|This entry refers to a departed business that has closed or left town. All information here is for historical reference only.
The title of this article is incorrect due to technical restrictions. The correct title is Pasta?
|805 2nd (At G Street)
|Bar: Thu-Sat 10:30pm-1:30am (Closed for Summer???)
Less expensive than Osteria Fasulo and more classy/yuppie than Davis' other Italian restaurants, Pasta? is an ideal place to have a drink, go on a date, or eat some pasta. The appetizers are uniformly good, but the pasta itself is variable in quality — the salmon fettuccine is delectable but the pesto is obviously canned. According to their menu, fresh pastas include ravioli, fettuccine, and gnocchi, but do not include string and tube shaped pastas.
Fresh and dried pasta dishes tend to cost the same here, but dried pasta can be bought anywhere and cooked by anyone with ease. Fresh pasta is more expensive for purchase, typically tastier, time intensive for the average home cook, and sometimes requires expensive equipment. A good dried commercial pasta can rival fresh pasta, but given the rarity of fresh pasta in American restaurants, choosing the fresh items may get the best bang for your buck. Pasta? is run by real Italian people so they should be trusted as to its authenticity instead of some standard people already have in their head, possibly Olive Garden. The creativity and skill of the staff is more important than adherence to a standard.
There is also an unusual combination bench and fountain on the corner. If you're curious, one of the businesses directly above is The Style Lounge.
There are also Pasta? restaurants in:
- Palo Alto
- Mountain View
Directly in front of the restaurant is a fountain.
They run a pretty good bar during the school year, which is sadly closed during summertime.
- Pasta? was one of the bars Davis Life Magazine visited and wrote about in their 2009 review of seven local bars.
2005-04-25 14:13:29 I've had the Fusilli con salsiccia a couple times and thought it was pretty good. We did have an odd experience once when all of our group happened to order dishes with different sauces but the dishes all came out with rather similar looking orange-y sauces. *shrug* We happened to go for their opening night and it was pretty neat to have the owner wandering around checking on the dishes and talking to the patrons. —RussBowlus
2005-06-08 21:01:36 Not worth it. Better to make pasta yourself or drive to Sac. This place purports to fill a gap in Davis dining, but is consistently mediocre, betting on students not knowing the difference (or caring about the difference) between good italian and overcooked pasta in second-rate sauce. —EllenWoodall
2005-06-20 01:53:29 A restaurant should superbly make simple dishes, or make dishes too complex for the home cook. The menu's simplest pasta dishes, the Angry Pasta and Pesto, were lacking in depth. The Angry Pasta was dominated by bland herbs, and lacked the intense hints of garlic and spice that normally flavor this dish. The pesto was an oily, weakish green sauce devoid of nuttiness. Indeed, one of the staff revealed it to be from a jar, a cardinal sin for a cuisine that thrives on fresh ingredients. I've been told the ravioli and gnocci are worth trying. Their regular pastas are okay quality, but I couldn't tell the difference between them and good quality dried pastas. Their seafood pasta dishes are good, but the overuse of dairy products makes their pasta sauces too uniform in character. The appetizers are great, and I enjoy soaking up the mussels's sauce w/ bread. And for the record, I'm from a predominately Italian region of NY, have been to Naples, and detest the Soylent stylings of Olive Garden. —CraigBrozinsky
2005-07-11 19:48:11 I had a rather homophobic experience here from a waiter and I have no plans on going back —BobGill
2005-07-17 15:59:24 Even the bread was stale. Does it get any more pretentious than this? —NoelBruening
2005-07-26 17:20:11 I love their Spaghetti Bella Napoli the most. They are mostly polite, and depending upon the times you go, their service can be pretty good. —MindyYang
2005-07-26 19:11:54 I ate lunch here months ago. My girlfriend had, and liked, the gnocci, and I had raviolli in the 'pink' sauce (mix of normal and the creamy sauce). Service was fine, food was alright but pricey for what you get. —ES
2005-07-28 01:08:53 Can't say that I've had their namesake plate however I did get the vegetarian sandwich (full of roasted veg and pesto) and asked them to put proscuitto in it...and they did! I got hooked up fat plus I wasn't charged extra. The balsamic vinegrette could have been tastier but not bad. Our bread was actually quite good and it flowed like crazy. But do NOT get the tiramisu. It was most disappointing, which for an Italian place, it should not. But their chocolate tartufo was worth it. =) But for some reason we were not given water. This has been a trend lately. Strange. —KarlaFung
2005-08-10 19:01:35 One of my favorites, good dishes are the gnocchi, ravioli (shrimp and lobster on special were amazing), and the Tarantina. Service is good, the bread could use a little work. —MelissaPytlak
2005-08-16 19:24:47 In spite of all the nasty comments, I have to give them a very strong recommendation. I had about 20+ people there for dinner for my 21st birthday, and everything went without a hitch. Unlike some businesses (cough cough Caffe Italia), Pasta? had no problem with a wishy-washy number of guests (so long as they had a general idea of how many people). They asked how I wanted the tables to be arranged (hee hee Last Supper style), and there wasn't a glass of water or a bread basket that ever made it to empty. They gave us two servers; everyone's drinks/appetizers came out at the same time, and miraculously, not one person was left playing with their fork waiting for the entree to come out...everyone received theirs, hot, at the same time. Further, EVERYONE'S order was right, which is often surprising, given that Chevy's can't get a two-person order correct to save their lives. I also appreciate the fact that they have a decent number of no-cheese and vegetarian options (with a certain special someone of mine being lactose intolerant). They have excellent fettucini alfredo and that tomato/clams (mussels?) pasta dish is superb. Gotta give them props. —JulieEickhof
2005-08-19 15:13:32 I went here once on a Thursday night with a few friends of mine. After about ten minutes after arriving, this absolutely ridiculously drunk guy came up to my friend at the bar, unsuccessfully hit on her, told me that he was sorry, "but your friend is FIIIIINE", then bit her on the shoulderblade. Beware of the sketchy clientele at the bar. —JoannaHeiple
2005-08-23 12:38:39 Their fettucini alfredo is not impressive. Since fettucini alfredo is a classic, and they can't seem to do it right, I'm not quite impressed by the place. Fuzio's is better. —AndreaPasiliao
- Well, if they're claiming to be authentic Italian, this is understandable. Although Fettucine Alfredo was invented in Italy (ca 1914), its neither traditional nor popular there. But your point is taken— combined with some of the above comments, it seems to be the case that both their authentic and americanized dishes are lacking.
