like dish of potato, buffalo yogurt, montasio, and scallions ($10), or the ciccioli — pork cheek, chili, and lemon ($4). Bar Buca's is an overwhelmingly carnivorous menu, and some dishes are heavy on the stomach, so they won't be to everyone's taste. Expect a busy place with attentive service, but not a great choice for diners interested in intimate conversation or private dining.
Overall, Bar Buca is a step into innovative and authentic Italian cuisine that's worth exploring. Buca (and Bar Buca) is set to launch a second location in the Four Seasons of Yorkville.