The Spend A Little list represents Joanne’s favourite 50 Toronto restaurants at which two people can eat for under $65 excluding taxes, tip and drinks.

#1 Bar Buca

Bar Buca

Buca exec chef Rob Gentile has mastered the art of branch plant quality control. Both the food and the service at Bar Buca are consistently impeccable. No reservations, communal high-tops, friendly prices, it stands at the intersection of casual and classy. The plates are small but each bite packs an overwhelming flavour punch. Tuna carpaccio comes in a bath of aromatic EVOO jazzed with squid ink salt and fennel fronds to underline the sweetness of the fish. Goat and ricotta meatballs are rich, gamey, and smothered in the most intense tomato sauce (perfect dipping for house-made sourdough). Skewers of baby octopus and sopressata sit on luxe potato crème infused with lemon EVOO. Schiacciata are out of this world: fillings like melt-in-your mouth roast pork with tangy apple mostarda and velvety mascarpone sandwiched between ultra-crisp baked bread. Don’t skip dessert, cause their cannoli are creamy crisp erotica.

  • Bar Buca
  • 75 Portland St., Toronto (map)
  • 416-599-2822

  • Chef: Rob Gentile
  • Sous Chef: Francis Bermejo
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Cost of dinner for two: $50
  • Hours: Mon. to Fri. 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sat. to Sun. 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.
  • Reservations: No
  • Meals served: Breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner
  • Veggie-friendly: Yes
  • Wines available: 50
  • BYOB?: No
  • Patio: Yes
  • Private party area: Entire venue can be rented
  • Wheelchair accessible: No
  • CC accepted: Yes
  • Parking: Green P downstairs, street parking
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