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Pukka; Bar Buca; Mad Mexican Salsa Company

Steven Davey made his way to new-ish St. Clair West Indian restaurant Pukka. Titling it "often spectacular", he's thoroughly impressed by the high-end take on the popular cuisine and never balks at the price point: "Smoky lamb chops fashioned into 'lollipops' in a minty cream sauce," will run you $25.90 but worth every penny. The only complaint is that there are not enough of them but Eton Mess, a dessert that features "rosewater-soaked meringues in pomegranate syrup and sweet lassi cream more than makes up for it." Even the standard butter chicken "rises above the Subcontinental cliché." The reviewer credits the restaurant on pretty much everything: "…Those who appreciate a creative kitchen, attentive service, and background music that stays exactly there will find much to love at Pukka." There is only one reason the meal will disappoint, and that's if diners come in looking for a cheap bottomless buffet. [NOW]

Chef extraordinaire Rob Gentile's long anticipated Bar Buca is finally open and a Blog TO review confirms it was worth every bit the wait. The space echoes "a modern hangout in Italy thanks to the stand-up marble bar and unfussy industrial-chic design". Adamant from the beginning about morning service, the caffeine offerings are far from average: "A creative list of specialty coffees, they allow you to upgrade your cappuccino to buffalo milk and their normal milk is a creamy, organic version from Quebec." Sampling the sharing menu, no item is left without high praise: The gran fritto misto features what is "possibly the best arancino I've had in the city thanks to its intensely creamy texture." As for dessert, the cannoli is described as "life-changing;" the shell is surprisingly soft and when I closed my eyes while tasting the fresh ricotta filling I could have sworn I was transported to Palermo." The writer sums up the experience and owners as "just a group of guys who take pride in feeding you what they like to eat. And what they like to eat just happens to be extraordinary." [Blog TO]

Mad Mexican Salsa Company adds a brick and mortar restaurant to its store front/headquarters. Opening to "surprisingly little fanfare", Jen Hunter praises the authenticity of the offerings even in the absence of a "grand opening and lacking a liquor license". Dinners can snack on owner Jose Hadad's famous Chunky Guacamole and take a jar home for $8. The menu doesn't stray from traditional expected Mexican fare, with a variety of tacos and tortas from which to choose. Without a liquor license, the restaurant is summed up "as an excellent lunch stop, or a place to pick up supplies on your way to a party." [Blog TO] — Hana Hussein
[Photo: Pukka/Yelp]

Pukka Restaurant

778 St Clair Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario M6C1B6