Italian · Special Occasion

Luca Restaurant

For my birthday dinner, I wanted Italian food. My first pick was Franca’s, but it is closed on Thursday evenings. My second choice was Luca Restaurant, as I’ve heard only positive things about the food and service since it opened. Let’s listen to “Piano Man” by Billy Joel for this post.

We sat inside the main dining room, which offered a hallway view of the interior of the Oliver building. What stood out for me was the sheer size of the vast glass chandeliers and the starchiness of the freshly hand-pressed white table linens. At 7:30 pm, the restaurant was still bustling with the energy of chefs and bartenders from the open kitchen and bar. I felt like I was dining at a swanky, international hotel.

L started with a sleeve of 88 Brewing Co. ($7), and I selected a glass of white wine ($13, Longheri, Pinot Grigio, Veneto DOC, Italy). Before ordering, I DMed Miss Foodie on Instagram to ask her recommendations at Luca. She suggested the Veal Chop “Saltimbocca” ($55) and the Bombolini for dessert ($12). I also ordered the Gnocchi Raviolo ($20), Calamari ($18), and Fettuccine ($27).

Pro-tip – order your own appetizer and main. These dishes aren’t meant for sharing. We didn’t care about formality and just switched plates mid-way. Of the two appetizers, the ravioli was my favourite.

The warm, yellow egg yolk flowed over the whipped ricotta stuffing and crisp bacon when I cut into the ravioli, pooling into the green sauce. The texture of the ravioli was smooth and springy. Absolutely delicious! I would order this again.

The calamari arrived stacked like logs, bundled neatly by a green onion ribbon. There was a noticeable amount of spice and heat from the smoked paprika. The squid had a bit of a chew to it.

The fettuccine was incredible! The noodles were thick and chewy. The wild mushrooms were crunchy, charred and heavily salted. The chomp-chomp sound of the earthly morsels was just as satisfying as licking up the truffle pesto and porcini cream sauce from the noodles.

The veal chop was thick and served sizzling hot. I found the veal chop tender and a tad fatty. Like the pasta, the meat and prosciutto was salty. However, the intense smoky flavour from the grilled chilli broccolini was delicious and more than made up for the heavy-handed seasoning.

We were offered a tour of the cocktail lounge after our dinner, but I was too tired to continue the festivities. Sadly, I’m no longer a spring chicken. Thank you, L, for taking me for a fresh and novel dining experience.

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