In a city filled with classic Italian, modern Italian, authentic Italian and (place adjective here) Italian eateries, Bucas & Pastas has been quietly going about its business for 17 years, doing simple things.
The fact that the restaurant has been going strong since 1997, despite a location that isn’t necessarily prime real estate, is probably all the testament needed.
You’ll find it near the police station on 100th Avenue, facing away from Stony Plain Road. There are faded pictures of foodstuffs on the wall. But, behind the counter, you see staff checking on the many pots on the stove, which is a testament to what this place is all about: Fresh pasta.
Pasta is a great cheat: Even some notable Italian restaurants will use the boxed stuff. But, here, the pasta is freshly made. You select a pasta of your choice, and then ask for one of five sauces on the menu. I recommend the hot Italian sausage; the meaty, spicy chunks are plentiful in the mix, and they bring up the heat without making you want to scrape your tongue.
The pasta is made fresh and sauce tastes all the better when it’s been stewing in a pot for a while. It’s fast food but doesn’t seem like fast food. You ask for a pasta that’s come right out of the pot, then add sauce. You can be in and out in 15 minutes, but the food doesn’t feel rushed.
For dessert, I go back and ask for some tiramisu; it’s in the cooler, in a clear container that makes it look like the treat has been made for a bake sale. A large portion is scooped out, and the ladyfingers are just a touch shy of being frozen. But that’s the way I like it. We all know it’s better to eat the cake right out of the freezer before it thaws, right? (16516 100 Ave., 780-496-2461, bucasandpastas.com)