Review: L’altro Buca

by gigi on May 28, 2009

When Parkside closed back in March, I was a bit disappointed that I never got the opportunity to give it a try. I thought it a bit odd that the owners, who already owned La Buca in Kitsalano, decided to open another La Buca in Parkside’s place, called L’altro Buca (haha…the other Buca…get it? :)). Having been to Pied a Terre before and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I had high hopes for L’altro Buca. Jenkins suggested that I pick something a bit fancier for our Friday date night so I decided to give L’altro Buca a try. Luckily for me, I was able to book the last table for 2 that Friday evening at around 7:30PM.

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L’altro Buca’s menu concentrates on traditional Italian fare and I’m guessing that is quite similar to what La Buca over in Kitsilano offers. While we tried to figure out what we were in the mood for that evening, we munched on breadsticks and sipped some wine.

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L’altro Buca offers quite a few traditional secondi or meat-based dishes but both Jenkins and I were feeling like pasta that evening. I ordered the spaghettoni, which is basically a thicker version of spaghetti, with prawns in a tomato-based sauce with basil and a touch of chills. I really enjoyed the spaghettoni, whose thickness gave the already al dente pasta a nice chewiness to it. I wasn’t sure if the chilies would overwhelm the delicate flavour of the prawns but I ended up really enjoying the extra kick the chilies provided. I also had quite a few prawns hidden in my dish under the mound of pasta, which was a pleasant surprise.

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Jenkins decided to go with something a bit more familiar so he opted for the spaghetti vongole. I felt that Jenkins’ dish was quite a great deal because his dish came with so many clams! This was probably one of the best spaghetti vongole I’ve ever had; the pasta picked up the white wine sauce just right and the fresh clams were steamed perfectly. I liked this dish even better than the one I ordered, which worked out great because Jenkins liked my dish more than the vongole. :)

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We were full enough at this point that we could have just gotten the bill but I have a really hard time passing up dessert, especially when I’m trying out a restaurant for the first time. Lucky for me, Jenkins wanted dessert that evening too, which meant I was able to choose two desserts. :) The first dessert had a hazelnut crust and a rich chocolate ganache filling on a bed of pistachio sauce. Pistachios and hazelnuts are two of my favourite nuts so I knew I had to give this desert a try. The chocolate ganache filling was very creamy and complemented the hazelnut crust quite well although I would have liked there to be more pistachio flavour.

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Jenkins chose the dessert of the day, which was Italian mini doughnuts with caramelized apples. Again, Jenkins made the better choice that day. There really is nothing like well-made fresh doughnuts with sugar and cinnamon. The doughnuts were not greasy at all and its light crispy exterior gave way to a warm and soft inside. The caramelized apples still had a slight crunch to them and went very well with the doughnuts.

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Jenkins and I quite enjoyed our meal. When we first arrived there, we grabbed the last table available so it was good that we had made reservations. By the time we were ready to leave, there was quite a crowd at the bar waiting for tables to be freed up. I was also really impressed with L’altro Buca’s prompt and friendly service. When one of the servers accidentally elbowed me in the head, he apologised profusely and even brought over a couple of Bailey’s for Jenkins and me. After service like that, how can I really complain? :) I’d be really interested in giving the original La Buca in Kits a try sometime to see how it compares to this one in the West End.

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Details:
1906 Haro Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604-683-6912

Summary:
Food: [rating:4]
Service: [rating:4]
Price: $$$

L'Altro Buca on Urbanspoon

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