As I am graduating Harding, I feel like it’s a sign from heaven that a new authentic Italian restaurant opened in town. I still consider myself the best Italian cook in Searcy, but since I am leaving, and I couldn’t cook for a crowd anyway, I gladly pass down the keys of the Italian cuisine to Pastafina.
Pastafina opened two weeks ago and was pretty crowded on the Thursday night I went.
Pastafina’s environment features Frank Sinatra in the background and paintings of mouth-wa- tering Italian food on the walls.The hostess,Flora, straight from Brooklyn, will sit you down at one of the booths or tables. The lights are dim and the room is spacious enough to make you feel like you are having dinner in your own home.
The menu includes appetizers, meat entrees,seafood, pizzas, pasta, rolls and desserts. Lost among my reminiscent thoughts of food in Italy, I went for the simplest thing I could get. To try the authenticity of an Italian restaurant, there is nothing better than a classic, honest pizza.
I ordered a pizza with tomato sauce, cheese and black olives. One of my friends chose a calzone, a folded pizza filled with ricotta, while the other two picked pasta alla Bolognese and pasta alla Carbonara.The pizza was the smallest available, and it still could have fed two people. It was thin and crispy, as every Italian pizza should be, not like the soggy, thick and chewy pizzas you get other places. I tried my friends’ dishes, and I was satisfied with everything but the pasta alla Carbonara dish. As other Italian-American restaurants I have been to, this dish was too creamy and heavy while the real pasta alla Carbonara onlyhas bacon,eggs and pepper in it.The calzone was filled with dense, rich ricotta, and if I had more room in my stomach, I would have probably ordered one myself.
Chicken entrees and pizzas started at $10.95; homemade pastas start at $7.95; cannolis are $4.99.
One of the highlights at Pastafina was the warm, garlicky bread rolls to dip in oil and spices.
Like chips and salsa at Mexican restaurants, you will hate yourself for how many you eat before your actual meal comes. Even if these rolls are to die for, don’t ruin your appetite with them.
Another highlight was the dark-chocolate-covered cannoli that I had for dessert. These cannolis, filled with sweet ricotta and chocolate chips, were the most authentic dish I found in this new Italian restaurant. In addition to the dark chocolate cannoli, you can also order a classic plain cannoli . Of course I picked chocolate, but you really can’t go wrong with either.
Pastafina opens at 11 a.m. and closes at 9 p.m. on workdays and 10 p.m. on weekends. Pastafina is closed on Mondays.