After a couple of years, Buca Osteria & Bar, the long-awaited and highly anticipated new restaurant in Toronto’s posh Yorkville corner, has opened. Buca Osteria & Bar — which sits next door to Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Toronto — marks the third location Buca’s Italian restaurant empire, after the original Buca on King West and the more casual snack bar concept, Bar Buca.
Already nicknamed Buca Yorkville, the establishment offers “all the things you love about Buca on King but with an emphasis on Italian cuisine from the coastal regions,” echo executive chef Rob Gentile and chef de cuisine Ryan Campbell. Because of a menu filled with savory options, like double-stuffed lobster ravioli and braised octopus with clams and bone marrow, the restaurant has become the most buzzed-about spot in the city after only about two months since opening. Here’s everything else you need to know about Buca Yorkville.
Seafood is the star
Buca fan favorites such as the nodini (garlic bread knots), burrata pizza and bigoli (duck egg pasta) endure on the menu, but fried pig ears and crisp, pillowy dumplings are exchanged for their seafood versions: Pacific cod tongues and a blackened, squid ink version of the same Tuscan treat. A daily menu provides whole fish options that are sliced and served tableside. Also, instead of charcuterie, fish has been smoked or cured to give the same effect, like the hot-smoked eel or octopus salami. The raw portion of the menu includes oysters, a sea bass carved at the table and finished with prosecco and lemon, and the impressive crudo misto platter, which is a daily selection of seafood for four.
There’s a great tasting menu
Launched in early November, Buca Yorkville’s 19-course tasting menu is available for only six lucky diners per night. Perched at the chef’s rail, you get an exclusive epicurean experience from the best seats in the house — overlooking the open kitchen. Courses are inspired by Buca’s signature dishes as well as seasonal ingredients from around the world. The three-hour dinner (you must be seated before 8:30 p.m.) costs $180 for food and an additional $100 for wine pairings, per person.
The wine cellar is big and, as expected, heavily Italian
While Buca has always offered excellent wines, here wine director Giuseppe Marchesini provides robust Italian varietals, including a strong list of whites that pair well with the seafood-heavy menu. You’ll also find bold reds, like Barbaresco, Barolo, Brunello and Amarone. The list features many small producers from remote winemaking regions — offered exclusively at Buca Yorkville — such as the biodynamic Vigna d’Alceo from Castello dei Rampolla.