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Boulder’s Best Italian Food: Il Pastaio (by Costa Ricans?!)

Il Pastaio, 30th and Arapahoe, (in the King Soopers Shopping Center) has shown itself to be Boulder’s best Italian food thus far. We have not gotten the chance to go to Pasta Jay’s, which is the only other Best Italian recommendation we’ve gotten, but we’ll try to soon so we can compare the two. We have had Trattoria on Pearl, Antica Roma, Salvaggio’s Italian Deli, Laudisio’s, Pasta Vino, Pizzeria Basta, just about every Pizza place, and then some. Pasta Vino is the only one that holds a candle to Il Pastaio and the rest did something WRONG. Pasta Vino was the best Italian lunch we’ve had in the past year here while Il Pastaio was the best dinner and best overall experience. This is why… they don’t do anything wrong and do tons of stuff right.

The restaurant is small and very compact but you can make reservations, which we did. I recommend you most certainly make reservations for the reason that it is extremely busy during dinner hours because it is so good. We were seated quickly after our reservation, despite a long line and there was a fuss about who was next, but they rightfully seated us at the proper time. I credit this to the owner’s son, who did an exceptional job taking care of us the whole night. He was personable and polite, efficient and honest, and an all around good guy for the job. He spent some time in Brooklyn so we talked to him about the restaurant’s history.

We found out that his father and family are from Costa Rica but his father (the owner) studied in Italy and learned how to cook Italian food there. We could see Costa Rican touches throughout the restaurant as well, including the unbeatable bread that was served with the meal. A hot batch came out of the oven near the end of the meal so we asked for a fresh loaf and they obliged without a question. Great service. Let’s talk about the food.

They have Boylan’s beverages. That’s enough for me and it was the perfect compliment for me. It reminded me of home so much… it was the only Italian place in Boulder that reminded me of home. What’s home? The Italian-American food capital of the world. ¬†We got a few appetizers including a caprese salad, a seafood mixto plate, the biggest antipasto platter, bread, and more. Everything was very good and we didn’t leave any leftovers at this point.

Boylan's and hot bread...who could ask for more?

Boylan’s and hot bread…who could ask for more?

Appetizers

Appetizers

However, then I was surprised at the size of the portions. The restaurant is not expensive but the quality of the food and the portion size would make you think it should be. Alana got a custom-made mushroom ravioli with a tomato-basil sauce. I got what I get every time I test a new Italian place out… chicken parm platter with pasta. It was HUGE. MASSIVE. I actually couldn’t finish it but it didn’t make it past the next day.

Alana's ravioli

Alana’s ravioli

Chicken parm, baby

Chicken parm, baby

Everything was good but they custom make raviolis. You can choose from a huge selection of fillings and then add whatever sauce from the menu you want. The quality is exceptional and allows the customer to get anything they want. Seriously, this was one of our best meals and dining experiences while in Boulder. And it’s not very expensive. I think all of that added up to the 60 dollar range and it was completely worth it.

Gelato

Gelato

And canoli

And canoli

So if you’re in Boulder and looking for good Italian food, call up our Costa Rican friends at Il Pastaio and make a reservation. Maybe we’ll see you there. Fueling up on some great pasta and protein can really keep you hungry and fit!

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