2005-09-22 17:07:45 The owner and maitre d' are from Bari, on the Adriatic coast not far from Taranto. So eat the seafood dishes, they are close to the heart of the restauranteurs. It's my favorite restaurant in Davis...but I think olive oil, garlic and mollusks are three of the four basic food groups. —MarcusSitz
2005-11-04 19:39:32 If you like clams, their Bella Napoli is really really ridiculously good! I've been comparing similar clam dishes in Strings and Cafe Italia, and nothing compares to this. For one thing, Pasta? serves it with the shell so it tastes fresh and oh so juicy (unlike the canned and bottled versions that the other restaurants seem to use)!! The Tarantina is also a good mussel dish with calamari and spicy tomato sauce. Service is fairly good, depending who you get. There's always someone to provide more bread and water, so that's nice. You can also call in for pick-up and they're pretty quick to prepare your order. —MarianneDominguez
2005-11-21 15:17:00 Strangely unauthentic Italian food for a restaurant owned and operated by real Italians. But for an American audience, it beats Olive Garden or Strings. I had the Penne Norcina, which was pretty tasty. My wife could not finish her extremely overcooked Gnocchi. The coffee (by that I mean espresso) is better than most restaurants or for that matter most cafes in Davis. They use Miscela d'Oro coffee. My shot was pretty good, though a little long. Overall pretty decent, but it is what it is. —DjzayValenta
- Nevermind! Don't bother! I went there this last Friday with my wife. Not only had they raised the prices on the mediocre food YET AGAIN, but service was spotty at best (again) and the food was worse than normal. On top of that, my wife and I had the exact same dish, and we BOTH got sick. I have been to Pasta? a half dozen times simply because it is convenient and I didn't have high expectations. Now I will never go back. Since they keep raising the prices, they are now about the same as Caffe Italia. I will go there from now on. —DjzayValenta
2005-11-21 16:20:54 I think the pretentiousness is amusing. The food is pretty good for the money, and I've found the service to be worth a higher-than-normal tip. The fact that this place is next to a train station and is in a generally pedestrian-friendly area seals the deal for me - I'll happily go back. —GrahamFreeman
2005-11-23 22:13:01 Pasta wasn't cooked ideally, and the salmon kind of tasted like it came out of a can (too silky to be fresh/real). Not bad, just kind of oversalted. The bread was good, as was the salad. Service was pretty fast, although the waiter was inconsistent with his service to our table. He still got a decent tip for being friendly. Not really authentic, but I'm not going to cross it off of my list. —AndrewLeonard
2005-12-09 15:38:27 Last night I saw the owner doing coke in the bathroom. It was awesome! —ArlenAbraham
2005-12-14 10:46:27 This place is kinda disappointing. I like the atmosphere and found the service pretty impressive, but then, why does the food suck? I don't understand why the pasta I ordered was such a small dish, or why it tasted so bland. But I'm not willing to pay $9 for crap food. I may go back to see if it was maybe just what I ordered. —SS
2006-01-07 09:54:31 This place seems to garner a bevy of negative comments. Fortunately (for the restaurant), I don't agree with them. I went there last night for dinner and overall it was a great experience. We had a 7pm dinner reservation, but due to a crazy amount of people all showing up at one time, it took 5 minutes for them to seat us. That did not really bother me; it was nice to see a restaurant so full of life. Once we were seated, we had bread and olive oil - as soon as we got to the last piece, our waiter showed up. Walter, our waiter was a really cool guy from the Adriatic Coast of Italy. We ordered two pasta dishes - one straight from the menu and one with a special request (no cheese). The request was graciously accommodated. Our food came out very quickly, despite how busy it was. After dinner, the waiter offered me a traditional Italian after-dinner drink - Italian espresso. Overall, Pasta? was a great, pretty authentic experience. I will definitely go back there again. —GregHirson
2006-01-13 10:10:02 My wife and I went on a Friday night and the service was atrocious. The bartender was surly and incompetent and the waitstaff harried and inexperienced. I spoke to the owner/GM about it and he said they were a few waiters short that night but it was most definitely a poorly-managed and poorly-staffed establishment. Food, service, experience C- —FromBayarea
2006-01-13 14:59:44 The gnocchi isnt baked.. its just boiled.. a bit of a letdown if you know your gnocchi. —JulienBiewerElstob
2006-01-30 14:04:03 What's with the question mark? Are patrons supposed to guess that they're going to have pasta? —JohnNapier
2006-02-12 00:48:27 Simply put this place sux. I was hoping for a better selection of pasta and antipasti. There wasn't. I went here with my dad and we found the food so god awful that both of us were gonna puke. My relatives are Italian and coming from a very Italian family I have to say this place was an insult. To top that off the chef kept on coming over to us to validate whether the food was good or not. The only response that I could dignify was uh... We also had the merlot here and sadly it was bland and very odious. Also avoid the bar unless u want to have a horribly bad taste in ur mouth. If you really want some good Italian food go to Osteria Fasulo. For even better Italian food make the drive to the Italian Quarter in SF, North Beach to be exact. —MikeMele
2006-02-22 19:27:34 They're desserts are really good, especially the chocolate fondant cake and the chocolate souffle. :) —VivianPham
2006-03-15 21:19:39 I recommend the bruschetta, spaghetti tarantina and spaghetti bella napoli. Waiters are a kind of creepy. —JessicaFu
2006-03-19 18:20:35 The food is decent. I always get the Tarantina. Girls, prepare to be hit on a lot. It doesn't matter if you're underage. The waiters will probably hit on you. —KevinRollins
2006-03-19 19:21:25 Decent food. Not really authentic at all, imagine like.. decent Americanized Italian food trying to be authentically Italian, and that is what this place tastes like. It always seems to be busy though. The prices arent too bad either, but granted, it is just pasta. —JulienBiewerElstob
