Celebrating birthdays at Buca Toronto

Before getting into the birthday post, I have to highlight Buca’s sopresini alle vongole ($32), which is one of my favourite pastas - good ol’ spaghetti with clams. At the restaurant, they swap out the long strands of noodles for beautiful calla lily shaped pasta from Emilia Romagna, which are great for capturing the citrusy tomato sauce. Without a shell in site, large pieces of tuatua clams are strewn throughout for satisfying meaty bites.

Now, back to the post…

Some restaurants will have staff sing you Happy Birthday, while most simply stick a candle into a dessert to commemorate the occasion. At Buca, they outdo themselves by giving the birthday person a gift: a chef presents a box of ingredients for capacite pepe spaghetti, a black pepper pasta topped with pecorino.

Along with a quick three-step recipe, you can treat yourself (and perhaps a friend) to an Italian meal in the days to come. It’s a surprisingly thoughtful gesture that makes me wonder why I don’t go to Buca for my birthdays.

Of course, they also have a variety of desserts to ensure the party ends sweetly. A glowing candle arrives in the tiramisu du Buca ($14). While the dessert incorporates the traditional zabaglione and mascarpone mixture, it also contains a generous dollop of chocolate mousse and substitutes tapioca biscuits for lady fingers. The tiramisu is too creamy and sweet for my tastes, but if you enjoy a budino, this has a similar feel.

Give me the frittelle ($14) any day, little bite-sized deep fried buffalo ricotta fritters, paired with zabaglione and blood orange tasting quince. Compared to other desserts it’s simple and safe, but great for balancing out the heavier pasta and pizza combination from earlier in the meal.

Aside from the Italian fare, Buca is known for their use of blood and offal. Pork blood makes its way into the torta di sanguinaccio ($14) where it’s mixed into dark chocolate to create a luxuriously creamy concoction that would put a flourless torte to shame. It’s then doused with liqueur table side and set on fire, perhaps to help melt the chocolate, but unfortunately causes the tonka bean gelato to run as well. I did enjoy the boozy taste it adds to the dessert – trust me you won’t taste a drop of pig’s blood.

Overall, it was one of the better meals I’ve experienced at the restaurant. Thank you Buca for the capacite pepe, a brilliant gift for the birthday girl. What a great idea, so much so that I’m enticed to return in May, for my celebration. 

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 604 King Street West

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