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3.5
  • Food4
  • Service3.5
  • Value3.5
  • Ambiance3
  • Reviews39

La Buca

4025 MacDonald Street
Vancouver, BC V6L2N8
Tel: (604) 730-6988
Fax: (604) 730-6958
Neighbourhood: Arbutus Ridge
  • Cuisine: Bistro, Italian
  • Price: $$$$ ($45 or more)
  • Reservations: Recommended
  • Hours: Mon - Thu: 5PM - 9:30PM, Fri - Sat: 5PM - 10PM, Sun: 5PM - 9:30PM
  • Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart of Parkside restaurant are excited to bring you la buca, an Italian inspired neighbourhood restaurant.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 39 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Good neighbourhood restaurant
By VJB of abbotsford (161 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 10:10am [Dine in]

La Buca is a cute bistro in a residential neighbourhood. Free street parking was very easy to find. It is very small – perhaps only about 30 seats so reservations are absolutely essential. We were there on Sunday night and it was packed.
The service was good and the 2 waiters were friendly and efficient.
We had looked at their win list on line before going for dinner and did not know any of the wines that they had on the menu. There was no bottle of wine that was less than $40.00. We decided to pay the $25.00 corkage fee and bring out own wine.
The seating is all bench seating against the 2 walls so just hope that you don’t get anyone obnoxious sitting on either side of you. We were lucky we asked for 2 seats at the end and 2 very nice ladies sat beside us. Even if conversation is muted you can still hear what is said at the tables beside you so this is not a place for a romantic dinner or to have a private conversation.
There is just the 1 washroom and you have to wend you way through the kitchen to access it. It is not a direct line you really have to weave you way through the kitchen. I’m sure the kitchen staff must find it annoying to have customers walking through their work area while they are trying to cook.
The food itself is excellent and for the portions and quality of food we felt the prices were reasonable. For an appetizer my husband and I shared the mushroom caps stuffed with spinach and crabmeat. They came under a topping of butter and melted cheese and they were very tasty. Breadsticks were brought to the table but if you wanted bread I think you could order it for an additional charge. My husband had the crispy skin Cornish hen and it was delicious. The skin was very crispy but the hen itself was nice and moist. It came with gnocchi and root vegetables. My husband said he really liked the selection of vegetables that came with his meal. I had the veal short rib with lobster green onion mashed potatoes. The short ribs were so tender. There were 2 very generous racks of the ribs (I could not finish it). The mashed potatoes had very generous bits of lobster (real lobster) mixed in with it. Considering the price of lobster and veal and the size of the serving this was very good value at $29.50. For dessert we shared cinnamon doughnuts with crème fraiche.
It was a truly lovely evening and we would definitely return because the food was truly marvelous. We just would not go on an evening that we wanted a nice quiet evening. This restaurant does get very loud and between that and the closeness of the tables it is not conducive to a romantic evening or for a nice tete e tete with friends or family.

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Still worth going to
By pkwok of Shaughnessy, Vancouver (123 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 9:58pm [Dine in]

It has been a few years since I and my family last ate here. A recent re-visit has confirmed that they have largely maintained their standards. Some dishes were as good as I remembered from my last visit, while others were almost as good. The chef is creative in coming up with menu items that are not found elsewhere, and appetizers were particularly outstanding. This time, the restaurant was not as jam-packed as it used to (perhaps hurt by the HST and the new drunk driving laws), but it still got to be almost full on a weekday evening, which attests to its popularity. The noise level can be quite high if the place is full and guests are talkative, but that's what a bistro atmosphere is supposed to be. I ordered a glass of white wine, and it came in a small carafe, I would say probably 8 oz. or more, so quite a deal (the wine was very good). All in all, it was an enjoyable meal by all.

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Can't really decide if I like it or not
By sgtoca of Kitsilano, Vancouver (103 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, March 19, 2008 - 2:53pm [Dine in]

so I'll go with no. First the location was hard to find. I live in Kits and still it took me a while. The room was tiny. Its one of those places when u phone in to make a reso, they will tell you up front only 2 hours for dining. When I arrived, this became understable cuz the room was tiny and cramped. If you are looking for a romantic place to dine then go elsewhere, tables are too close for that. The room is no bigger than a bedroom. The service was ample and depends on who you get. A male server was rather obnoxious. The food on the other hand is astounding. Good Italian dishes. The breadsticks on the table is another bonus, love em. So I said I am not planning on returning only because I am not a fan of cramped places nor do I want to rushed through my dinner. The food is good though, don't wanna discount them on that, but ambiance, service, and overall experience did not blow my mind so sorry, pass.

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glad we went to try this place!
By marymac of Delta, BC (144 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, October 23, 2007 - 2:05pm [Dine in]

Went last evening with my elderly aunt before going to the Symphony. I called ahead, just to be sure. We were there early, and the place was quiet for half an hour or so. Then, whooosh, it filled up. Not hard to do, since there is seating for about 30 in this narrow room.

