Belotti Bottega, a small space along the busy commercial stretch of Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, is the epitome of Italian soul food. It is the more casual offshoot of Belotti Ristorante on College Avenue that provides diners with the same true Italian food without the wait.

As you first enter the quiet storefront, your eyes will come upon the counter-length case full of fresh pasta made directly behind it for all to see. On closer inspection, you'll notice that the case is filled with a variety of pasta shapes. These include fresh lasagna, pappardelle, agnolotti, gnocchi, tagliatelle, as well as a variable "pasta of the day." A small pamphlet lists the variety of fresh pastas and accompanying sauces available for purchase. 

There are eleven cooked pasta dishes and five appetizers that the kitchen prepares. These dishes, which can be eaten in the shop or taken out, include appetizers and antipasto like Burrata salad. Even more impressive are the pastas including, but not limited to, beef shank stuffed agnolotti, gnocchi in bolognese, and vegetable lasagna.  

Eating at Bottega

I opted for the simple spaghetti with marinara and gnocchi with bolognese, both well executed with good texture and flavorful sauce. The gnocchi were cooked flawlessly with a structural integrity and luxurious mouthfeel. The dumplings, rich meat sauce, and Grana Padano cheese synced together to make a truly luxurious dish.

The spaghetti, also cooked to a just-past-al-dente texture, was beautifully coated in a bright, clean tasting tomato sauce that evoked the unique deliciousness of tomatoes and high-quality olive oil. Topped off with a dollop of creamy Italian burrata and fresh basil, the simple spaghetti dish exemplified the quality of noodles, cheese, and tomato: hallmarks of fresh Italian cuisine. 

Cooking at Home

Chloe Lee

After trying the lovely pastas, make sure to take home some of Belotti's fresh pasta and ready-made sauces for a home-cooked meal. I took home one of the house pasta shapes that was similar to a fusilli, along with a container of the duck sugo, a duck meat sauce.

These particular pastas should only be cooked in salted, boiling water for around three minutes and will last a couple of days in the fridge or months in the freezer.  

Chloe Lee

The next day, I made the pasta and heated the accompanying sauce in a large pan. After the pasta boiled for three minutes, I tossed it into the pan with the sauce and added a couple ladlefuls of starchy pasta water. The pasta married the sauce and clung to the noodles, ensuring that the sauce didn't just slip off the noodles when time came to eat. 

Chloe Lee

After tossing the pasta in the pan for a couple minutes, a homey aroma filled the kitchen and the sauce thickened. I then took the pasta off the heat and plated it to avoid overcooking the noodles. The rich, well-balanced sauce, when tied to the noodles, created a synchronous dish that evoked sophisticated comfort. 

Belotti Bottega is two gems in one. It is a wonderland for pasta lovers eager to try fresh varieties without the pressure of a formal dinner, and is also a place for adventurous home cooks to explore outside the boundaries of the supermarket dried pasta section. You will see that top-grade pasta allows you to escape the boredom of average noodles. Try this pasta recipe with your newfound delicacy or look here for some recipe inspiration. After you taste what Belotti Bottega has to offer, you'll seek no other place for your Oakland pasta needs.