Rum cocktails and island music set the scene
#16 Bar Buca
Buca and Buca Yorkville are two of the most luxurious restaurants in Toronto. Bar Buca, the company’s all-day bar and café, offers a wedge of that excellence for a fraction of the price. The soaring ceilings and wine list can entice you to spend more, but a schiacciata (focaccia sandwich) and a coffee is a more-than-filling meal. Stop in for strapazzate (gooey eggs with burrata and truffles) paired with a buffalo milk Nutella latte at breakfast, or try a late night schiacciata with fried squid, smelts and lemon dill zabaglione, which deserves to be legendary. The weekend brunch menu includes the crespelle, a showstopper stack of semolina pancakes around cannoli-style filling with grappa maple syrup poured over top. 75 Portland St.
#9 Rhum Corner
This dark, twinkly room is all about relaxing under the glow of its neon sign and hum of loud Caribbean music. The name is based on co-owner Roland Jean’s penchant for making drinks in the corner of the bar with a bottle of rum, some Coca-Cola, ice and limes. Start with accra, dumplings of fried malanga (that root vegetable resembling a furry yam). Plates of rice and beans with oxtail or griot (Haitian slowcooked pork) make for rich meals, accompanied by fried plantains. Jars of pikliz sit on each table. The spicy pickled carrot and cabbage cuts through the fat and booze of the night. 926 Dundas St. W.
House-made burrata di buca