A little background: Buca Osteria & Bar is much more than an Italian restaurant. In the spirit of the widely celebrated first location of Buca on King Street, the outpost in the heart of Yorkville is a place to be delighted by the restaurant’s trademark inventive, artisanal fare, rooted in Italian tradition. The coastal cousin to the original location, Buca Osteria & Bar offers a broader selection of fresh and impeccably prepared seafood including house-made salumi di mare, in addition to their much loved pizzas and pastas.
Critically acclaimed Chef Director Rob Gentile and Chef de Cuisine Ryan Campbell create the authentic cuisine Buca has consistently been celebrated for using the freshest, carefully selected ingredients and their passionate, creative approach to cooking. In the tradition of Italy’s renowned hospitality, guests can also arrive in the early morning hours for an espresso and handcrafted pastries or remain late into the evening to dine, savour and celebrate. Featuring warmly sophisticated décor and an open-concept kitchen, the restaurant’s warmth and inclusivity stand out, both of environment and ingredients. As each region of Italy has its own aesthetic and flavours, so does each outpost of the Buca family.
My visit: When Buca on King opened its doors in 2009, I fell in love after my first visit and I have returned several times ever since. I also visited their Italian style snack bar, Bar Buca, last year. This year, I decided to check out their outpost in the heart of Yokville where they place more emphasis on seafood.
The nodini soaked in rosemary, oil and garlic was the perfect appetizer to start our meal off and great for sharing. The warm bread knots were soft, garlicky and highly addictive.
Every time I go to Buca, I always order the bigoli and it was just as good as I remembered it. The fresh pasta was determinedly al dente and the ragu was stunningly delicious. The duck offal and mascarpone enhanced the dish with an irreplaceable element of richness.
The braised octopus and B.C. clams were cooked well and served on a bed of chewy fregola sarda which is like an Israeli couscous. The stock was laden in bone marrow and was a tad too salty but it didn’t bother me too much.
The warm cherry tart paired with a ricotta ice cream was baked to perfection. The crust was golden brown and the cherry filling was bubbling thickly.
But the panna cotta won my heart. Usually strawberries are added at the side but Buca gave their version a twist by setting the strawberry coulis in the center of the panna cotta so when I through it, the intense fruity sauce came oozing out. The addition of the meringue also gave something to bite into.
Verdict: After already going to both the original Buca and Bar Buca, it really wasn’t a surprise that Buca Yorkville was just as outstanding. The decor was modern meets rustic and the service was exemplary. I think that Buca Yorkville along with their other locations are certainly worth a visit.
Happy eating 🙂