06 June 2009

Summer Pasta: Justa Pasta

SPLITTER--This one is meant for two!
Small Spinach Salad + Small Pasta, $5.00

Justa Pasta is certainly not just pasta—I have to say their spinach salad is probably the best I’ve ever tasted. The leaves are perfectly coated with a garlicky olive oil and dressed with pine nuts and goat cheese. It’s light, but still very tasteful. Ask for a small to keep the price down, or make it a large to bulk up on greens. The large is a dinner plate full!

Their homemade pasta menu changes sporadically, but they almost always have tagliatelle or parpadelle, which is a thin, wide noodle seen all over Italy but scarce in the states. If you don’t see one of these on their menu, just ask the cashier—their almost always available in their pasta case. Pair these pastas with their Bolognese sauce. The combination of thin noodles with thick meat sauce is flawless and incredibly filling.

Justa Pasta is one of Portland’s best Italian restaurants and yet so off the radar—which may be due to the location. Justa is tucked away on a random street in NW. However, that’s what makes this place so great—you avoid the large crowds that the other Pearl District Italian restaurants attract, without taking away quality.

One down fall to this joint is you have to walk up to the counter to order (this can get tricky if you are wanting your date or parents to pay for you). Don’t worry too much though, they still wait on you and deliver a plate of assorted breads, olive oil and vinegar to the table. How can you go wrong with homemade pasta!

Splurge—for $5, add a piece of their chocolate cake or a glass of house red/white.

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