La Buca
I owed a friend a fancy dinner so I took her and her friend to La Buca. I paid but I made her guest blog. Below is her review.

We arrived at La Buca for our 7:30 reservation, but our table wasn't ready so we were made to stand in the tiny doorway behind a thick brown curtain that separated us from the main dining room. We stood there awkwardly feeling like we were in a change room at Aritzia and it reminded me of that time I tried on jeans that didn't fit and the sales piranha told me that maybe if did some "lunges" once in awhile, I would fit into them. But I digress.

I want to begin by saying that the interior of La Buca, which is both simple and elegant, is almost exactly the same as that of Pied-a-Terre, the French sister restaurant of Chef Andrey Durbach and partner Chris Stewart’s restaurant trilogy (the third, and oldest, being Parkside). The upscale Parkside will actually be closing at the end of March to open as another location of La Buca, which to many, seems like a very prudent business maneuver in the midst our declining economy but forces us to bid a sad farewell to one of the best reviewed restaurants in the city.

Shortly after we were sat at our table some crispy bread sticks were brought over that were satisfying but not delicious. We didn’t bother with any appetizers and went straight for the mains. I ordered the night’s special, which was a delicious Eggplant Ravioli ($18) covered in a sauce of thinly diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, eggplant, lemon juice and topped with ricotta. The sauce was a perfect texture with a freshness of flavour that complimented the Eggplant perfectly. The tang and zest of the lemon lightened the heaviness that normally accompanies most raviolis and the portion size was just right.

I can't however, say that for the dish my frenemy ordered, which was the Lobster Tortellini, which was tasty, but came with approximately 8 pieces of tortellini ($22.50). It is lobster, so he didn't expect to get 80 pieces of lobster-stuffed tortellini, but there was more plate visible than food. If you're going to serve someone 8 pieces of pasta, serve it to them in a smaller bowl and at least attempt to create the illusion of plenty.

Our other fellow diner ordered the Tagliatelle Bolognese ($17) that had all the finishes of a truly traditional bolognese, with a thick meat sauce fragrant with strong traces of red wine, dark in colour and firm in flavour. Their tagliatelle tasted like it was made fresh which I think should be expected from any establishment that claims to offer quality Italian cuisine.

Then Rob Feenie walked in and we felt pretty good about the fact that we were eating with the genius who brought mini-burgers to Cactus Club. So we did what most normal people would have done and tried to take covert (or not so covert) pictures of him eating, talking to the maitre'd and sitting there alone for 20 minutes.

For desert we ordered La Buca's home made donuts and Tiramisu (all deserts were $6.95) which were both very, very good. The Tiramisu was especially delicious because it wasn't too sweet and so it allowed you to concentrate on the other flavours like the espresso, the mascarpone and the crispy and delicious savoiardi (the lady finger biscuit they soak in the espresso).

The meal came up to a little under $100 for three entrees, two deserts and one glass of rose ($10). I consider that to be a reasonable price that someone else had to pay for me to have a fantastic meal. Thanks frenemy!!!

La Buca
4025 Macdonald St
Vancouver, BC

La Buca on Urbanspoon

Matt - I didn't write it but I paid.


Anonymous said... @ March 10, 2009 at 6:47 PM

I have to admit, the prices seemed high at La Buca, but if Feenie (of mini-cheeseburger fame) is a fan, well then...

Anonymous said... @ October 3, 2009 at 10:32 PM

We took a chance after seeing the reviews in the Vancouver Magazine. Our first impressions were high quality food at a high price with not a lot on the plate.

Excellent service, though I thought it was odd that there where no table cloths.

WOW was it bright, no romance here. NOISY! I could not hear my companion across the table.

Would I recommend? Sorry, no.

Small portions, high price, and a sterile environment.

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