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Bar Buca - reservation?

I heard that Bar Buca is open! Does anyone have a number I can call to TRY and get a reservation? TIA!

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  1. If it's actually open, it's a soft opening or friends and family only, I kind of doubt it as Robb Gentile is currently on vacation.

    1. I assume you can just call Buca. If you do, please report back as Bar Buca on Portland looked like it was still papered up today when I went by.

      I also heard it was open so maybe I am mistaken. Or perhaps they have simply taken the 'we don't need a sign" ego to the next level where they don't even have to take the paper down!?

      1. Called and confirmed that Bar Buca will be open on January 27th :)

        1. Looks like it's open. He's showing yummy pics on Instagram.

          5 Replies
          1. re: kwass

            Drove by earlier...didn't look open at a glance.

            1. re: justsayn

              Hmmm....that's odd! Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the pics are just teases ;)

              1. re: kwass

                It's tough to tell driving by but I will find out for sure tomorrow!

                1. re: kwass

                  It's open

                  At least for now it's no reservations.

            2. I just read on instagram that he will be opening the front cafe as of tomorrow.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kwass

                OK - that explains it. Looked closed again to me!

              2. Bar Buca's opening day is today! They are generously giving free coffee -- espresso, lattes, whatever you want. Lovely atmosphere, lots of wines by the glass and an Enomatic machine, too.

                18 Replies
                1. re: kellyoyo

                  Whoever goes today, we need a full report :)

                  1. re: kwass

                    I am not big on rating first openings but BUCA is experienced and the menu is tiny, so here goes.

                    I found the coffee (americano) to be about as weak and flavourless as a cup of fresh brewed Tim Hortons.

                    They have about 5 or 6 sandwiches available at lunch, 2 of which were cut up as breakfast bites. I tried the mozza/tomato served on focaccia. They warm it for you in a toaster oven. MIne wasn't very warm. The focaccia was much too dry and overall it was a boring breakfast bite. It may be worth the $2.50 but it doesn't satisfy for $1.50, let alone $2.50. They need to take a lesson from Forno Cultura (around the corner) on what a sandwich is supposed to taste like.

                    Here's the good part Kwass! Many delicious cookies and pastries on display. DELICIOUS looking!! So I fell in and tried the chocolate coronet (croissant). Each bite got better and better. The texture was perfect. Perfect balance of butter. And the chocolate was sensational!! I MUCH prefer this soft, oozing chocolate filling over the French style chocolate sticks! It is addictive!

                    Bad cup of coffee? Maybe. I will ask for less water next time and see what I get.

                    Place looks great. Love the wine racks across the wall.

                      1. re: happycamper

                        Nobody else there. No soft baked cookies that I saw. This was a chocolate croissant I had.

                        1. re: justsayn

                          sorry misread your coronet review for cookies. Definitely worth a visit. Thanks for the followup.

                      2. re: justsayn

                        Can't wait to go and try the pastries/cookies justsayn!! Thanks for the report!!

                        1. re: justsayn

                          1/2 the water did the trick for a delicious americano. Focaccia bites still looked extremely unappetizing. The chocolate pastry was fantastic again!! Place is already getting busy with a morning rush.

                          1. re: justsayn

                            You didn't try the bombolone? That's what I'm really dying to try :)

                            1. re: kwass

                              I would have but no evidence of it! : (

                              1. re: justsayn

                                Awww...that's too bad!

                                I was going to go on Monday, but I think I'm going to go Sunday now, so I'll give a full report Sunday night. Hopefully they have the bombolone on Sunday, so I'll let you know how it is :)

                              2. re: kwass

                                Yes please do report on the bombolone! My current standard for it is Sud Forno's version: if you can get it fresh its heavenly!

                                1. re: thecupcakegal

                                  Sud Forno is my standard too! Love love love their bombolone. I will definitely report back!

                          2. re: kwass

                            Okay, here is my full report. Just got back from supper at Bar Buca. I didn't take notes so this is all just from memory -- oh, and I stole the menu and wine list (just photocopied pages so nothing too heinous there).

