“Buona Sera” and “Prego” are Buca’s staff most used words. From the moment you enter the premises to the moment you leave, all you hear is Italian. All you eat and taste is Italian, and even the menu items have their original Italian names. So with this, I have decided to dive deep into Chef Rob Gentile’s food by tasting his dishes in two different occasions. After all, when is Italian ever too much?
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Starting with the Nodini, I begin my journey into the master pieces Gentile has created. Nodini are warm bread knots with olive oil, rosemary and garlic…tons of garlic. These are mostly known by locals as “garlic balls” and eaten with frequency as part of the course of appetizer items.

The texture of the Nodini is crunchy yet soft and the olive oil melts in your mouth and drips on your fingers as you bite into them. Although I would prefer a rather smaller portion of the Nodini to come as a compliment to the meal (Buca charges for the bread), I have to say this is a must order item from the menu.

Next in the journey is the famous Bigoli pasta. I say famous because Buca’s menu changes often and the Bigoli always makes it on both the lunch and dinner menu.

Buca Toronto

Bigoli pasta

Bigoli is a hand crafted egg pasta with duck ragu, basil and mascarpone cheese. The best part of this dish is definitely the taste of the fresh hand-made pasta. The duck is heavily present through the dish and the basil gives it a nice herb-like taste. The mascarpone is a nice touch as well, but in my mind it lessens the intensity of the duck ragu. A nice stronger Italian cheese would make this dish stand out more, but then again this is my personal preference.

Buca’s famous scissors-ready hand made pizzas, also made it on my must order list of items.

Buca Toronto

Mortadella Pizza

Chef Gentile prides himself on serving great charcuterie style dishes and continues to carry on his theme by adding cured meats to his variety of pizzas. The Mortadella pizza is certainly one of them. Drizzled with a light pesto sauce and based with a creamy cheese, this white flat bread pizza is one that you would want to cut with your scissors all night long.

Jumping back to the pastas, on my second visit I decided to switch up my order and get the Orecchiette pasta.

Buca Toronto

Orecchiette pasta

I would have to compliment Chef Gentile on finally introducing brussel sprouts, currently my fave veggie, into traditional Italian pastas. I personally never thought you could add it to a pasta well enough to make it taste good. To my surprise and delight, I was proven wrong.

Orecchiette is a kind of pasta originally form the region of Puglia. Traditionally made with rapini, broccoli and green beans, this pasta is known for its “ear” shape style. Knowing that scallops and bacon go well together, Buca introduces a pasta that mixes the best of the sea with B.C. scallops with the best of the pig, with some nice pancetta (aka Italian bacon). And if this wasn’t enough, brussel sprouts, white beans and a touch of butter will definitely have you asking for seconds and thirds. I personally like the way the scallops were thinly sliced to maintain the dishe’s size consistency and not overpower any of the other ingredients by making it just a “scallop” pasta. Grazie Chef Gentile.

Last but not least on this delicious journey, and probably one of the best Italian desserts I have had is Buca’s Tiramisu.

Buca Toronto

Buca’s Tiramisu

Yum, Yum, Yum. These are all the words I have for Buca’s Tiramisu. The first Yum is for the delicious brûlée crust which gave this dessert a nice crème brûlée feel to it. The second Yum is for the incredible taste of the creamy mascarpone and various layers of creamy goodness in between; and the third Yum is for the bottom-filled dessert with some nice espresso sauce, which made me go deep with my spoon. Into the dessert, of course!

Until next time Foodies!

Buen Provecho,
Foodies Inked.

Dining Experience: Lunch and Dinner
Venue: Buca
Location: 604 King Street West, Toronto, ON
Menu items: Nodini, Bigoli, Mortadella Pizza, Orecchiette and Tiramisu
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