I first have to say that this is one of the best restaurant experiences I have had in Vancouver. The meal just kept getting better as each course was delivered to our table. Those familiar with Andre Durbach's other restaurants will not be surprised at this meal's level of quality. They hit this one out of the park.
La Buca is a casual, unpretentious neighbourhood Italian restaurant. It is often listed as one of the fine-dining options here in Vancouver - but if you look around the room, you will see families from the surrounding area dressed casually as if dining at a typical Italian red-sauce neighbourhood joint.
The Family Style dinner at La Buca is a prix fixe ($55) option for six or more diners. The selection of courses were inspired by a typical Italian alla Famiglia dishes - but refined and elevated to fine-dining quality and presentation. The dishes were served on large and rustically presented shared plates. Even with the level of refinement, it never felt stiff - it was a relaxing well paced meal.
I will try to recall all the dishes:
-Melon and Prosciutto (cliched or classic depending on how you look at it...it was a great amuse)
-Porcini Salad with truffle dressing (nice meaty pieces of mushrooms, subtle truffle flavour)
-Quail and Lentils (henceforth known as "That Quail Incident")
-Goat Cheese and Dried Cherry Ravioli with Chanterelle (an astonishingly good dish. It tasted like eating savoury cherry danish...almost dessert-like)
-Spaghetti Puttanesca -(nicely balanced and pungent with anchovy and capers)
-Fettucini Bolognese (very good rich Bolognese - a refined take on a red-sauce classic )
-Duck Leg confit with wine reduction (beautifully crisp and tender)
-Seared Tuna with a garlic butter sauce (not sure how Tuna fits into the theme, but a fish dish is a requirement)
-A medley of Vegetables (peas, broccoli, etc.)
-Sugar donuts with syrup ( so good....crisp and yielding with a soft interior)
They do have a wine pairing option (perhaps two)...but we decided to do our own pairings. Some of us shared a bottle or two. Of note for me was the 2006 Selvapiana Chianti Rufina (mostly Sangiovese) that paired very well with the meal - especially the pasta dishes.
The service was professional, personable and prompt - typifying a Durbach restaurant.
I wish more restaurants offered Family Style dining here in town. This style of eating offers variety and progression that you won't get a la carte. (Of course we are familiar with the norm of Chinese Family Style dining, but restaurants of other cuisines should really be offering this option.) If you have a party of six or more definitely give La Buca's alla Famiglia table a try.
More pics as usual here: http://picasaweb.google.ca/gustibus.m...
La Buca Restaurant
4025 MacDonald St, Vancouver, BC V6L2N8, CA