New restaurant that just opened hidden beside Cheval. Authentic Italian food. Karmen suggested I should try because I like Terroni so much. Same owner as Brassaii

See the Toronto Life Review below.


On a cold Saturday night, we visited the restaurant.  Hidden behind in the alleyway, a glass door invites you to go downstairs and try some authentic Italian food.  The menu had so much variety. Although a little hard to read, unless you're familiar with Italian phrasing, and in addition to the dim lights, the appetizers are on the right, and the cured meats (in house) and cheeses to the left. It seems like the menu changes on a a regular basis, so i'm excited to try this place in the future.

2 room in the restaurant, one with a very high ceiling, with exposed bricks, give a really rustic feel. A smaller room at the back for more intimate dining, I guess.

They cure their own meats in a back room near the smaller dining room. you can choose 3 or 5 different types $15/25. It includes pork, lamb, and other delicacies.

We spent forever deciding. The Waiters were patient and VERY knowledgeable about the food.

From the appetizers we ordered the "garlic balls", or more officially, the Bread Knots or Nodini.
Crisp on the outside, tender on the side, infused with garlic, butter and sea salt. (I apologize for the weird orange photos, it was VERY dim in there, and no candles)

We also ordered the Crispy Artichokes. I'm not a fan of Artichokes, but it was yummy. But just an Artichoke tempura.

The Cervello Lamb sweet bread was SO flavourful and tender. Not sure what it was covered by, I believe a cured meat. Dip was a type of salsa.

For the mains, we decided to share because we wanted to try it all. I couldn't resist my favourite Spaghetti Alla Corbonara, with some pigs belly, mounds of cheese, black pepper and fresh hen's egg. They mixed it at the table. It was amazing, a bit salty, but the al dente pasta and all the flavours, was the best I've tasted.

The Gnocchi was the best. I should have listened. The best Gnocchi I think I've tasted. With Gorgonzola cheese sauce, with walnuts, the Gnocchi, was pillowy and incredibly soft. The crunchy walnuts was a perfect compliment.

The duck egg tagliatelle with duck ragù was okay. Salty a bit, but very full of flavour.

For dessert we shared a Calonni (not Canneloni). YUM... filled with a chocolate custard, and on top of Earl Grey infused sauce it was incredible.

I think this is my new favourite restaurant. And Terroni, i would love to go again. I feel like eating all of this all over again!!!

And i like the lights

Just opened: Buca

The brains behind Brassaii, Jacobs and Co. and soon-to-be-opened The Saint are adding yet another restaurant to their empire, this one tucked away in the alley beside Cheval on the ritzy King Street strip. The week-old Buca is serving Italian fare by executive chef Rob Gentile, a former sous-chef at One, Bymark and North 44°.

“The kind of food we do here is what you’ll eat at the family table in Italy. It’s the food I grew up with,” he says, sitting in Buca’s dimly lit back room, which will open to diners next week (Penelope Cruz enjoyed a private dinner when she was here for TIFF last month). He’s flanked by hanging meats that he cures himself. Every Thursday, an entire animal is brought in, and every part of it is used; even the pork fat is used to make shells for cannoli.)

Daily menus are printed and date stamped each morning. Prices are in the standard King Street range of $15 to $25, and the dishes fall into the usual categories: antipasti, pizza, pasta, meat, fish, small plates, raw. On the day we visited, dishes included an Ontario heirloom tomato salad ($12) with Gentile’s 30-year-old vinegar; duck egg tagliatelle with duck ragù ($18); and funghi pizza ($18) with lobster, mushrooms and mascarpone. Vegetarians need not be intimidated by the giant leg of prosciutto near the entrance; there are plenty of veggie options on the menus.

The space in which all of this is served used to be a boiler room. Co-owner Peter Tsebelis says he netted the place in November 2006 but had to delay the opening due to a moratorium on liquor licences in the area (it’s not just Ossington that’s too hip for the city). It’s easy to imagine that this was a 19th-century utility space; the old brick walls remain, set off by dark woods and bare light bulbs—the kind more commonly seen in a mine shaft. Though the restaurant looks effortlessly put together, the before picture is quite tragic: there was no floor, just sand and a giant boiler that had to be taken out in pieces. “The architecture of the place is very simple and clean,” says Tsebelis. “Much like the food.”

Buca, 602 King St. W., 416-865-1600.

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