2006-05-04 20:04:47 I've been there several times. The only bad thing that ever happened was that they forgot our bread but really it just saved us calories:) My husband and I almost always get the fusilli con salsiccia. We can share that plate then share a dessert and it ends up being a relatively cheap date in a cute restaurant. I also had my husband's graduation dinner there and although we were all late after the ceremony, they did a great job serving, and everyone went home happy! —JenCam
2006-05-26 08:56:29 Dissappointed. The atmosphere was excellent. It looked very nice inside and out, but the food was questionable. The menu looked like it only have two sauces, and I went there with my family, tried both sauces and not impressed. Definitly overpriced, not-so-good pasta? —AlexKang
2006-08-20 14:03:56 I've never been to Italy myself, but it seems hilarious to me that anyone would defend this as being in any way "authentic" Italian food. Perhaps dishes are OK for the price: if you take into consideration the location, rent, etc. but why open up a restaurant and then be forced to serve medium/smallish portions of crappy pasta? And on that note: why open up a restaurant called "pasta ?" that doesn't serve house-made pasta? Anyway: have eaten there three times, food was disappointing- price seemed high for level of mediocrity. Would recommend against eating there. —DianaChristofersen
—Wow, you've never been to Italy and yet you find it amusing that the food is considered authentic? I lived in Italy for 3 months. Go to Italy, and then come back. Many of the dishes are exactly what you would find in Italy. Seems a little naive..... —annoyed user
"2006-089-03 20:47" I went there today for dinner and the service was so slow. I'm talking about waiting forever to just get our orders and then FOREVER to get the check. You would think that they would want the money but apparently not... it wasn't even that busy either! The food was only "okay" and to be honest, probably wouldn't eat here again. Had the tube pasta with "italian bacon" and onions. Bf had the gnocci, not great. And the bread was cold :( The only redeeming part of dinner was how the waiters refilled out water very quickly (the only thing that was quick that night). Sorry, but in my opinion, if you want to have pasta, don't go to Pasta with the question mark. KatYu
2006-09-21 14:20:33 I don't know why there are so many negative comments here. My boyfriend and I eat there regularly and we've always left happy. I was particularly impressed when I ordered this seafood dish one time (can't remember the name, but I want to say it was the Taranto) that contained mussells and calamari. I wasn't in the mood for mussells that day so I asked them to leave that out. Not only did they get that part correct, they gave me A TON of extra calamari. I have to say that alone earned them major brownie points. It also didn't hurt that the pasta sauce (nice and spicy) was just about perfect. The Penne Norcina is also quite delicious if your'e not a tomatoe sauce person. Hands down the best Italian restaurant in Davis, especially for the price (low to moderate for Italian). —TiffanyHsieh
2006-10-09 16:40:18 You would think that since they're called "Pasta?" they would have good pasta. But things seem to all look similar and you can maybe try goin to safeway and buy a good sauce and cook it yourself for like 1/10 of the price. —KiwiSelina
2006-10-22 07:25:57 I generally like this place. We take our 20 month old daughter there a lot and the atmosphere is very pleasant and she likes their gnocci. I agree with many writers here that the food is not anything to die for but once you accept that this is not a top notch Italian place the food is fine. However, any time we have been when it is crowded has been rough in terms of the service. And this past Friday night was a disaster (it was homecoming night). Simply put, they did not have even close to enough staff. It took 30 minutes or so for them to even take our order. We got our salads 20 minutes later. And our food never came. We finally ended up leaving. The staff was trying hard but they just did not have enough people. On a positive note - they told us we did not have to pay for the salads. —JonathanEisen
2006-11-10 21:34:31 Agree with all the Gnocchi comments. It's not very good. It has a good location, but not much else going for it. —ErwinSena
2006-11-14 23:34:09 Pasta? Overpriced? Mediocre food? Annoying staff? Yes. —DavisDavis
2006-11-28 17:17:14 I've been to Pasta? (goddamn that question mark is annoying) several times with my girlfriend, and a couple times with her and another friend. I like the gnocchi, but I also don't pretend to know anything about "authentic Italian cuisine". If you're an average guy and you like pasta, chances are you'll like it. The service is usually slow, and the wait staff can be pretentious. Also, some of the waiters seem to think that it's ok to only refill the drinks of the ladies that you are with, and ignore your requests for water. If this happens, just do what I did; don't leave them a tip. I spent half of my meal thirsty because they wouldn't bring water. If my girlfriend didn't insist on going back (she likes the salmon dish,) I wouldn't go back. —DominicCardenas
2006-12-05 15:28:44 Went to Pasta? for lunch on a Friday, and had a great experience. We went with a native Italian, and we joke on the way in that they probably don't speak Italian here. But, we *did* have a native Italian waiter, and he was great. He spoke Italian with us, and gave us gift coupons. Food was good - I recommend the Lasagna or the seafood pasta (Tarantina). One of us had a more bland pasta dish. I'd give this restaurant a 4 out of 5. —RudyGramage
2007-02-05 22:28:38 Least original name for a restaurant ever in the history of all time. Unless someone has opened up a deli called "Sandwich!" —JeffSpeckles
2007-02-06 07:58:51 Why was Pasta? closed last night? We went there at 6:30 and it was not open... —MyaBrn
2007-02-06 18:09:10 Pasta? Probably closed? Last night? Because? Mondays? Are slow? —JeffSpeckles
2007-02-14 21:19:09 Worse service ever! Hostess was a buffoon. Server did not great me until 40 minutes after I sat down. Manager was a complete Jerk. It was on Valentine's Day too. If you want a special occassion ruined, go to Pasta? in Davis. The one in Mountain View has better service. I honestly think the drive is worth it compared to wasting a minute of your life at the one here in Davis. —JennaStallard
