Amidst an abundance of extremes in this neighborhood—stodgy pasta drowned in marinara or authentic dishes in superformal dining rooms—Buca is a refreshing alternative of rustic-yet-stylish Italian classics. Tucked into an alleyway just off King Street, the repurposed boiler room has exposed brick walls, metal columns, and wooden tables that reflect the natural philosophy behind the food by Chef Rob Gentile. Start with the selection of cured meats including soppresata,
beef tongue and n'duja or nodini, warm bread knots seasoned with rosemary and sea salt. For a simple pasta, order the lorghittas, with olives, capers, anchovies, golden plums, tomato sauce, and cacio di fossa cheese. End your meal with an insanely luscious dessert, such as panna cotta made from buffalo mozzarella topped with candied pistachio and strawberry gellée. Wines are meticulously procured from Italy by the sommelier to complement the dishes.