We split the salume board appetizer. Four different dried and smoked meats and sausages from Oyama Sausage Co., served with melon. My aunt ordered veal cheeks for a main and I had a duck breast special. Pasta was substituted for risotto on my aunt's plate with a "no problem". The veal cheeks were SOOOOO tender, very very good. The duck breast was moist and tasty as well, served with a plum demiglace, veggies and du Puy lentils. Yum.

A bottle of Sicilian Primitivo was accessibly priced and went well with our selections. We split a tiramisu for dessert, and the coffee was excellent.

A very positive experience. Good food, decent wine, great service. Music was a bit loud when the restaurant was almost empty, but not noticeable when the room was full. We both enjoyed it very much.

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Neighbourhood place
By cocoeater of vancouver (323 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 8:51am [Dine in]

Checked it out on a weekend and it was quite busy. There is no real waiting area thus you have to wait outside until your table is ready. Small approx. 35 seats. Great menu selection with daily specials. Had the half order of gnocchi to start which was made with lamb ragu and mushrooms. Very good. Then the Osso bucco which was very good. Great service and place looks nice. Value is pretty good as most entrees are in the $20's with the pasta in the mid $10's.

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delicious
By curmudgeon of Downtown Vancouver (100 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, November 25, 2007 - 8:59am [Dine in]

Celebrated a birthday with my usual dining crowd at La Buca.

The service was excellent... prompt, friendly, informative, polite and attentive.

The room is understated and simple, and rather small.

But the food was excellent. I ordered the vegetable anitpasto with grilled prawns for an appetizer (which was light and tasty), and the lamb shoulder with morels, prosciutto, tomato red wine and tuscan beans (which was lavishly rich).

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Does Semplice real well
By latelier of SE Vancouver (69 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, August 16, 2007 - 12:37am [Dine in]

La Buca does simplicity real well. Tonight, me and my gf sat down at this quaint and charming little Point Grey trattoria to have some good pasta - Pasta that invokes memories of our trip to Italy not too long ago. Starting with a special of the night, Heirloom tomato salad ($13) with Buffalo mozzarella dressed with basil oil (essentially a Caprese salad)- so many restaurants get this wrong with crappy and bland tomatoes btw - we were immediately impressed. Tomatoes were definitely in season this time around, and to have the tender sweetness of heirlooms tickle our palates made it that much more pleasurable. Lastly, for our main event, the entree-sized pastas (and yes, half-orders are possible if you plan for a multi course meal). The tagliatelle ($16), carefully handmade from scratch, laden with a meaty bolognese ragu and sprinkled with a bit of parsley and parmigianno reggiano, was excellent and satisfying - a perfect example of Italian soul food. Even more savoury and luxurious, was the open-faced lasagna ($17.50), made with generous amounts of morels and chantrelles - along with thick cuts of parma ham, spinach, and cheese, sitting in a shallow pool of defiantly rich red-wine cream sauce.

Be prepared to sit in slightly cramped quarters as this is truly a smallish 32-seater establishment. Zero air conditioning during our visit, but they did have a portable fan running from the front of the room. Service is fairly attentive and helpful. Ample parking in the neighborhood. Will come back for sure to try other dishes. Highly Recommended!

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Pricey but definitely worth it!
By michwilliams of vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 9:04am [Dine in]

I had a dinner date with my boyfriend here at Buca the other night to celebrate our anniversary and really enjoyed ourselves.

Our reservation was for 6.30 but ended up arriving much later because we had a hard time finding it, and by the time we got there it was packed! The restaurant is quite small so you can imagine the picture...inside it is really pretty though.

The first thing I realized were the prices. The prices were a little high but since we were celebrating a special occasion, it was okay. I had the stuffed mushroom caps with Dan, my boyfriend, ordered the heirloom tomatoes. Yummy to say the least. Then, I had the pappardelle while Dan went big and got the lobster and totato ravioli. Basically, all traditional and fantastic Italian food. We finished our meal with some wine, and had a lovely time.

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a neighborhood gem!
By alpha_dog of richmond (61 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 2, 2008 - 9:56pm [Dine in]

decided to eat here a few months back and found it quite pleasing! a little challenging to locate it because it is tucked away in a residential area where you wouldnt expect to find a restaurant like this.. its quite small and probably only fits 30 or so people without leaving much space from the person sitting beside you..
anyway, i had ordered the pollo arrosto and my date ordered the gnocchi.. we both loved our meals! i thought the chicken was cooked great, skin was crispy and taste while the meal was tender... the chicken itself was pretty big and not just a single drumstick.
our waiter was very polite and treated us with care, making sure throughout the evening that we were doing good with our meals that we had so the service was great
prices here are not outrageous by any means so one would not have to worry about taking a big chunk out of their wallet (or purse).
the place itself was cozy, really felt like an 'at home' environment which was nice.. the strange thing is that the only way to the washroom is to literally walk through the kitchen and see the staff cooking your meals, dont really know whether that is a good or bad thing.
if you havent been here yet, you have to at least try it once... its has a calm and laid back atmosphere where you can relax and enjoy your meal so why wouldnt someone want that?!