                            The room is small. I didn't count the covers but it looked like no more than 9 tables of 4 covers each, plus a few seats along the coffee bar and wine bar. The bar has an Enomatic machine with (I think) 8 wines, all reds.

                            WINE LIST (all Italian wines)

                            4 Sparkling wines, 3 by the glass available in 2.5 and 5 oz pours. 5 oz glasses $9-24.

                            8 Whites, 4 by the glass, only 5 oz pours, $8-$12.50

                            1 Rose, available by the glass, also in full and half pours, $11 for 5 oz.

                            17 Reds, 11 available by the glass, some in half pours, $9-33 for 5 oz.

                            Assessment: Bar Buca is bending to trend by short changing the whites on their wine list, and as a white wine drinker that irritates me. Italy has good whites! However, I really appreciate the half pour options. At the top end of the reds they have an Umbrian sagrantino for $15 the half pour and an amarone for $16.50 -- 2.5 oz should be enough of those for anyone. Nice work.

                            Other drinks: 13 whiskeys at $6-$23; 7 amaro and grappa choices for $5-18; 10 cocktails $8-16; only one beer (Peroni).


                            The menu is divided into small bites ($3-6), fritti ($5-9), cold plates ($6-9), stuffed focaccia ($9-12), hot plates ($9-14), and skewers ($5-8), with 4 to 6 options in each.

                            We had:
                            Nodini (bread knots, rosemary, garlic) $3
                            Carciofi (baby artichokes, bergamot zabaglione) $6
                            Coniglio (rabbit legs, colonnata spices) $9
                            Insalata Siciliana (sicilian fennel salad, puffed veal tendon, garum) $7
                            Polpette di Capra (sicilian style goat and ricotta meatballs) $14
                            Ammazzafegato (Tuscan offal sausage, farro, cavolo nero, poricini, hen's egg) $14
                            Cannoli $1.75
                            Torta cioccolatino $1

                            Assessment: Tasty, tasty, tasty. Everything very well prepared and delicious.

                            My only complaint is that the portions were generally too small (and we are not big eaters), except for the Ammazzafegato which was a perfect modest serving for the price and the desserts which were teeny but packed with flavour and extremely well priced.

                            The only disappointment of the evening was when we ordered the bread knots at the last minute to soak up the sauce from the meatballs and sausage, but they were such little morsels (even for $3) that they couldn't do the job (though they were hot and tasty). Similarly, the cariofi were too small a serving (amounted to 3 very small bites each), but the accompanying zabaglione sauce was terrific. A third of a step up in serving size would probably make every guest happy.

                            Star dish of the evening was the Ammazzafegato offal sausage which was the most tender meat I've ever had and made a gorgeous texture contrast with the firm farro. The sausage was over-salty but they'll work that out pronto. And the cannoli was the best I've had outside of Sicily.

                            Attentive, low key, charming, and well coordinated. I would never have believed this was opening day. The place was packed when we left at 6PM so I think they'll have a busy evening.

                            Hours are 7AM opening weekdays, 8 weekends, open until 2AM apparently. I will go back in the mornings for very tasty bitter-smooth espresso.

                            1. re: kellyoyo

                              Thanks for the report kellyoyo. It sounds awesome!

                        2. Here are some pictures of the restaurant and some of the food, as well as a quick write-up:


                          4 Replies
                          1. re: kwass

                            Thanks! Pancakes look wicked!

                            Wait til you try the Chocolate Coronetti! It may have too much chocolate filling for some...but no such thing for me!

                            http://www.torontolife.com/galleries/... In the forefront.

                            1. re: justsayn

                              Don't they? I can't wait to try those pancakes, and the apple bombolone!!

                              1. re: justsayn

                                I wonder if that tasting plate is available to go? I want everything on it :)

                                And that chocolate coronet does look pretty damn good!!

