Review: Belotti Ristorante e Bottega.

San Francisco is one of the best food cities in the entire country with cuisine ranging from innovative and modern to casual multi ethnic joints. However, my neighboring city of Oakland just isn’t up to par when it comes to the dining scene. Whenever I hear of a new place opening up in the East Bay, it catches my attention and that’s exactly what Belloti Ristorante e Bottega did.

This tiny restaurant on College Avenue opened a few months ago and quickly became a popular place to enjoy Italian cuisine. The chef/owner Michele Belloti, born and raised in Italy, offers simple straightforward Italian food. While they offer a few starters and main dishes, their focus is the pastas (made in house except the spaghetti) with simple traditional sauces.

Ahi Tuna Tartare with Piadina Romagnola, Avocado, Sour Cream, Calabrian Chili, and Lime (8/10).

We started off with tuna tartare, not necessarily a traditional Italian dish but executed well. The tuna itself was diced nicely and the meatiness of the fish paired well with the creamy avocado and tangy sour cream. The fresh lime juice and micro cilantro gave the dish a refreshing taste and the pieces of piadina romagnola gave a nice textural crunch. Another appetizer that looked amazing was the beef tartare (definitely would have ordered this if the pastas we ordered were fish or vegetarian oriented).

Casoncelli stuffed with Beef, Prosciutto, and Pork with Sage Butter Sauce (8.5-9/10).

Agnolotti stuffed with Beef, Pork, Escarole, and Spinach with Beef Reduction (8.5/10).

Tagliatelle with Wild Boar Sugo and Pecorino Toscano (8/10).

We decided to try various pasta dishes and skip the meat/fish courses because their specialty is homemade pastas. All the pastas sounded delicious (they even had risotto and gnocchi). The casoncelli was my favorite out of the three we tried. The pasta was stuffed with a scrumptious filling of pork, beef, and prosciutto and tossed in a simple sage butter sauce with crunchy pieces of pancetta. The agnolotti were nicely made but not as flavorful as the casoncelli. Lastly, the tagliatelle was in a wild boar sugo simmered in Sangiovese wine and tomato.

Tiramisu (7.5/10).

We ended the meal with tiramisu, always a crowd pleaser but my favorite is still at Trattoria Pandemonio in Florence.

Of course after living in Italy for almost four years, it’s hard for me to be impressed by Italian food but overall I think Belloti Ristorante e Bottega serves homey delicious food that would satisfy your pasta cravings. Therefore my rating is an 8-8.5/10.

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