Pastaria

Acclaimed chef Gerard Craft (Niche, Brasserie by Niche, Taste) turns his attention to Italian cuisine at Pastaria, a large, bustling fun restaurant in downtown Clayton. The cuisine is simple, affordable and -- for the price (nothing over $20) -- outrageously good. Pasta, made in house, features in dishes both simple (the sublime chitarra: spaghetti-like noodles with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes) to the sexy and sophisticated (the luscious pistachio ravioli). Pizzas are made in the Neapolitan-style, on a thin crust and cooked very quickly in a very hot oven. You can opt for an American style pepperoni pie (the meat cured by the restaurant) or a more ambitious pizza with Brussels sprouts, lemon, bechamel sauce and lardo. Save room for dessert, especially the gelati. Craft, with executive chef Adam Altnether and executive sous chef Brian Moxey, has created another gem. There are no reservations; expect a wait.

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