Buca…..King St West, Toronto

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This was one of my favourite meals. Initially we made dinner plans at Spice Route but at the last minute they called to say we had to leave by eight o’clock since they had a company function. We had made reservations for 7 a week in advance. I was pretty steamed about this and do not plan on going there any time soon. I’ve already heard horror stories about their service but to be treated so rudely before getting to a restaurant is unbelievable.

We decided to go to Blowfish instead but they were closed for renovations so we walked down the street to Buca. This was an extremely cold day so we were pretty grumpy but upon being ushered into Buca, we were in awe of the high ceilings and brilliant light installation in this hidden Italian restaurant.

It’s easy to miss Buca if you don’t locate the dime sized red sign but definitely worth finding. Although we did not have reservations the host gave us the option of sitting at the chef’s table (an elevated large dining table close to the open kitchen). We were only a party of four so we asked if we could sit somewhere else. He quickly found us a table to our relief and I ordered a drink immediately. The food here was absolutely delicious. For starters we got the bruschetta and nodini, warm bread knot. The cured duck yolk in the bruschetta complimented it beautifully.

As a main I went for the ravioli with braised goose, foie gras, and roasted squash. The presentation was great and the taste sublime. This was my first time having goose and it tasted a lot like char siu (BBQ pork). We also got the Branzino (grilled sea bass) a simple and very well executed dish, Bigoli (duck egg pasta) which had great smoky flavors, and another pasta dish.

The service here was great and I loved the ambience a lot. Make sure to try the tiramisu and if you don’t decide to get dessert you will be glad to know that complimentary coconut macaroons come at the end of the meal.

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Destingo…..Queen St West, Toronto

Food & Drink

Destingo is a large contemporary Italian restaurant located at 741 Queen St West It definitely stands out from the smaller eateries and restaurants like Harlem Underground in the area. I’ve been here twice for lunch during the weekday when it is relatively calm and quiet so I can’t speak to how loud it gets during the evening, but it’s a nice spot for a quick lunch with a friend. The glass windows let in a lot of naturally light and the decor is rustic and inviting. The first time I got the Agnolotti which was a bit too al dente. The second time around I opted for the lasagna which was delicious on such a cold winter day. The portions are large and prices are reasonable.

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Epicure Cafe…..Queen St W, Toronto

Food & Drink

We had planned on going to Tequila Bookworm for lunch but for some reason it was closed so we walked two doors down to Epicure instead. It’s a small little cafe with lots of pasta options.  Aside from their regular lunch menu they also have a few selected items on their special 20 minute lunch menu consisting of pasta, wraps, and sandwiches. Basically if you don’t get your order in 20 minutes, it’s free! Each dish comes with a complimentary non-alcoholic drink.

The food took a little longer than twenty minutes to arrive, but the food was solid and definitely reasonably priced. I wasn’t blown away but would definitely come back to sample other dishes since I’m a hardcore pasta lover. And in comparison to other restaurants in this area,  like Gusto and Cibo, $10-13 for a pasta dish is quite a good deal.

 

Veal with Bowtie Pasta

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Decor

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Cibo Wine Bar…..King St W, Toronto

Food & Drink

Apparently Cibo Wine Bar is a celebrity hotspot during TIFF (The Toronto International Film Festival) and it’s easy to see why.  It’s a very spacious venue with a rustic feel  and individually decorated private rooms in the back.

The complimentary bread and olives were delicious, still warm from the oven and nicely seasoned. My friend got the rigatoni while I decided on the taglitelle with porcini mushrooms in a light cream sauce. Since we were there for lunch our mains were about $16 each, which is a bit on the pricy, but the portions were huge (even the salads were enormous) and it is definitely a great place to host a party or special event.

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Mixed Green Salad

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Tagliatelle

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Private Room

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Decor

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