2007-02-19 11:41:41 I went here with friends and the second we walked in my girlfriend complained that the place smelled absolutely foul and weird. The food is overpriced for the stupidly small portions they serve you. Everything looked like a waste of money, so I bought the Bruschetta appetizer. I will admit, it was very fresh and tasty with the tomatoes, but each of the four pieces of toasted bread was not worth a dollar. Two of my friends paid 9 dollars each for like 8 pieces of ravioli. I think this place is a horrible waste of a cool name, location, and Italian ambiance. —CoreyPham
2007-02-28 18:26:14 I could make most of their dishes better at home, which wouldn't be such a bad thing if the prices were lower. But they're not, so thumbs down. —BriannaBetancourt
2007-03-10 20:55:01 The gnocchi with norcina sauce is good. The muscle/clams appetizer is very good. The insalata Caprese is good. The prices are a direct result of the location. If you want good service, request to be seated in Walter's area. Quite a few of the servers are Italian. Walter is from Bari, Italy, and is the best server in the place. It's always clean, and the food is the best Italian in town. —CeciliaGabrielli
2007-07-01 03:07:10 Pasta? is silly. It's the only bar I've ever been kicked out of, and it was when my friend and I were the _completely_ sober drivers. Apparently, we had to much to drink. I will give 'em this: they can make some strong drinks at the bar. —MichaelAWoods
2007-07-20 19:02:16 The name says it all PASTA? —dickjones
2007-07-28 19:33:01 Really disappointing food. I was excited when it opened but after my partner and I ate there once, we never returned. The marinara, cream and pesto sauces were either bland and tasteless, too oily, or overly creamy and lacking in flavor. The bread was stale and the salad was poor. I'd argue that their sauces taste canned rather than fresh. Honestly, I make much better pasta at home! —GradStudent06
2007-08-10 15:23:21 Ugh, disappointed for the second time. the first time i went i thought i just ordered the wrong thing. Second time wasn't any better. The food their is poorly seasoned and they try to compensate for it by adding lots of salt. Service is ok but nothing special same goes for the ambiance. Definitely not worth the prices. Better off just going to the Bistro for a couple more bucks. Or Cafe Italia if you want to stick with Italian food. —AmyYang
2007-09-04 12:47:24 $2 Well drinks on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday, from 8 PM to 11PM. That's an incredible deal. Not served in teeny tiny cups either. —Antoine
2007-09-18 15:10:14 The food here is so-so. Not great, not awful. I wanted to order a cocktail at lunch and the bar wasn't open. That was irritating. The wait staff is not always very friendly. I have had them be very rude to me over THEIR messing up my order. I prefer Caffe Italia. —AmberB
2007-11-08 22:33:55 this place is really great...awesome to eat out here for parties..very nice atmosphere :)...the food is very simple but great...and if you dont want a certain ingredient in your food..well just tell them and theyll substitute it for something else...im a big fan of penne al'arrabiata and theres was preety good...not very spicy and i love spicy food..so a little disappointed but otherwise delicious! also we got the tiramisu and i guess if you like the traditional kind of tiramisu go here...but otherwise it was way too moist and cakey...tasted kind of off...otherwise this place seems great...try the pesto potatoes..looked preety good from when i passed someone eating it in the window :) —MAIRA
2007-12-14 19:54:48 Ate here tonight for the first time. Not too bad, but I can't really compare Italian restaurants since I don't visit them quite much. —BenShmidt
2007-12-26 08:48:26 Less than average food. If you enjoy Italian, don't go here. —Pattie
2008-01-20 23:01:50 Very bland food. I'm not a fan of this place. —Dr.Lindsay
2008-01-21 23:31:21 An honest question: How many of the "It's not authentic" comments here are from people who know what real Italian food is? The cuisine of Italy differs dramatically throughout the country. The majority of Pasta?'s dishes most closely resembling those of the southern regions. Another issue is that truly authentic Italian food doesn't match the American pallet, for the most part, and would not thrive in an area lacking a large Italian population.
With that said, I have always found the food to be tasty, although the restaurant is understaffed at times. It seems to always be packed on Friday and Saturday nights, so going other nights of the week may be a better option if you're in a hurry. It seems satisfied customers go back, and unsatisfied customers write about it on the internet.
2008-02-02 02:27:11 Just got back from there during the night club hours. Had an aweful experience. I asked the bartender (Some douche with a Goatee) to get me a patron on the rocks. He comes back with a glass full of ice and patron about 40% full. I tell him that drinks "on the rocks" are supposed to be drinks filled with ice, and then filled with your choice of beverage. He responds with, "Do you want me to get you a smaller glass? Drinks on the rocks are 1 shot of alchohol filled with ice." I tipped him out of pity. What a loser. Dont go there —Jonny
2008-02-09 18:19:34 Pretty good but on the salty/heavy side. That seems par for the course for Italian restaurants for some reason. Don't know why, because it's not normal for your average Italian home-cooked meal. Still, I don't understand the bevy of negative comments. —StellaChiara
2008-02-09 21:05:54 Their lasagna is quite tasty. I've been here a few times, and always liked the food. A little bit overpriced for what you get though. —IDoNotExist
2008-02-18 14:01:55 I went there with my daughter last week and it isn't "more classy than Davis' other Italian restaurants". That is only technically true at best. The salads are downright boring and the pasta dishes are just okay. Fuzio is better. The pasta there is more interesting and they are about the same price.
2008-02-19 05:20:17 I really like the sandwiches here— particularly the meatball one. yum. —jess&will
2008-02-20 09:44:29 A plate of spinach leaves and some toasted walnut cost me 8 bucks. I'm not going back there again. —JessicaYang
2008-03-03 22:47:56 I frequently dine there with friends, and I don't really have any complaints about the food or service. However, Thursday night my friends and I were hanging out at the bar...and the bartender was a COMPLETE jerk and extremely rude. I asked him if he could make a mojito...his reply "uhhh you really expect me to crush up a bunch of mint leaves just for you while all these other people wait?" A simple no would have sufficed. Needless to say, I am not going back there again for drinks.
