Pasta E Basta serves up affordable Italian

By Malea Ritz

With so many dining options in Amherst, it can often be difficult to decide on one. When it comes to Italian eats, one restaurant stands out above the rest: Pasta E Basta.

This Italian eatery offers plenty of seating with three floors of food, each providing a different atmosphere. The first floor delivers the most casual dining experience through its counter service ease. For the more frugal customers, this gives the ability to avoid a gratuity fee. Customers simply place their order at the counter and wait until their meal is ready to enjoy. The second and third floors are typical seated dining. For a sit down meal, customers must climb up a steep staircase to meet the hostess across from the bar. During busy hours, the entrance to the seated dining can become quite cramped, as there is only a small waiting space available. On average, wait time usually does not exceed more than 20 minutes since there is so much seating available.

After being seated and having orders taken, customers are served with the restaurant’s famous rosemary focaccia bread served with olive oil. A customer favorite, this bread is one of the first things to come to the minds of many at mention of Pasta E Basta. The restaurant also offers a variety of beers and tasty bar concoctions for affordable prices. Some of their bar cocktails include fruity fusions of rum and fruit juice. There is also a full wine list for any wine connoisseurs.

The menu offers a variety of Italian favorites, from pasta to pizza to paninis. These are all available at reasonable prices and are fit for college students’ tight budgets. The most expensive item on the menu is still under $15. A unique feature of the restaurant is the option for pasta lovers to create their own dishes. First, customers can choose their pasta. From the common favorites to specialties including gnocchi, spinach fettuccini, tortellini and pesto, shrimp and salmon ravioli, diners have the best selection around. Then customers have the ability to pick their sauces, which also include an array of specialties, such as puttanesca, sorrentina, matriciana and bolognese alongside several common favorites and cream sauces. Additionally, there are a lot of extras to choose from to add to any pasta, pizza, calzone or salad.

Service is usually fairly quick, although it seems to increase in timing upon ascending floors. Large parties tend to sit on the third floor, thus adding to a bit of a wait for food on this level. However, overall the service has been near consistent in its timely speed. Sometimes dining space can be cramped if the wait staff pushes a few tables together to seat a large party. However, it is a small price to pay for inexpensive, delicious Italian food.

Should there be room left for dessert, Pasta E Basta serves a couple of classic Italian pastries. Though not serving a wide selection of desserts, the restaurant still provides tasty treats for hungry customers. Tiramisu and cannolis are offered along with espresso and cappuccino for the cherry on top of a heavy and savory meal.

When hungry and uncertain of where to receive a good meal, Pasta E Basta is always sure to be a good choice. Located right around the block in Amherst center on 26 Main Street, it is just a short bus ride over to a delicious meal. Dip some focaccia bread in olive oil, twirl some spaghetti around a fork and take a bite into some tasty Italian eats.

Malea Ritz can be reached at [email protected]