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Okay food, extremely poor service!
By JooJoo of East Vancouver (82 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 24, 2008 - 2:29pm [Dine in]

Heard great reviews about this place, so we decided to take my mom here for her birthday. The food was okay, not outstanding at all. Some of the portions like the butternut squash ravioli was ridiculously small, the veal was bland, the fried chicken was okay, the braised beef shortribs was way too saucy and too much flavour, the swordfish was average. The recommended white wine that I had was average, nothing special. So we made reservations for a dinner party of 5 over the phone, they said they only had a 4 person table that could fit 5, I asked if it was enough room?? They said sure no problem at all! I had inform them it was 5 adults, no kids to make sure. We arrived to the restaurant and saw the table, oh my god, it was just perfect for 4 people. how on earth could all 5 of us fit? One of us was literally sitting out of the table, RIDICILOUS! We asked if we could have a chair on the end of the table they refused because they claimed "it would be in their way", so we sat down anyways, moved the table out ourselves, the server made no effort to make us seated more comfortable and we waited to order. About 15 mins went by, we noticed that the couple beside of table was leaving. After they left, we had asked to see if we could combine the table with ours so we could really fit and enjoy our dinner, I looked around and all the people at the door were just being seated where they preferred and the waiter had the nerve to tell us that that particular table was reserved. Even after dinner we still saw that no one really had reservations for that table and there were a few empty tables up front. I am never coming back to this place, not worth the money, poor ambiance, the bathroom is gross, you have to walk through the kitchen where you see all the kitchen staff and where they put food. *Ahem~ NO GOOD!

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My style of Casual.
By louielobster of Glendale (53 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, May 31, 2007 - 3:00pm [Dine in]

This La Buca Restaurant displaced the space of the old Henry’s Restaurant that was at this location. This makes for a very small establishment enabling quality dinning and higher quality food control by the kitchen staff. This conceptualized style of restaurant is a “Chefs” dream venue to feature his creativity.

For starter’s we share the buffalo Mozzarella (excellent with tomato fondata and salad greens) and the Mussels with fennel sausages. I didn’t enjoy the mussels because I suspect there were a few dead ones being cooked into the same pot. Though I can smell the unopened decomposed mussels in the broth, none served onto our plate. I should have returned the dish to the kitchen but for brevity, as I also smelt another passing dish with the same fishy odour and any improvement would be doubtful.

The main courses of Osso Buco, Marsala Scaloppine (x2) and Limone Scaloppine where cooked to perfection, the reduction sauces were superb, the vegetables crisp and all relished to the underside of our plates. The Osso Bucco was a very generous portion but the Scaloppines could have used another slice of veal.

The deserts of Tiramisu (truly fresh and melt in your mouth delight) and the Pannacota with strawberry and rhubarb compote were delicious.
Our dinner was paired with a forward drinking Chianti Classico Reserva and some Chateau Loupiac after. I’m happy to report that my first visit along with my three dinning companions all agreed that this is an experience to be repeated soon.

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only ok
By luigi of richmond (26 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 9:42am [Dine in]

Went to La Buca two nights ago. One of my favourite restaurants. This evening though it just didn't deliver. The special was a fresh halibut upon fregola pasta with fresh clams and mussels in a tomato broth.Instead of halibut which the table next to us had, ours were cheeks (I realize it still from the the same fish but totally different). They probably ran out as every table seemed to be having that plus the fritters,they were great. The clams were large Manilas...three of the four were not open, the mussels were out of the shell but old probably why they were cooked and shucked.The pasta and broth was very flavourful.The portion was small. My steak was cooked perfectly rare but was over powered by the sauce made with olives and herbs. Even though it had a strong flavour it lacked a balance to make the dish work.The Raddiccio Ceasar was very good as was the lamb pasta special.Desserts were okay. Ambience and service is always great. I felt it was a little overpriced for what we received. Would return to give them another chance.

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Reserve Well in Advance -- It's That Good!
By lori-o of Point Grey (23 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 5, 2007 - 10:12am [Dine in]

La Buca is a small restaurant (we counted a total of 32 seats) and it's a very good restaurant, which means you need to reserve several days in advance, especially if there are more than two persons in the group. But it's worth it!

