I love Italian food. It’s that simple. Perhaps it is because my father owned a pizzeria, perhaps it’s because the first thing I learned how to cook was spaghetti; either way, my obsession has only grown since coming to college. Of course the only problem with this is that my supply has been limited. In Isla Vista there is only Sorriso offering my weekly dose of Eggplant Parmesan, and in all of Goleta there is only one other location, Petrini’s Pizza and Pasta on Calle Real. When I heard that Pascucci, one of State Street’s popular Italian destinations, was creating a second location at the Camino Real Marketplace in Goleta, I was, needless to say, overjoyed.
Finding a time that fit my schedule was not easy, so I settled for a Tuesday afternoon. My first thought when I walked in was simply “opulence.” The atmosphere was rich, with rustic brick walls and arched entrances to a private backroom with multiple mirrors and low lighting. The walls were paneled with a dark wood and the seats were upholstered with Victorian-esque decals in deep maroon and dark brown. The tables were made out of a beautiful green stone. The ceiling was tiled with gold plating. Each booth had its own chandelier, and in the center of the building was an extravagant blood-red chandelier.
Now that I have fully immersed you in the atmosphere of the location, I suppose I should mention the food. I ordered a fresh squeezed citrus juice, a combination of orange, lemon and lime. The friendly waiter was just as excited about it as I was. It was refreshing, tangy with just the right amount of sweet and, as I found out, made a great palette cleanser.
I ordered the phyllo wraps as an appetizer. They were filled with gorgonzola, tomato pesto and pine nuts. Although they were delicious — the phyllo wraps were crispy and buttery — the filling was overwhelmed with gorgonzola and made it hard to eat too many. However, when I did get a more inclusive bite of the phyllo, the flavors blended beautifully.
For the main course, I ordered the Amalfi, which is a three cheese ravioli topped with a roasted red pepper and rosemary. The sauce was surprisingly sweet with just a hint of spice, and the raviolis were perfectly filled with cheese, which oozed out in a stringy texture each bite. My dining partner ordered the Bellagio, a farfalle pasta with white sauce, chicken, bacon, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and onions. The chicken was cooked perfectly; it melted in my mouth and its toppings were flavorful, which was fortunate because the sauce was a little lackluster and definitely needed the boost from the other flavorful ingredients.
Overall, I was satisfied and stuffed upon leaving Pascucci. I contemplated dessert but was too full to even take a bite of gelato. The atmosphere was perfect for either an awesome get together or a romantic date. It was very affordable, too. I will definitely be back for some more delicious food, and you should head over there soon as well.