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Basta Pasta in Cambridge?

BackBayGirl Sep 2, 2009 01:14 PM

I bike near here each day (on Western Ave) and I've always wondered how it is. Anyone have any experiences they'd like to share?

  1. hiddenboston Sep 2, 2009 01:28 PM

    I've only had their pizza, but it was excellent.

    Can't wait for the second one to open in North Quincy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston
      pasta Sep 2, 2009 01:59 PM

      Please describe what their pizza is like, The N. Quincy area is in dire need of a good pizza place...I don't want to get my hopes up !

      1. re: pasta
        hiddenboston Sep 3, 2009 07:12 AM

        It's somewhere between traditional thin-crust and gourmet. Lots of options for toppings. I'd say it's a bit closer in style to Emma's than Regina's.

    2. d
      dulce de leche Sep 2, 2009 01:35 PM

      It's awesome. Made with love, generous portions, not expensive. Especially like the arancini, homemade fusilli, gorgonzola walnut pasta, Greek salad. Great kids menu.

      I think it's been talked about a lot on this here Chowhound if you search.

      1. jgg13 Sep 2, 2009 01:36 PM

        Echoing the other "it's awesome" sentiments

        1 Reply
        1. re: jgg13
          teezeetoo Sep 2, 2009 02:07 PM

          ditto - i rate the fusilli only a notch or two below Da Vinci at 1/2 the price - no booze, alas, is the only drawback

        2. beetlebug Sep 2, 2009 02:26 PM

          I like Basta Pasta a lot. Excellent pastas and nice people. but, I don't think it's worth a special trip to go there. If you work in the neighborhood, live in the neighborhood or are passing through and looking for somewhere to eat - this is a great option. It's inexpensive and the food is prepared carefully and to order. But, I wouldn't drive in from a far away place, just to eat here.

          2 Replies
          1. re: beetlebug
            barleywino Sep 2, 2009 02:46 PM

            Had some outstanding linguine puttanesca there the 1st time, the 2nd time the same dish was merely good...portions are huge btw

            1. re: barleywino
              smtucker Sep 2, 2009 03:15 PM

              Seriously huge. For most people, lunch at Basta Pasta is one bowl of pasta with two forks. The salads looked good, the pizza was nicely browned, and the pasta was topped with fresh ingredients. Person next to me was eating a hamburger that didn't look half-bad. My sandwich wasn't great. They called it a panini but it was just a sub. The kid's pasta was delicious. Not a destination spot, but a good lunch at a fair price if you are in the area and can find a parking space.

          2. enhF94 Sep 2, 2009 05:04 PM

            I'm an enormous fan, particularly of the pastas (the homemade fusilli is totally worth it) and the specials (which tend to be thoughtful like Via Matta but at half the price). They just opened a second outpost in Quincy, and it's two brothers who own, so no telling about whether the experience will change now.

            Definitely not an after-school sub shop.

            7 Replies
            1. re: enhF94
              Pegmeister Sep 3, 2009 05:07 AM

              I didn't think the Quincy location had opened yet?

              1. re: Pegmeister
                kobuta Sep 3, 2009 06:08 AM

                I hadn't heard anything about its opening either, but when I checked on their website, sure enough the Quincy menu is up and running.

                Never stopped by the Cambridge location, but would love s good pasta place for good, casual dining. Anything's gotta' be better than Villa Rosa (ugh).

                1. re: Pegmeister
                  pasta Sep 3, 2009 07:37 AM

                  The website says opening October 1

                  1. re: pasta
                    kobuta Sep 3, 2009 07:54 AM

                    Wow, that was a quick change. That wasn't there this morning, and the link I had pasted now no longer work because of the change they put up.

                    1. re: pasta
                      Pegmeister Sep 3, 2009 07:55 AM

                      Thanks for the update. I had e-mailed them a few weeks ago and asked about time frames but never heard back. Response to Kobuta -- if it's pizza you're looking for, try Darcy's (Common Market group) or Carmines. CocoDan shared the Carmines recommendation and it has been consistently good, although it's just takeout.

                      1. re: Pegmeister
                        pasta Sep 3, 2009 08:10 AM

                        I have been a fan of Carmine's since you mentioned him here, but unfortunately the consistency has been wavering of late, in my experience. The crust has been flat and the sauce on the bland side. I hope it is a temprary thing, as he is a very nice guy and we really enjoy doing business with him. How would you compare Darcy's to Carmines ?

                        1. re: pasta
                          Pegmeister Sep 3, 2009 08:50 AM

                          Darcy's pizza is different from Carmines. They tend to use a lot more oil, good cheese blend and no need to order it well done. Crust stands up well to the toppings, but really isn't foldable. If you're at Cafe deParis and order the pizza it comes from Darcy's but they shape it in a rectangle and serve it on a board. Unlike Carmines, I don't care for Darcy's pizza reheated the next day.

                2. s
                  Spenbald Sep 2, 2009 07:53 PM

                  Second, third, etc. huge value. Pasta portions are enough for almost 3 meals at an outstanding price. LOVE the arancini. My biggest beef is that I never get enough sauce no matter what dish I order and even when I order extra.

                  1. Luther Sep 2, 2009 07:55 PM

                    It is most definitely not "awesome." Nice vibe, good prices, nice people, well-crafted menu. Too bad they can't seem to cook al dente pasta or put a decent sauce on it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Luther
                      heypielady Sep 3, 2009 06:20 AM

                      I live really close to Basta Pasta but I've only been a couple of times. Maybe its because I cook so much italian or maybe it wasn't quite as good as I wanted it to be. I had the puttenesca sauce there (my husband is not an olive fan so I don't make this sauce often) and I liked it but I have to agree with Luther that the pasta is just not cooked al dente.

                      I also liked the pizza but again for some reason it just didn't have me craving more.

                      Nevertheless, if I was in a pinch and didn't have time to cook its nice to know I can pick something up quickly. On the other hand I'd be more likely to pick up just a sauce at Dave's Fresh Pasta in Somerville on my way home from work and just boil my own pasta at home.

                      1. re: heypielady
                        Luther Sep 3, 2009 07:21 AM

                        Overcooked, undercooked, I've pretty much had it all there, over the past couple years. I don't think I'll be eating any more of it any time soon. I've only had the pizza once (a long time ago) but it tasted like the dough had been sitting in the fridge for a very long time- all the sugar'd gone to alcohol, poor crumb structure, and not nearly enough salt.

                        1. re: Luther
                          teezeetoo Sep 3, 2009 02:50 PM

                          I respect that was your experience Luther, but it wasn't mine. I always ask for my fusilli al dente and am happy with the results. My grandkids love their pizza, which isn't something I eat, and my husband loves their pasta, so its definitely on our good cheap eats list.

                    2. b
                      bear Sep 3, 2009 03:38 PM

                      We were Basta regulars for quite a while, but haven't been back recently so I'm going from memory. It's a great little place with really nice people and decent food. We often order the fusilli, and have found it to have a pretty consistently good texture. I agree with Luther, though, that the food can be a little sweet and could use more salt. Chicken piccata and gorgonzola walnut pastas are both decent. Burgers are good if you take off the lettuce and tomato so that the roll soaks up the juice, otherwise the rolls are kind of dry. You might want to ask for the fries well-done.

                      We like the pizza, but once again think that the sauce is a little sweet and lacking in salt. Crust isn't bad, but dough could use more fermentation. Spicy sausage and mushroom combo is tasty.

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