Tasting at PastaVino’s Grand Opening

Sampling new Boulder restaurant’s Italian fare

Although PastaVino, just west of Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall, has been in business for several weeks, the official grand opening was Sunday evening, May 6, and that was the first time I set foot inside. The stylish new restaurant promised free food samples and live music. Tables had been pushed aside, and it was S.R.O. around the tasting station, the wood oven area and the gorgeous bar. The food kept coming out — pizza, pasta, lasagne, gnocchi, salads, calamari, sweets.

Chef Fabio Flagello uses natural and organic ingredients. The menu is in Italian with English “subtitles” and an indication as to whether each dish is gluten free, gluten free option and/or vegetarian. The food was good and provided incentive to return to try more — and a table to savor it in comfort. I was taken aback when a modest pour of red or white wine cost $8. At the time, I thought that least happy hour pricing ought to have applied. But as I look at the online menus, I see that PastaVino, despite its name, seems to be promoting beer and spirits, with large lists of both and a happy hour discount on both. Surprisingly, there is not even a wine list on the website.

Classic bruschetta made with roasted tomatoes, olive oil, fresh basil, a bit of mozzarella and a lot of flavor.
Penne in a flavoful tomato sauce.

One of several pizza selections cut into modest wedges so guests could sample several. They went fast -- every one of them.
Tiramisu, always a crowd-pleaser.

It started sprinkling as we walked toward the restaurant and was raining hard when we walked out. There was still a good crowd for the event that was scheduled to last until 11:00 p.m. I hope they weren’t just waiting out the rain, because it last through much of Monday. Here are a few food images — no flash, diminishing available light.

Price check: At lunch and dinner, rotating daily pasta specials (a choice of three per day), $10-$14; salads, $6-$14; soups and antipasti, $5-$11; pizza, $9-$14; pasta, $7-$14; entrées, $13-$18; side dishes, $3. A $3 upcharge is applied for gluten free pasta and pizza.

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