2008-03-16 20:06:21 To the "patron on the rocks" comment, you clearly have never worked in a restaurant or bar, otherwise you would know that the standard pour for any single alcohol, rocks, up, or however you order it, is a simple few second count that is equivalent to a shot. He could have put it in a smaller glass if it made you feel better, but it's still the same amount. He happens to be the best bartender in Davis. Honestly, I think all of you who have insisted on critizing the restaurant so strongly should all give yourselves a taste of the retaurant business before complaining. I have a feeling those comments would be quickly retracted. —italia7
2008-03-28 12:56:46 bar used to be really cool on fridays, now it's trendy and full of pop-collar doucebags and frat trash like soga's and froggy's. still best bar in davis though. $2 wells before midnight and good dj. —IanBenton
2008-04-16 16:23:29 I've been here a couple of times and it's been kind of "eh" both times. The atmosphere is kind of nice, the service was good, but the food portions seem really small and not that exciting. —GabeDavis
2008-04-21 10:38:09 Does anyone know if Pasta? has an electronic DJ every Friday night? I just went for my first time last week and had a lot of fun. Davis needs more EDM! :) —MarkWatson
2008-05-06 13:50:56 Pasta? has a nice upbeat atmosphere, particularly lively during dinner on Fri/Sat nights. Their nightclub can be good fun as well with a core set of really good DJs who each spin once a week...usually no cover... Friday a french DJ plays a mix of electronic/pop. Other nights are House...Hip-Hop... Gets crowded and can be difficult to get a drink sometimes but they started a "beer only" table, and that seems to be relieving some of the pressure on the bartenders so they can turn out mixed drinks much quicker. Yeah, about the Patron, what difference does it make whether you have the same amount of alcohol on ice in a small glass (so that it looks full) or in a larger glass (so that it doesn't look full)? Maybe a drink on the rocks is supposed to traditionally be served in a short glass, but so what?
The staff and bartenders are really pleasant, and all of the female servers are very easy on the eyes, which is never a bad thing. Never had a problem with service. The bartender with the goatee is actually a great guy. Stop in to have a drink and chat with him on an uncrowded night and you'll see. There is a female Brazilian server / assistant manager who is particularly sweet and charming. The manager Marcello is Italian and is a great guy as well. The food is really good for the most part, some dishes better than others. Fish dishes are usually great!
To provide a different perspective from some of the complainer comments, I think the price/portion value is quite good actually. They give you a lot of food. Someone mentioned being disappointed paying 8 bucks for a spinach salad that consisted of spinach leaves and some toasted walnuts. Well, this might come as a surprise to believers of the "Supersize It" philosophy, but the American assumption that more is better is not always the case. Some salads are simple, and the ingredients in the salads are listed on the menu. If the spinach salad didn't sound good to you for 8 bucks, then why did you order it? Duh! To me that kind of reaction translates into "I'm cheap and can't appreciate simplicity so I feel ripped off if everything under the sun is not thrown in my dish." I have tried Caffe Italia several times, for breakfast and dinner, and have left every time thinking the food was absolutely horrible... horrible as in the worst food in Davis... particularly at that price point... it's not even authentic American Italian let alone authentic Italian Italian... but I guess you do get to draw on your table with crayons at Caffe Italia, so depending on the artistic skills of your dining companions, you might walk out with a priceless piece of artwork... I'd rather skip the meal and pay my little nephew to sketch me a masterpiece! So to say the prices at Pasta are starting to approach the prices at Caffe Italia as if it were a bad thing doesn't really make much sense to me.
If you grew up thinking the "Spaghetti Factory" is where it's at as far as Italian is concerned, you should probably stick with Caffe Italia. Otherwise, give Pasta? a try, you'll probably enjoy yourself. —davisfugitive
2008-05-08 19:40:19 I've arrived in Davis in April and I can say that this is the best place to have lunch (and dinner during the week). Of course it will not be the best dinner ever during weekend due to the huge amount of people there. —Fede
2008-05-09 19:42:20 Pasta? as a place to party on Thurs-Sat nights seems to have replaced Soga's. It's definitely a lot nicer, cleaner (doesn't smell like beer stained carpets), and bigger. Oh yah, the toilets are also not clogged every 2 seconds. I also feel like there are a lot less sleezy, older dudes at Pasta?. My only beef with this place = the bartenders. They're rude, arrogant, lack bar tending knowledge, and seem like they hate their jobs (I'm speaking of two in particular, I'll let you guess which ones). You have to wait a decent amount of time to get a drink (I guess like everywhere else), but the atmosphere is great if you like to dance! —UCD4thyr
- To the Person above, The Bartenders at Pasta? are amazing especially Dante and Damien, they are never anything but nice and make great drinks, if you were a Davis regular you would know they were the bartenders at Cantina also and kept the place running over there, The DJ's are now great, listen to what you request and actually play it too. —DavisResident23
I completely agree with the above comment - the bartenders are fabulous and extremely knowledgeable - better than anyone else in town.
2008-05-13 23:49:25 I've eaten here for both Dinner and Lunch. Lunch is pretty good, but can get expensive if you don't do their 8 dollar deal. Dinner is really good. My husband and I both love the mushroom appetizer and my husband LOVES the Gnocchi with white truffle cream sauce. Yummy. Very rich and creamy. —JamieParker
2008-05-30 22:28:19 The pasta is still very good. Unfortunately, the portions are miserably small and not a very good value, even for very tasty pasta. Fortunately, they serve bread with the meal, so you have enough food. Unfortunately, if they run out of bread (as they did tonight), and aren't able to get more (because their bread supplier, Village Bakery, has shut down for the night, you are left with a very small portion of tasty but overpriced pasta, and the desire to do something about that hungry feeling you still have by finding another place to get something inexpensive. Despite this place having the best pasta I've found in Davis so far, I don't go here very often because of the combination of high prices and tiny portions (even with the normally available bread). If they lowered their prices, I would come here much more often. If they gave you enough food that I was not really hungry afterwards, I would come here more often too. But the combination of small portions and high prices means that I rarely get dinner here. Given that pasta, or its ingredients, are very inexpensive, and that it would probably only increase their cost by a few cents to increase the portion sizes, and that they would pick up much extra business (and therefore profit) if they did so, I would think that they might want to provide larger portions. But hey, I don't run the place... —IDoNotExist
2008-06-02 17:35:12 i wish they'd bring back 2$ wells. i don't go there much anymore because it's too damn expensive compared to g street. —IanBenton
2008-06-14 17:52:50 Went with 2 friends, had the Carpaccio, which was pretty good (I'm certainly no expert), friends had pasta dishes. Like most other Davis restaurants, I only order things I can't make at home (this eliminates pasta and chicken dishes). Verdict: only go here if there's a particular Italian dish you've never had before (or never had right or can't get elsewhere in Davis), its worth the money to know its made correctly. Inexplicably crowded after 10pm on Thursday-Saturday nights. Drinks are about average for Davis, people! —davisGeek
2008-06-14 19:00:41 Perhaps it is crowded then because most restaurants in Davis close by 10, and most of those that are left are fast food or pizza places. Note that the kitchen appears to close about 1/2 an hour before the restaurant does. (I learned this the hard way.) —IDoNotExist
2008-07-05 14:46:35 I enjoyed Pasta Q! I'm quite picky about Italian eateries in America because they are usually really bad. (Not a fan of americanized cuisines.) Pasta Q actually tasted good. I had their clam pasta which was delicious, a bit light on flavor but good. They used cherry tomatoes which was a bit disappointing, would ave preferred sun-dried tomatoes. The service was good. Atmosphere is okay. Love how they refill the bread! —islandboy12
2008-09-29 15:01:01 $2 Well drinks are back on. 10p to 11:30. Also all kinds of drink specials that get posted on the blacklight board. —GoodTipper
2008-10-25 03:52:09 Just ate here tonight with my girlfriend. It was a good experience. She had the dumplings, I had the pasta al pamadoro. both were very good, however I must say the portions could be upped a bit for the price. We were treated very well and were seated and served promptly. I recommend Pasta? and will be going back soon. —smittyhoy
2008-10-26 16:00:52 I went here a few times, once for lunch, a couple times for dinner.
