Nothing hip here, but Il Pastaio rocks authentic Italian

Boulder’s Il Pastaio restaurant sits within a gigantic parking lot. Wedged between a liquor store and bagel shop, the tiny eatery with fluorescent lighting, house plants and high tops may seem an unlikely place to find Boulderites lining up outside the door.

But only if you haven’t yet heard.

Il Pastaio has been serving outstanding classic Italian in this distinctly bare bones site since 2000. Hands-on owners Giuseppe and Marta Oreamuno dish up beloved standards here, to go, or fully catered for their very loyal customers.

Our party of four actually found the interior inspiring, in a way. Our shared love for kitchen table (versus dining room) dinners had us craving classics. We chose mushroom ravioli with tomato cream sauce, chicken parmesan, and the special of the night: cioppino.

All were terrific. With flavor and finesse, our chosen dishes delivered deep satisfaction without being heavy or overfilling. Complemented by Chianti sipped from jelly glasses, dinner here felt familiar in the best possible sense.

Comfortable service is another reason why.  Il Pastaio’s approach welcomes regulars and assures new comers, who may feel some initial stress at the line and limited capacity. Let the calm and confidence of Giuseppe, Marta and their staff remind you why you came: the food.

Capellini, spaghetti, linguini, fettuccini, pappardelle, fusilli, rigatoni, ravioli, gnocchi. All are scratch made with fresh ingredients. Sauces are too with a bounty of choices – from the simplicity of butter and sage to the brightness of arrabiata. Your challenge will be honing in on just one.

We finished up with cannoli and pistachio spumoni – two items Il Pastaio imports. Very tasty. Our only disappointment? No one in our party won the restaurant’s nightly drawing for a bottle of wine.

We’ll try again.

Il Pastaio hasn’t been a secret for quite some time, garnering raves from 5280 magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, and Zagat, to mention just a few.  Regulars surely wish the attention would stop. If you haven’t been yet, your first time will feel like a fantastic discovery. What could be better than that?

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