The spot prawn risotto was one of the best risottos I've ever had -- full of flavour, the rice was just the right consistency, and there were plenty of prawns. The halibut had some sort of simple almond crust on the top, which was packed with flavour. We started off with a couple of salads, which were both very good. And the tiramisu was fantastic -- very light, and not at all over-sweetened.

We'll be back!

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Amazing food
By juston_cha of Vancouver West (16 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, June 2, 2009 - 3:50pm [Dine in]

been waiting a long time to come here, very close to my house, it's a well kept secret, but reservations are a must.

Everything we ordered was amazing, daily soup was uber flavorful and mussels were gigantic. Even the simple salad was impressive, best dressing ever. Main courses were all great, Pastas are very flavorful, fish wasn't that amazing but everything else was delciious. Tiramisu is also amazing, and even these "italian donuts" that we ordered that i wanted to hate, because they look like the ones they have at playland, were oh so delicious, but not worth the $7, but tiramisu is a must have.

Service was nothing out of the ordinary, and general ambiance is pleasant but nothing special.

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Never Disappoints!
By michiegirl of Commercial Drive Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 2:02pm [Dine in]

I frequent this restaurant at least once every couple of months. I have never had a disapointing meal and I find the portion sizes perfect. Thier food is never boring as it takes me at least 10 minutes to decide on a dish. Their specials board offers so many additional options to the regular menu.
Personally I don't care about having to walk through the kitchen but I I have to many restaurant in Europe and in older US cities (New York ect) where this is the norm.

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Oh La La Buca!
By kimmi of Kerrisdale, Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, February 20, 2010 - 10:33pm [Dine in]

It's too easy to drive by this tiny 32 seat neighbourhood eatery in a little strip on Macdonald.
Past the velvet curtain the high ceilings, clean minimal decor and the chalkboard on the back wall make it easy to settle into.
We started with champagne, then a bottle of good chianti, warm foccaccia, and thinly sliced air cured beef with asparagus. The boys had the Osso Bucco (this was a double date) and we girls had the gnocchi with hunter style chicken. The dish was homemade little pillows of goodness seared and served on top of chicken.. stewed to such a hearty, rustic end I forgot I was eating chicken. I knew I'd dream about that dish.
For dessert, we shared a blueberry pannacotta and our wonderful server rounded off the evening with complimentary glasses of moscati.
Don't we wish we all had a La Buca in our neighbourhood.

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WOW - we loved this place
By connorsmom of the US (4 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, September 24, 2007 - 8:41am [Dine in]

Being first time visitors to Vancouver, we were initially lured to the big name (PRICEY) restaurants and fortunately happened upon Parkside. Being quite impressed by it, we had dinner at La Buca the next evening and were equally happy with our experience. Service was highly attentive; cozy, romantic atmosphere (we don't mind loud); and the food was outstanding. Heirloom tomato salad was quite fresh; the pumpkin risotta was creamy, seasonal, and perfect for a (half order) pasta course; and the slow-cooked veal cheeks with gorgonzola polenta were melt in your mouth tender. The veal scaloppine Saltimbocca was perfectly prepared, and the panna cotta with oranges was exceptional as other reviewers have commented on. We found that the wine list was interesting, extremely reasonably priced, and they do have some higher end off-list bottles available - just ask. Your city is blessed to have such wonderul restaurants.

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A nice surprise!
By rchew of Vancouver (12 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, August 26, 2010 - 8:17pm [Dine in]

Came here for the first time and was somewhat skeptical as I've never been impressed by many restaurants in Vancouver in their innovation and value compare to other North American cities. I was thoroughly impressed by the food quality at this restaurant. All the main courses we had were well prepared (all from the special menu of the day)...the rabbit loin with spetzel was quite good, as was the beef rib which was really really tender. The pasta dish with gorgozola was also very good. The regular menu items doesn't seem that impressive, but what they offered that night on the special menu was quite spectacular.

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Would have been good, If...
By dinermab of vancouver (11 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, January 11, 2009 - 12:07am [Dine in]

Had reservations but had to wait almost 30min for our table standing by the freezing door, although we did get a bit of complimentary bubbly. The place was so crowded and loud we couldn't talk to each other without shouting and my husband "couldn't hear himself think."

I had the scallop salad and it was fresh and tasty. The duck was very good. My husband ordered a pasta dish and had to order another because it was not nearly big enough. The food was good. Spaghetti bologneise quite good. Did not have dessert. Would go back if only the dining experience was better (less noise, less wait, more space).

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Really good food - reasonable prices
By imhungry of Vancouver (11 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, August 15, 2007 - 11:36am [Dine in]

Reservations are definitely recommended. The pastas are amazing and can be ordered in half portions, for those who want to taste more items on the menu. Our server was enthusiastic and attentive. You'll need to walk through the kitchen to get to the washroom at La Buca - it sounds weird, but it's actually really cool because you get to see the kitchen in action, and can thank them for cooking you such a delicious meal!

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