I've always had at least a decent experience here. Most of the food ranges from "slightly above average" to "really good," though I usually stick with the safe stuff like fettucine alfredo/al Pesto, gnocchi, or the lasagna. Of those dishes, their gnocchi and lasagna particularly stands out. Service has always been friendly, and the interior feels clean.
I must comment on the bread here. When I came for lunch, I could not stop eating it, especially after asking for butter (yank, I know). Both the times I came for dinner, however, the bread was a little tough and perhaps even stale. —BrandonWong
2008-10-28 15:45:43 I had fettuccini alfredo with chicken, and it was nothing remarkable. I could make it myself at home with no effort. It's fairly overpriced considering how bland it was. I was not able to finish my portion, but people with bigger appetites can easily finish it in one sitting. Overall, I wouldn't go there again. —Kiran
2008-11-04 18:29:50 I went there today for lunch and the service was excellent. The pasta was decent, and the desserts were great. I would definatly go there again. —pplpenguin
2009-01-09 15:07:55 My reaction after eating there for dinner last night was, "Meh." —OscarSabino
2009-02-03 16:28:55 I have been to Pasta? four times in the past year and a half. The first time the place was good, had the clams in spicy tomato sauce on linguini and my husband had gnocchi with truffle cream sauce, which he raved about. But that experience wasn't enough for us to remember to come back for a long time. The second time I went for lunch with girlfriends and sat outside. Again, it was good, but not enough to want to come back any time soon. The third time was in Dec. 08, about 8 months after that last lunch. This time our experience was MUCH more impressive. Having arrived at the height of dinner hour, we opt to eat at the bar. Being just the two of us, it wasn't that bad, however, the bartender was very busy and did not pay as much attention as a waiter would have. We ordered the house salad, which lacked in dressing big time, although knowing Italians and Italy that is how salads are served there. For dinner that night we ordered the Lasagna and the Gnocchi again. Both were EXCELENT. The Lasagna reminded us of Lasagna we ordered in Venice and drooled over. It was to die for. As an Italian and a cook, I was impressed. The gnocchi again was very good and impressive, if not extremely rich. The bartender seemed to have noticed his lack of attention towards us and asked us if we wanted dessert. We declined, but a few minutes later, he had a huge plate of tiramisu for us. It was good, for had a nice espresso flavor, thick cream and good chocolate powder on top. No charge for dessert. The next time we went was about a week later, we remembered our yummy entrees from before this time. This time we were seated immediately, even though it was crowded, we had a very nice waiter, though he forgot a few things, and plenty of really good bread. This time we ordered some penne with sausage and mushrooms with a light cream sauce and the simple pasta with pomodoro and meatballs. All very tasty and we were very pleased with our experience there. So, out of all our experiences, I say Pasta? is coming up in the world. It’s one of the better restaurants in Davis. I will totally be going back. —JamieParker
2009-02-19 17:19:43 I went to Pasta? for lunch today, and I was quite impressed. I have always considered in that tier of Davis restaurants, like Bistro 33, which are quite trendy, rather expensive, and not totally worth the money. However, Pasta? is an exception to that: for $9 (not as cheap as my usual restaurants, but definitely doable even on a student budget) I got the best plate of gnocchi I've ever had, which isn't saying all that much because I don't eat Italian that often, but it was definitely quite tasty and VERY filling, especially since I indulged in a good deal of the free bread with olive oil and vinegar they have out at lunch. Very tasty, and I won't need dinner until much later tonight.—StephenHudson
2009-02-20 01:25:17 absolute awesome place, great place to take someone, the atmosphere is perfect and the staff is very friendly. the food is great although pricey, but you cant go cheap right? —alexdavis
2009-02-28 14:45:12 I've never had lunch or dinner here, bu as fas as after hours, Pasta Q is managed by and employed with some of the most unfriendly people in the Davis nightlife industry. They never extend any sort of courtesy. They charge anyone who isn't a UCD student three dollars to get in even if it's 5 minutes till last call, and then it's damn near impossible to get a drink at their miniscule bar. They've kicked out my friend as he is ordering a $50 round. A bouncer called my friend's girlfriend fat and basically tried to start a fight with our group. Every time I ask a bouncer to let me in real quick through the back, they look at me like I am a criminal and insist I walk around and get in line. If you're a townie like me, boycott this place for their ridiculous cover charge for non-students. If you like the upscale-ness try Bistro or Sophia's, if you like hip-hop, dance music, or dancing, try Little Prague, and if you like a large crowd of ciggarette smokers go to G street, if you like a crowd of predominantly students, go to Froggies. But if you like asshole roid-monkey bouncers and bartenders who pour like Mormons minus the smile, go to Pasta. —GreezySweezy
2009-03-08 21:28:22 In response to GreezySweezy:
The $3 cover charge applies every night, however you receive a $3 discount if you present your student ID. Allowing more people to enter for free a mere 5 minutes before last call is counterproductive because those who enter will want to spend extra time drinking the beverage(s) they ordered at the last minute, thus preventing the staff from emptying the bar and cleaning everything in a timely manner. The bar actually loses money by allowing this to happen because it has to pay its employees to stay longer, negating the profit that would be made off of your drink.
