Joanne Kates crowns Buca new top restaurant in Toronto for 2014

Canada’s leading food critic for over 30 years, Joanne Kates has compiled her 5th annual list of Toronto’s best restaurants—and this year there’s a new name in the top spot. Toronto’s first lady of food has named Rob Gentile’s Buca as the city’s best restaurant in her annual Kates Top 100 Toronto Restaurants list, which will be published in the May edition of Post City Magazines.

This year, for the first time, as a nod to foodies everywhere,  Kates has also picked the best food truck in the city. That honour has gone to Buster’s Sea Cove, Toronto’s first sea-food focused food truck that serves up a menu of fish tacos and lobster rolls.

At a time when Toronto is enjoying a golden age of gastronomy, Joanne Kates says Buca offers the best food with service to match in a welcoming environment: “They’re number one for sometimes giving you sparkling wine and a free dessert … just because. For getting excited and showing you the curing room. For being a tall glam brick room full of pretty people. For the whole package.”

The King St. W. eatery has knocked legendary fine dining institution Scaramouche into second place, after it topped the list the previous two years. According to Kates, the change reflects a broader trend away from linens and napkins and towards bold, no-frills establishments.

“No longer is the best or the most revered food in town served at temples to haute gastronomy where the gracious welcome rules. Fine dining has lost its cachet and mostly been replaced by roadhouse with pork, fat, smoke and barbecue, benches for seats, no reservations, loud music and cold drafts, bourbon cocktails and servers whose idea of hospitality is a 20 per cent tip,” says Kates.

The top 10 eateries on the Kates Top 100 Toronto Restaurants 2014 are:

1. Buca

2. Scaramouche

3. Bar Isabel

4. Edulis

5. Yours Truly

6. Hopgood’s Foodliner

7. Splendido

8. Cava

9. Zucca

10. Bar Buca.

Check out the entire Kates Top 100 list here. In addition, the list will be published in all seven of Post City’s print editions, as well the free companion iPhone app (which has almost 10,000 installed users) will be simultaneously updated with the 2014 list.