Andrey Durbach and Chris Stewart of Parkside restaurant are excited to bring you la buca, an Italian inspired neighbourhood restaurant.
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.
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!
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.
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.
This used to be one of my favourite restaurants. The service is really excellent, very professional. However, the portions have become outrageously small, especially the pasta dishes. Another problem with this restaurant, and something others have commented on: it all depends who you are seated beside. I would not recommend this restaurant - at all - for a two person dinner....
On one occasion we were seated beside a party of ten- very loud drunk people, all in "film", who pretty much took over the place. Not a problem with the drunk or loud - but in a small restaurant, it's a problem if you are only two. On another recent occasion, the couple beside us were just really obnoxious, shoving their designer bags into our limited space and screaming out their conversations....just annoying, pretentious etc.
I'm not really into giving this restaurant another penny..because their customers are bad. Not really fair, I know, because the service and food is good, on balance. But, there you go.
A bad night out - is a wasted night out. Couples beware!
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.
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.
Part of going out to restaurants is the discovery of new neighbourhoods and parts of the city that one rarely frequents. This restaurant is tucked away in a strange and sleepy west side residential area. Easy to park! What a gem. The food is absolutely fantastic in this tiny little space. Good arena for people-watching. The ONLY complaint I have is that one has to walk through the kitchen to find the bathroom. I guess that could be considered as part of the fun. It is comfortable like dining in someone's house.
went to this little cute restaurant yesterday night with my bf. he had heard about it but never tried it because its always busy but thought we'd try out luck. we arrived at around 7:30pm with no resos and luckily were able to get a seat right away but had to be out at 8:30 because of another party. that was fine with us! we had ordered the mussels w/ a kindof pesto sauce. never had mussels that way! it was delish. i had ordered the Gamberi pasta spaghetti w/ slighty spicy tomato sauce and prawns. it was great and the portions were good too. i was super full after. my bf had the lasgana with mushrooms and ham. it was different! alittle salty from the ham but innovative. i would definitely dine here again! the service was great too! no complaints here :)
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!
This little 20 seat restaurant gave me and my husband such an incredible meal. although very similar to a restaurant on 4th, we were later informed that this was the original one.
I had the special, it was fresh seafood in a light tomato sauce. Amazing.
My hubby had the steak that was tender and so flavorful. We obviously had to get dessert and we're so glad we did! They had one of the best tiramisu in the city and these little donuts were just so light and delicious.
The place is quite small, but felt nice and intimate. Our server, was very familiar with all the wines and described the food very well.
We ordered a bottle of wine and the higher priced items, but it was definitely worth it. They also had, average priced items, like pastas that we'll definitely try the next time .
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).
The decibel level in this small restaurant is akin to dining next to a taxiing 747! Which is a shame because the food is good. Our party of four had to yell across the table at each other due to the noise level. This was made worse by an adjoining table which probably would have been happier at Earl's. Do not come to this restaurant expecting an intimate dining experience.
As mentioned, the food was good. Service was friendly, though not as attentive as it could have been in such a small space. Oh yeah, having to go through the kitchen to get to the loo is gross. All in all, I'd stick to Pied a Terre, from the same owners. Better atmosphere, better service, the same good food without the ear-splitting din.
We had the pleasure of doing a 10 course vegetarian tasting menu that the chef created for us. It was an absolute treat, because as a vegetarian the choices are usually narrowed down to about 2 items in a place like this.
The dishes were inventive and tasty. Service was great and the wine picked out to accompany our meal throughout was outstanding.
Will definitely return!
Thank you for giving a vegetarian foodie such a great experience!
Every year we try to find a very good restaurant to celebrate Mother's Day. After reading the only review for this restaurant, we decided to give it a shot since it was so highly recommended. We called a week before Mother's day to make a reservation on their answering machine. They called back the next day to tell us they were fully booked that day! So we ended up getting the last table available the day before. Finding the restaurant was quite a challenge. It's very small and the name outside is not easy to see. We kinda had doubts at first when we saw the place because it didn't really look fancy. The ambience inside was simple and pleasant. The staff was very courteous, knowledgeable, and professional. We all started with the soup of the day which was a medley of seafood in tomato broth. It was to die for! All the entrees that we ordered were perfectly cooked. The osso bucco was very tender and flavourful and it paired nicely with their cheese risotto and green beans. Mom had the halibut fish, which was seared in olive oil and lemon, and then topped with crusted almond. She loved it and that was really all we wished for. The putanesca was the best one i've ever had. The taste was just right and the portion was considerably large for myself but I wiped my plate clean anyway.The red wine that was recommended by the server went well with all of our entrees. Although we really wanted to try the dessert, we were just too stuffed. But there will definitely be a next time.
we went to la buca for my boyfriend's birthday, and had a good night all around.
the food was well thought out and presented.
the starter salad we split was good, but unmemorable. the only thing i *do* remember was that the plate it was served on was not only warm...but HOT! it wilted the greens almost immediately. the mains made up for it, almost entirely: i had the green pea agnolotti with lamb, a good selection. the texture of the peas gives away their frozen history, but they're not in season anyways. maybe a squash or other seasonal alternative would be better for the chillier months?
the room itself was great - packed and loud, two things i like in a restaurant. i just wish they'd dim the friggin' lights! no candles or anything for ambiance made it feel kind of clinical and cold.
service was great - unobtrusive & attentive. the kitchen staff seemed very friendly as i walked through the kitchen to go to the bathroom (I still have a hard time with everyone in the kitchen stopping to look at you & say hi while you've got squatting & peeing on your mind! oh well.)
all in all a good find. i'll be back.
one final thought: please join OpenTable?
This was my second visit to La Buca. My first experience was exceptional. What changed? First off was the season. Being winter the cold wind blew in throughout my meal. They had erected a wool curtain that did little to keep the room warm. Second was the size of the portions. I shared a starter. Had my own main course. Then had order another main to share so I could honestly say to myself that I was no longer hungry. The bill then arrived without request.
There is no doubt that the food is good. But I should not have to chase the remains of my sauce around my plate with a bread stick in order to persuade my stomach that it was full. I have heard this time and time again. Restaurants as their popularity rises their portions shrink.
At the prices they charge I really do not appreciate dodging staff in a busy kitchen to get to a filthy single unisex toilet with a door that does not properly open.
I had the best meal of 2008 (so far) at La Buca. We managed to get a seat on a busy sunday night. The place seats under 40 so they really have to turn the room fast. I dined with a girlfriend. We asked for a tasting menu, chef's choice. Each dish was incredible. I felt like I truly had a taste of Italy. You must try their Al funghi Scaloppine and oh... one of the best tiramisu I have ever had. The servers are casual and professional. A real neighborhood spot. I can't wait to go back!!
Great traditional Italian and reasonably priced wine list. The restaurant is small and reservations are recommended, but the food was fantastic. My current "go-to" over other high-end Italian in Vancouver. The prices are very reasonable as well.