As far as entering "real quick" through the back is concerned, do you have any idea how many people attempt to avoid the line and cover by "getting a friend" or "just going in for a second"? It makes far more sense for the bouncing staff to prevent those who do not have hand stamps already from doing so. Otherwise one of them would have escort the individual to make certain they do return promptly, thus leaving the entrance which he is being paid to secure.
I was not present, nor do I know the details about your friend being kicked out while ordering, but the chances are he was behaving in a belligerent manner. The staff would not attempt to get rid of a paying patron for no reason. The fact of the matter is that the bar staff attempts to help customers in order in as timely a manner as possible, and the bouncer are there to escort out those who are a danger to themselves or others.
The bottom line is that there are established policies and a primary entrance for a reason. Contrary to your apparent belief, you are not better than everyone else who frequents the establishment, and you deserve no special benefits. If you visit the bar in the future, or any bar for that matter, you will find that your experience will be exponentially better if you leave your superiority complex at home. —5thyear
2009-03-15 22:14:01 Had dinner here and the food was mediocre. I had the fetuccini with salmon and it wasn't good. It tasted weird. My boyfriend had some sort of rigatoni and it tasted like I could've made it at home. Not worth it. The good things were: the service, food came out quick, and there was unlimited bread. —renee415
2009-04-04 09:10:34 I've never eaten here, but for going out at night this place is awful. The staff are some of the rudest people I've ever come across at any establishment in Davis. They have a ridiculous $3 cover charge, but that's not what angers me. Apparently at a certain point that is well before 2am closing time if you step outside of their establishment you wont be allowed back in, even with a hand-stamp showing that you paid to get in. I'm not talking five minutes before 2am, this was easily more than half an hour before last call when they wouldn't let us back in. Of course they don't let you know that on your way out. It's just when you're trying to get into the still open establishment that they arbitrarily inform you that you will not be allowed back in, despite having paid to get in and having the requisite stamp to show it. Oh, and the bouncers love to talk tough to women and threatened my 5'0 friend. If you want to get treated like crap and get ripped off, then this is your place. —Verwoerd
2009-04-27 21:24:55 Really wasn't impressed with this place, especially for the price. I kinda felt like they had 3 main sauces and charged differently for the type of noodle you chose. I always had good service here, however. —BrookeB
2009-05-10 17:23:10 The pasta dish I had yesterday (the name was something like All' Amaraciatta) is really good. The sauce was great. As a warning, I think it may have been a little spicy too. —phyrephox
2009-05-31 05:15:55 I've been here a couple times, though not recently. It has a very posh, but laid-back feel to it. Suited me nicely. The food was tasty, a step up from most of the Italian chains around, though you do pay for the difference. The cream sauce was delicious, as rich and, well, creamy as one would expect it to be. That's the main thing that stuck in my mind. Overall, just a great place for a night out, especially with a small group or just two. I'll have to go again soon so I can give more specifics. —KBathory
2009-06-21 02:35:39 Pasta Q deleted my comment about how they like to kick people out and force them to drink their booze before it's closing time. Thanks for telling us before we bought the drinks instead of being overgrown punks. If you don't want to work till 2am, get a different job that doesn't require standing and checking id's. —MyNameDoesntMatter
- Actually, NickSchmalenberger, who has no association with Pasta? as far as I know, deleted it. This was probably because it sounded like a drunken rant that didn't really do much beyond insult the bouncers. However, if you'd like to explain what happened, then that would probably better get across the point you are trying to make. Oh, also: if you're only going to be here for the one comment about the bouncers, then a name like "mynamedoesntmatter" is basically going to tag your review as being written by someone who either didn't care enough to be a regular editor on the wiki, or wasn't willing to stand behind their words with their real name.—JoePomidor
2009-07-08 20:50:25 Yeah, I chose this name because I purposely created it to review Pasta Q. The food is usually pretty sub par. But believe me, what I experienced that night was lame. I know it sucks to work until closing time when there is no business. But to be so rude to customers, and deny them the simple pleasure of sitting down and enjoying a drink they just bought not 10 min before that. And to have a bouncer tell you that they close at a specific time, but essentially tough luck, get the f out in 10 min, that is lame. If you wanted to go home earlier, you shouldn't have chosen a job that requires late working hours whilst you do almost nothing the whole time except for chat with your friends and check ids. Oh yeah, and my name really doesn't matter on here. —MyNameDoesntMatter
2009-07-25 16:14:05 overpriced for their portions... imagine a plate with a diameter of a foot, then imagine one layer (and yes, i mean one layer)in the middle of the plate with a diameter of no more than 5 inches of pasta and "cheese" sauce and baconbits... this entre was close to $10 (you were better off just making your own kraft mac and cheese or buying frozen) and then in the ravioli entre, there was a count of only 7, for the price of $13-$14 (you were better off going to olive garden) anyway this place has the worst food and the worst pricing..it isn't worth it at all..along with everything else in downtown davis it's OVERPRICED mixed in with a HUGE LACK in quality...
that being said,
what was with that "notice of suspension"? now it says "OPEN" in big ole red lettering...? there were customers in there even with the notice... (so i'm watching "The Mummy Returns" while writing this post, i'd rather fight with the mummy and take a bite out of his arm than to go here again...) —TriPpy
2009-08-01 17:10:32 I've only been once, but the food was delicious. I got gnocchi with truffle cream sauce and the person I was eating with got a seafood pasta dish, and they were both tasty. There was enough to take leftovers home, too. Will definitely go again. —DanaSullivan
2009-08-01 23:50:22 the name is lame! the food is good. good lunch special. —jonjon
2009-09-15 12:11:08 I wasn't such a big fan of this place as a single bachelor guy. The food just didn't work for me, and the ambiance felt a little... I don't know, forced?
