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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 (156 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 (114 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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Pricey but definitely worth it!
By michwilliams of vancouver (3 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Absolutely Delicious and Delightful
By ratatouille of Shaughnessy, Vancouver (20 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - 10:35pm [Dine in]

I went to La Buca for the first time and LOVED every moment of the experience. The place is pretty small and cramped but the food and service make up for it.

I ordered a beet, orange, and endive salad that had perfectly matched flavours. I ordered one of the pasta specials and it was spectacular - the duck sausage was so flavourful. The dessert was the perfect ending to the meal.

The service was great - friendly and fast. They also give good suggestions on what to order and which wines to choose.

The wine list is really reasonably priced and they have quite a few options for single glasses of wine. They bring you a flask for a single glass and it's more like 2 glasses for the quantity.

I can't wait to come back - it's such a quaint, hidden gem of a neighbourhood restaurant.

I love the whole concept of a neighbourhood restaurant with high quality, flavourful food. A lot of heart and thought went into this little place. It's perfect and thankfully la buca is in my neighbourhood.

ICan't wait to try its sister/brother restaurant - Pied a Terre!

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Almost missed it
By currypuff of Kitsilano, Vancouver (16 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 18, 2008 - 9:34pm [Dine in]

This place is a teeny tiny hole in the wall on McDonald just North of King Ed. I agree with other reviewers who say the room is a bit small and cramped, and rather cold as the wind really blows in whenever the door is opened. This makes for a rather uncomfortable dining experience. Also the place is far too bright and the tables too closely packed together. Irregardless, the food is very good. I had the beef tenderloin wrapped in parma with a mushroom sauce, celery puree, gnocchi and some veg. The steak was cooked to medium rare perfection. My only "beef" is that it was a teensy bit salty, and also my carrots were undercooked. The tiramisu also didn't have very much mascarpone/cream, which is what I enjoy most about this dessert. A place to return to!

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food & decor is nice, but still have to go through kitchen to the loo
By diningd of vancouver (35 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 10:52pm [Dine in]

This was the first time I tried out the restuarant after it went from Henry's Kitchen to La Buca. It is very modern upfront but you still have the kitchen and the washrooms in the back.

For a tuesday night, the restaurant was very busy. The tables are kind of close together so my friend and I could not help hear the couple next door's conversations and I bet they could hear us.

The menu is varied and the daily fresh chalkboard was interesting. We tried 2 appetizers and 1 pasta. The portion are a good size and we we quite full, but there was still room for dessert. The tirimusu was excellent. I judge a good italian restaurant by this menu item, and they pass the test.

The food is not real traditional italian, but is lighter and tasty.

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Four Star Spot
By zach_food of Vancouver (33 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 27, 2009 - 11:47am [Dine in]

This is one of my favourite places to eat because I always know the food will be tasty, the service professional, and although some may find the location and size (out of the way and small) off-putting I really don't mind it at all. I have been 3-4 times and the food has always impressed. The starters are classic in that they focus on a few, well chosen ingredients but that is not to say they are boring. The pastas I have sampled, most often the ragus, have been stellar and the puttanesca is another favourite, especially as a starter. It's hard to pass on the mains and although there is usually just 5-6 choices, I always seem stuck on what to order. The veal dishes have both been very good and the steak looked very nice. Fish dishes have also been up to par and the specials seem to be at the same level as the menu items. Service is to the point, knowledgeable, and friendly enough -- with two people running the dining room they don't have time to be your friends but they do their job well. My biggest complaint is having to call a few days in advance to get a table, however, I have had decent luck as of late calling night of to get either an early (6 pm) or late (8:30 pm) seating.

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Dining Disconnect
By artfuldodger of False Creek, Vancouver (30 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 - 1:11am [Dine in]

I recently celebrated by birthday at la buca and was very happy with the experience. This was in large part to the company I was dining with, but the food and service was outstanding as well. Like the individual who wrote the review below me, I had the lamb shoulder with morels and was blown away by the elegant yet rustic presentation.

While most of the seven meals ordered were excellent, there were some misses. The homemade cod ravioli were much too salty, the short ribs were tender but rather bland, and the seafood linguini lacked any unexpected or memorable ingredients.

The one thing that really irritated me about la buca was the disconnect between the quiet, Kits environment and the slightly haughty, overpriced persona of the restaurant. It seems as though la buca wants to be a neighbourhood establishment, for it is small, warm and creates comfortable, seasonal meals. However, it is pricey, and the clientele is a bit stuffy. I will not go back to la buca because it cannot compete with Vancouver's elite eateries and it is too expensive for a neighbourhood restaurant.

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Incredible Food
By justinn5_2005 of Vancovuer BC Canada (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 11:04am [Dine in]

The food has always been fantastic, been there 3 times so far. Desserts are exceptionally well done. I wish our waiter could turn down the volume of his voice. If he were any louder, he would be yelling at customers. Tabes are very close so if you enjoy chatting with people at the next table, then is is the place for you. Over all it was a great dining experience. I plan to go again soon.

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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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