Address: 950 Portage Avenue
Imagine a Mediterranean market with imported Italian specialties where neighbours gleefully chatter amongst rustic, made from scratch cuisine. This is De Luca’s.
The market meets café delivers meats, cheeses, herby sauces and coveted sausages made fresh in the deli. Oven ready cannelloni and lasagna prepared by in-house cooks are go-to pairings with De Luca family brand of marinated tomatoes, olives and roasted red peppers. Enticing shelves hold bottles of aged balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils. Five bottles line the Tasting Counter ready to be slurped.
With your palate prepped, nab a quick bite in the mezzanine level café where a seductive aroma of lunch wafts through the air. Energy radiates through the space; warm lighting, happy cooks and mirrored walls create a homey feel. No waiters, no mood lighting, or floral centerpieces, but a convivial spirit ripples throughout the room. A group of Italian men boost spirits of those around them with their story telling, joking and flirtatious gestures. Round tables seating about 8 encourage chatter as strangers tuck in close to get a spot.
The lunch menu features a daily changing line up of unevenly shaped pastas (3 each day) from which to choose, with soup and cheesy pizzas. Colourful salads with crunchy greens shine with simple red wine vinegar and olive oil from the top shelf ingredients downstairs.
Sip on surroundings with a cappuccino and follow the redolent sweetness coming from the bakery to tiramisu and cannoli.
De Luca’s old school cooking has remained in style, reminding us just how comforting authenticity can be.