But now as a young parent, I'm a huge converted fan. The fast/kind service is hugely appreciated. Food comes out prompt and as ordered, and my young kids love their special kids offerings. And for us adults, the pasta norcina is very, very good. I've been here twice in the last week. Now that Strings is closed (no tears lost), we'll be here regularly. —ChonT
2009-09-15 12:40:12 I don't like their policy on birthday cakes. I've got a friend with a gluten allergy so I made her a special cake from nut flour for her birthday. Initially we were going to have a big dinner here but then I was told they charge a cake "cutting" fee if you bring one from home (even if you cut it yourselves). Their rationale is that they lose money they would otherwise make on the dessert menu. Yuck. I changed the reservations to Fuzios instead because they don't charge and even kept the cake in their fridge for us until it was time to surprise her.
Too bad they can't think through the cake policy and realize that instead of losing money on desserts (none of us would have ordered anyway) they end up losing out on an even bigger dinner reservation. It was a 21st celebration with 12 people so at least $100 was spent on drinks alone. —OliviaY
2009-10-18 10:33:43 I came here with a group of 12 a few nights ago; the staff was very polite and accommodating, especially when it came to splitting our check. Was the food the best, or the most authentic, I've ever had? No. But the atmosphere was nice, our server was wonderful, we never had shortages of bread or water, and our food was delivered promptly. —acparsons
2009-11-09 00:24:30 I went here with my 5 housemates. Upon entering, we were greeted and seated. Service was prompt and attentive. I'm not sure if the bread is refillable but we got one refill before they told us they were out of bread...at 7:30pm I find that hard to believe but whatever. I ordered spaghetti carbonara and it was pretty good. I am not one to judge what is authentic and what Pasta should taste like, but it tasted pretty good to me. I was, however, extremely disappointed at the serving size. It was amusing for me to watch each of my housemates' faces in shock as they stared at their 15 (after the 18% mandatory party tip of course) dollar plate of pasta, which consisted of possibly 6-7 bites, placed in front of them by the waiter. At least the service was acceptable and the food was tasty. Overall, my experience was bittersweet. —BenLee
2009-12-11 18:51:04 I'm not going to go to some place that thinks their pasta is questionable. —William42
- LOL genius —SS
2009-12-17 22:35:07 My roommate and I come here regularly. The service is uniformly excellent. The food is consistently good; but in my opinion it isn't excellent.. there just isn't enough flavour. The portions are usually just about right for me, but it probably isn't the best choice for when you're famished. They have a variety of domestic and imported wines, but I haven't found one that really blew my socks off yet. We've tried a couple desserts—the most memorable were some sort of lemon balls or something. I forget the name, but they were good! —AndrewPotter
2010-01-10 18:25:30 Why does the top of the article say that "Pasta Q" is incorrect? While that is not what the restaurant signage shows, the website for the restaurant refers to itself as "Pasta Q" leading me to believe this is acceptable. Could someone clear this up for me? —NicoleWoodyard
- Page names on the wiki can't have question marks in them. —JasonAller (and neither can domain names)
- To echo and expand upon the above, question marks in web addresses have all kinds of problems with them. Because of that, both Pasta? and the Wiki use a "Q" instead, as neither their website address nor the address to this wiki entry can have a question mark in the URL without causing all kinds of subtle problems. In short, titles with question marks aren't internet friendly, so Pasta? uses the alternate title PastaQ for internet addresses... and so does the wiki. —Evan 'JabberWokky' Edwards
- But in spite of these technical restrictions, "Pasta?" (with the question mark) is the real name of the restaurant. —CovertProfessor
It is often pronounced Pasta Q by people who work there. —IDoNotExist
- I pronounce it "past-AH?" with my voice higher at the end. It sounds totally moronic. —cp
2010-03-25 15:19:42 I had the eggplant parmigiana (which had a really...authentic (?) sounding name on the menu)last night. It wasn't the best eggplant parmigiana I had ever had (a little too soggy and swimming in sauce) but the eggplant parmigiana was tasty and when paired with the potatoes and veggies left me full and contented (not stuffed). It is a bit pricey, but only a few dollars difference from the eggplant parmigiana dinners I get at Italian restaurants at home. The drinks looked good (and big) and the service was excellent. Aree rating: 7.5/10 (Also, I don't think a review should be used as this restaurant's bio...just saying!) —ArianeMetz
2010-05-03 13:49:34 This is the only place my 18 year old son wants to go out to besides Chuy's or pizza. He likes spicy sausage penne and bread. They always fill him up on bread and he says the sauce is way better than Fuzio's. It just isn't my favorite place as I find most of the other dishes bland or too creamy. Not bad...just good. We have always had very good service here. —LokiAbbi
2010-06-24 22:46:19 Contrary to what is written below, below, Pasta is open for club night Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. —RalphyB
2010-07-27 17:59:49 Is only closed for summer. Will be open again once the regular sessions of UCD begin anew. —WesOne
- has been confirmed by three different sources, two former employees and one friend who has negotiated Bouncing staff for them, Pasta Q (or affectionately, Pasta?) has closed for good. Sigh.. sad to see it go, but hey.. more business for everyone else now. Yay! — Wes
2010-07-29 02:48:59 Sad to see them go. Perhaps they will be replaced by a new Thai restaurant or a frozen yogurt shop. It would be great if Davis had one of those at long last... —IDoNotExist
Mexican actually. —hankim
- Well, it would definitely be nice to have a good Mexican place. Anyone know why PastaQ closed? They seemed to have a lot of people there on most of the occasions that I went - although as noted above, I'd have gone a lot more often had they lowered their prices to something more inline with what they were serving. —IDoNotExist
2010-08-11 11:23:20 I hate to see businesses go out, especially when it's a small business, even though this is a chain. But this place was horribly managed, and their "club" staff was absolutely horrible. I was kicked out of here stone sober when I went out the wrong entrance, and they told me to leave when I was the DD that night. They could have had a huge lawsuit on their hands if my friends didn't make it home alright, needless to say how horribly I was treated as someone who dropped about 150 bucks there a month just on drinks. —aggie2009
2010-09-27 07:58:47 NO WAY! THEY CLOSED!? How sad! It was a nice place for a drink :/ —ArianeMetz
2010-10-01 11:22:44 Good Riddance "Q"! —GarrettGallegos