Buco Pizzeria + Vino

A great pizza is a wonderful thing. With Neapolitan style on the rise (think Famoso and Rosso), it’s only natural for more pizza places to pop up throughout the city with their own attempts at a traditional Italian pizza.

Buco is St. Albert’s iteration of this trend. A branch of the Sorrentino’s Restaurant Group, Buco held its grand opening on July 26th, where they invited media guests and bloggers to enjoy a variety of appetizers and pizza, and to watch the owners as they cut the ribbon and officially declared the restaurant open.

I’ve been back once since the grand opening–I wanted to make sure I’d tried enough to give a trustworthy review, since they didn’t serve gluten free pizza at the event–and I can say in full sincerity that I’ll be back. Often.

The restaurant itself is a stylish and boutique little pizzeria located at The Shops at Boudreau in St. Albert. Ceiling-to-floor glass covers half of the restaurant, which is filled with a mix of modern furniture and traditional elements (olives, olive oil, and more). There’s a small, heated patio that’s great for a summer drink and bite to eat.

Food-wise, they’re excellent. The charcuterie is amazing (that cacciatore!), the caprese salad offers just the right amount of flavour with a beautiful dash of pesto, and the gluten free pizza (while a bit tough to cut) was delicious and covered in high quality toppings. Nothing has passed my lips at Buco that didn’t delight me–from prosecco to the warm spiced olives.

Drink-wise, they’re even better. I’ve often lamented the lack of restaurants that featured a BYOW (Bring Your Own Wine) special in Edmonton. Montreal spoiled me for them, since they were everywhere. I was very excited to see that Buco offers this special on Mondays–a perfect reason to grab some friends, enjoy some amazing food, and drink your favourite wine at cost. Buco also has $5 2oz cocktails every Wednesday; I’m dying to check out their version of the Negroni.

I’d easily situate Buco as better than Famoso and on par with Rosso. The fact that they offer much more than pizza is a great selling point, but it’s also in the fact that their execution is so well done. It’s not kitschy and it’s not cheesy. It’s a classy pizzeria that offers exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a fan of pizza a la Naples. Good job, Buco. See you next Monday.

Buco Pizzeria
The Shops at Boudreau
St. Albert, AB
(780) 569-2826

4/5

MONTREAL: RESTAURANT MISTO

There are so many restaurants in Montreal that it can be difficult to decide where to dine out, unless you have personal favourites or have received recommendations from a preferred friend. While Urbanspoon and Yelp can be helpful in narrowing down whatever you’re in the mood for, they can also do much to exacerbate the problem – there are hundreds of restaurants with excellent ratings, located within blocks of one another.

So how does one ensure that they get what they want?

Well, you can take a chance. And you can run through the reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp, but be sure to always take those with a pinch of salt (hint: if a review says “dis restorant sux.. the food is horible. wont go bk”, I’d recommend ignoring it).

In any case, we happened upon Restaurant Misto, thanks to the helpful reviews and ratings on my two favourite community-based restaurant review websites.

There’s nothing completely remarkable about Misto, but it’s exactly what I was looking for that evening. A trendy Italian restaurant that opens out onto the street via large windows (sans panes), Misto is romantic, it’s reasonably-priced, and the food is innovative without stretching too far from the traditional.

We started out with fresh bread and oil/vinaigrette, as well as a variety of cocktails: a gin Caesar, a Piscine Italienne (Prosecco, Campari, and red grapefruit juice), and a Le Roi, La Reine (cava brut reserve segura viudas, port, and orange zest).

One thing I truly miss about Montreal is the fabulous cocktails and the extensive wine lists. Edmonton has been sorely devoid of great cocktail bars ever since Devlin’s closed down and, even though restaurants are starting to take wine lists more seriously, it’s taking a while for them to ramp up the options. Soon, my dear YEG…soon.

Our entrées consisted of a variety of perfectly-cooked pastas and delectable meats. The Duck Confit Orecciettei held the most succulent pieces of duck amongst a light but beautiful pasta sauce, the Mushroom Ravioli with Gorgonzola Sauce was unbelievably creamy and decadent, and the Braised Lamb Shank in Miso and Roquefort Sauce was so tender it fell off the bone at the touch of a fork (and also went very well with a glass of the 2010 Valpolicella Classico).

The server took care of our every need and we were never left wanting. The restaurant was relatively quiet when we sat down, but the service didn’t reflect this. It’s a difficult conundrum, customer service – sometimes I’ve had better service when the restaurant was busy as opposed to completely empty, oftentimes because the servers themselves spend most of their time smoking/eating/flirting in the back of house when it’s not busy. Thankfully, Misto didn’t have this problem.

We ended up having a delightful meal at this restaurant, and I once again thank the good people of the world for posting their reviews on the internet. Like I’ve said before, I prefer to judge for myself (and especially with restaurants), but a nudge in the right direction is always appreciated.

So, if you’re ever in Montreal meandering around the Mont-Royal area and in the mood for trendy Italian, head to Restaurant Misto for great food, excellent service, and a nice breeze to caress your neck as you make your way through their delightful wine list.

Restaurant Misto
929 Mont-Royal est
Montreal, QC H2J 1X3
(514) 526-5043
Monday 5pm to midnight 
Tuesday 5pm to midnight 
Wednesday 11:30 to 3pm & 5pm to midnight 
Thursday 11:30 to 3pm & 5pm to midnight
Friday 11:30 to 3pm & 5pm to midnight
Saturday 5pm to midnight 
Sunday 5pm to midnight

3.5/5