for my 3 year anniversary, I went to BUCA (@bucatoronto) on King and Portland. In Italian, BUCA means “hole” and in this sense, “hole in the wall” – a kind of hidden gem if you may. “Hole in the wall” may not seem attractive one bit, but this place was just that, in the coolest way possible. We had to pass through an alleyway, where we pushed through a set of thick curtains to unveil what was BUCA. High ceilings, exposed brick, and an unrefined basement-type setting – I was immediately intrigued.
what makes this place so great though, (other than the unpolished and rustic feel that has Jamie Oliver written all over it or the huge hunks of meat hanging in clear view) was the fact that the menu changes daily based on the meats and cheeses that the chef dubbs” best served” on that particular day.
unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t ideal for food photography so these pictures don’t really do the dishes justice – I guess you will just have to experience it for yourself one day!
we started our meal off with a chef’s selection of meat and cheeses. It came on a rustic wooden board, paired with an assortment of spreads. (3 choices of meats and cheeses for $19 and $17 respectfully).
in the platter, we had Buffalo Ricotta infused with mint and lemon (super light), a hard goats cheese (crumbly texture) and a semi-soft Le Tour A La Ricotta (cheese with a slight bite). As for meats, we were given duck breast, coppa (comes from the front collar bone area) and sopressata. The spreads ranged from a sweet jam, to honey and pear marmalade, bitter kale and pickled beats – it was fun to experiment with all the different flavours. Along with this platter, we ordered roasted garlic and rosemary mini-buns – a perfect pairing.
see what I mean about the lighting? Anyway, it was quite a challenge to decide on wine because this place has such a large selection! What impressed me the most, though, was when our server brought over the in-house wine connoisseur. We informed him with the mains we planed to order and he helped us decide on this Italian 2008 red. It was easily one of the best wine’s I’ve ever had ($65).
here’s a clearer shot of the label.
for our mains, we decided to go with a pizza and pasta to split. For pizza, we went with the Fungi. It was an easy choice because I instantly become sold at “gorgonzola”. It was also a fun one to share because it came on yet another rustic wooden board, uncut and served with a pair of shears.
as for pasta, we decided on the oxtail ragu gnocci (again, gnocci is a selling point for me). At this point, we were quite full but managed to get through it regardless because the sauce was devine. I didn’t manage to snap a picture unfortunately 😦
overall, BUCA was a memorable experience and I will definitely return sometime in the near future 🙂