                            2. So...here's the good with the bad. I went this morning, but as I always do, I got there too early. The things I wanted to try the most were those delicious looking pancakes and the bombolone. As it turns out, they don't start serving brunch until 10, and the bombolone are never ready before 10. I so wish I had known that! Disappointed as I was, I made due with what they did have. And I can't say that a hardship by any means :)

                              I ended up getting the Cornetto, but not the chocolate one. This one was dusted with powdered sugar and filled with the most delicious filling. The woman behind the counter said it was some sort of citrus filling, but it tasted like apple to me, and it was scrumptious!!

                              Next I got a cannoli, which was one of the best cannoli's I've ever had! Justsayn, if you like Sud Forno's cannolis, Bar Buca's version is even better!! The shell was unbelievable crunchy, and the filling was really really yummy!!

                              I got 2 different types of cookies. The Biscuit marmellata, which was a type of butter cookie with powdered sugar and jam, and the torta nonna, which had pine nuts on top and some sort of pastry cream in the middle. The jam cookie was good, but nothing memorable. The torta nonna, however, was unbelievable!! Definitely something for everyone to try!!

                              So, overall, I thought the pastries were top-notch! But I'm still sad that I didn't get to try the things that I really wanted to try. That said, I'll go back a little later in the morning in a couple of weeks, so that I can try the pancakes and the bombolone.

                              17 Replies
                              1. re: kwass

                                Awesome to hear! I hope they keep expanding their pastry line!

                                Meanwhile, you have some treats to look forward to! : )

                                1. re: justsayn

                                  I hope so too! What they do, they do well, so it would be nice if they did more of it :)

                                  And yes, I'm definitely looking forward to trying the elusive bombolone and the pancakes.

                                  Finally, you have to try the cannoli justsayn, and let me know what you think!

                                  1. re: kwass

                                    I will for sure!!! Thanks!!!!

                                    I hope they dramatically improve the sandwich offering at breakfast!

                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      I didn't even look @ the sandwiches, but I have a feeling he's still tweaking things.

                                      On a different note, I find it odd when restaurants open @ a certain time, but don't have everything available @ opening. Sud Forno does this as well.

                                      1. re: kwass

                                        I suppose it has to do with all of the prep time early in the am and then only having so much oven space to do all the baking. Spreading things out is much more manageable. It also means more fresh things coming out through the day which can be seen as a plus!

                                        1. re: justsayn

                                          I'm sure you're right about only having so much oven space in which to bake. And yes, it is a plus to have freshly baked pastries throughout the day :)

                                          1. re: kwass

                                            All of these places are walking distance for me from both home and work so I guess I'm just fortunate to not be affected by their timing!

                                            Whereas Nu Bagel upsets me that they aren't open by 8.

                                            1. re: justsayn

                                              I hear ya!! As an early riser, I wish things got started earlier in this city!!

                                              I'm going to be around there tomorrow too, so I might call and see if they'll put a bombolone aside for me until I can make it in, in the afternoon.

                                              1. re: kwass

                                                I found all of the servers to be more than gracious! I have no doubt that they will do that for you!

                                                1. re: justsayn

                                                  That's good to know. Thanks justsayn!!

                                                  1. re: justsayn

                                                    So I called today to ask if they could put a bombolone aside for me. But, as it turns out, they're only available Sunday @ brunch. That's why no one has been able to try one yet.

                                                    1. re: kwass

                                                      AHA! They need to open a bakery. Nuff said!

                                  2. re: kwass

                                    Holy Cannoli!! Fantastic. Off the top of my head I feel the edge should go to Buca. I agree it could be the very best! Need to do a side by side with Sud Forno version. They are very similar.

