buca=bocca felice

Dined at Buca last night with some friends. It was my best restaurant experience I can remember having in Toronto in a long time.

The menu changes frequently, and seasonal and/or local ingredients like ramps, softshell crab, fiddleheads and rhubarb are common elements on the menu. After trying over a dozen dishes, as we passed our choices around the table, everything I tasted was good if not great, apart from the gelati which were ho-hum.

I don’t tend to order much flatcrust pizza, since I usually find it dry and somewhat boring, but the pizze at Buca were unlike any others I’ve tried. Light and crispy, the dough seemed to have more in common with pastry than a garden variety pizza. The toppings and the dough played together, rather than the dough acting as a vehicle for the toppings. Last night, I tasted the mortadella/ricotta/pesto pizza, as well as a white anchovy pizza and a pizza de patate.

While the pizze were the stars last night, the pastas, gnocchi and polenta were close runners up. Interesting sauces and textures.

The veal crudo, served with pine nuts and basil, was another dish that triggered the happy mouth.

Buca’s space is beautiful architecturally and it almost made me forget I was in Toronto for a few moments. The service was laidback and down-to-earth, but polished. Despite having a lot of buzz, Buca makes its clientele feel welcome, and I can’t wait to return.

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