Bar Buca’s tower of pastries makes for an impressive spread

Buca’s new outpost on Portland St. has finally opened its doors and brings to King West a snack bar “inspired by the café-bars of Italy” says its owners; a place to take your espresso standing up with biscotti before heading to work (they open at 7am) and come evening, a place for a drink with friends on the way home or a night cap (until 2am).

Under the watchful eye of executive chef Rob Gentile and chef de cuisine Danny Hassel, pastry chef Cora James creates a selection of a dozen Italian dolce and biscotti daily. “Pastry is a big part of the morning coffee culture in Italy, so a good selection is mandatory,” says Gentile.

If you’re anything like me—easily overwhelmed when you see a case full of delicious pastries, and so decide to get one of everything—Bar Buca has just the thing for insatiable appetites like ours: the assaggi di pasticceria.

At $12, the two-tiered tower of pastries offers a taste of Bar Buca’s best such as the tortina della nonna, pear or chocolate cornetto (sure, they look like croissants, but they’re in fact, distinctly different!), semolina cookies, marmalade cookies, mini chocolate torta, baci di dama or “lady’s kisses,” dark chocolate sandwiched between two tiny cookies—and of course, Bar Buca’s already-famous cannoli.

“Our cannoli is made with buffalo ricotta and mascarpone that’s been whipped with chocolate chips, vanilla, cinnamon, orange zest and icing sugar,” explains Gentile. “They’re made daily every morning: we fry the shells and pipe the filling, then garnish with candied orange and chopped pistachios.”

The tower is available throughout the day and is best experienced with an espresso ($2), or cappuccino ($3) with buffalo milk (add $3).

Bar Buca, 75 Portland St., 416-599-2822

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