                                    1. re: justsayn

                                      They are very similar!! But I think Buca definitely has the better version, even if it's just slightly better :)

                                      I'd love for you to do a side by side comparison. You know what? I think I'm going to do one too. I originally planned to go to Buca today, but I'm going to go next Sunday instead. So after I go to Buca, I'l just head over to Sud for a cannoli. I'll let you know the results :)

                                  3. Dumb question.... Do they take dinner reservations, or strictly first come first served? Thanks!
                                    Food and descriptors by KWass and kellyoyo were fabulous! :)

                                      1. I went this morning for brunch, and OMG...I was totally blown away!!

                                        I had the crespelle, which is their version of a pancake. But don't be fooled! It's so much more than a simple pancake. It's fried, but not the least bit greasy. And it had the most incredible texture. Crispy on the outside, and super soft on the inside.

                                        The crespelle are stacked...3 to an order. And in between each pancake is what essentially amounts to a deconstructed cannoli...sweetened ricotta, orange peel, and chopped pistachios. And wait...it gets better! They finish it off with grappa infused maple syrup. Well...let's just say it's the bomb...ridiculously good!!! A definite "must try"!

                                        I also had the apple cream bombolone, but I didn't have it until a few hours later, which was probably a mistake. It wasn't as fresh as it would have been if I had eaten it right away. That said, the flavours were incredible!!

                                        Finally, I did what I said I would do, which is a side by side comparison of the cannoli from Bar Buca and the cannoli from Sud Forno. Coming up with a winner wasn't easy, but I settled on BB. Both had a very crispy shell. The Sud Forno version was light with a nice citrus flavour. While the BB version also had a nice citrus flavour, there was more depth to the filling. There was something else in the filling that brought it to another level. Definitely the winner IMO.

                                        And that's that! A very delicious and productive day :)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: kwass

                                          A fried pancake? That almost sounds like a pancake and funnel cake hybrid but 100x times better with the sweetened ricotta and pistachios. That sounds so good.

                                          1. re: Nevy

                                            It was incredible Nevy!! But it wasn't like a funnel cake @ all. In fact, if it weren't for how crispy it was on the outside, I wouldn't even say that it was fried, because it didn't have the heaviness of something that's been fried.

                                        2. Can someone comment on their savory options for brunch? I am thinking of hitting it up tomorrow morning as I won't be far from that area. The crespelle that kwass mentioned below sounds really good but I think I should stick to something savory :)

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: ylsf

                                            They don't have a menu online, but I saw this on one of the reviews " turkey, goose and duck eggs are scrambled with burrata and topped with shaved truffles". It looks pretty good. I'm sure they have lots of other savoury things on the menu as well.

                                            There are pics of this dish in the Toronto Life review, if you want to take a look at it.

                                            1. re: ylsf

                                              So I ended up going twice this weekend.

                                              On Saturday I ate in and had the eggs dish with truffles and burrata. The eggs were not really scrambled (more like a thin omelette) so I am not sure if it is the same dish that kwass mentioned from the review (I didn't go to Toronto Life to look at the pics). but there was a good amount of truffle and burrata on it and I enjoyed it. Comes with two peices of toast too that were great. Was around $12 or $13 but it hit the spot.

                                              On Sunday I went by to get a porchetta sandwich to go. I enjoyed it as well but it is pricey at like $12. On the weekend you have the option to have an egg on it for free so I did that. I enjoyed the sandwich but I am not sure if I would spend $12 on it again. I saw on the overhead menu board that the whole menu is available for takeout though.

                                              The place was JAMMED on the Sunday around 1pm, on Saturday around 10am it was definitely quieter.

                                              1. re: ylsf

                                                That was the egg dish I was talking about. Glad you enjoyed it ylsf!

                                                1. re: kwass

                                                  Dropped by yesterday whilst waiting to get a flat tire fixed down the street.
                                                  Cool looking place,good Americano, The pastries didn't look that exciting and the "barista" kept calling me buddy. Very annoying....

                                            2. I went to Bar Buca for brunch yesterday and they have a new (at least it was new to me) menu item in their cafe. They're called zeppolini, and they're essentially doughnut holes with cinnamon sugar, crushed nuts and some sort of glaze on the outside, with a delectable pastry cream on the inside. They are insanely delicious!