Sherman's Food Adventures: Oca Pastificio

Oca Pastificio

The last time I had visited Oca Pastificio was back when they first opened before the pandemic.  We absolutely loved the place as they served the freshest pasta.  In fact, pastificio means "pasta factory" and they indeed make your pasta to order (as in making the actual pasta itself).  Can't get any fresher than that!  Fresh is one thing, but execution is another.  They nail that too with expertly hand-made pasta that I would say is best in town.  So I was more than happy to do a return visit with Steph and Ceci.

Once again, we went for the Tasting Menu at $70.00 per person.  I could be wrong, but it seems to me that ordering a la carte with 3 people might've been more cost efficient?  Well, I didn't mind because we could try nearly all of the available pastas on the menu.  But before that, we started with some Cured Meats consisting of Cinghiale, Soppresssata, Speck and Salami with pickled eggplant and cucumber.  A nice way to start the meal with a nice variety of different flavours and textures.

Next, we had the Beef Tongue Salad with celery root and pickled raisins dressed with an apple horseradish vinaigrette.  This was my type of salad as the beef tongue was tender and full of umaminess.   The greens were crisp where the celery rooted added extra crunch.  Those raisins provided pops of sweetness and tang which was appetizing.  Moreover, the dressing was lightly acidic, sweet and a bit sharp.

Onto our first pasta, the Rotolo was stunning and filled with 2 types of roasted squash and rested on a base of smoked caciocavallo cheese.  The result was a subtle smokiness that Steph immediately picked up.  It complimented the sweet squash well.  As for the pasta itself, the texture was so appealingly al dente with a firm chew but still gave way without being too hard.  There was a certain robust delicateness about it.

We moved onto the Spaghetti with mussels, saffron and bottarga next.  This was nicely plated with height which made for a good picture!  As for the pasta itself, the texture was appealingly chewy while still being delicate.  You really have to try the pasta here yourself to experience the mouthfeel.  This was aromatic with some brininess from the mussels.  There was a background sweetness to go with the extra seafoodiness from the bottarga.

Bathed in a beautiful red tomato sauce with basil, the Orecchiette was also a textural delight. This was topped with a generous amount of burrata which made things creamy and aromatic.  Although the orecchiette appeared to be thicker than other versions I've had, it didn't eat heavy.  Rather, it was had the same resistance as the other pastas offering up a chew.  The sauce was bright and mildly tangy with the bonus of fresh basil.

Probably my favourite of the meal was the Pappardelle with duck ragu, parmesan and pistachio.  Oh wow, this was so delicious!  Somewhat similar to the rotolo, the pappardelle was firmly al dente, but with a more tender texture overall.  It was bathed in a rich duck ragu which was aromatic and meaty.  It was flavourful on its own where the silky ragu coated each ribbon of pasta.  The parm on top added more nutty saltiness.

We ended things off with the Vanilla Semifreddo with caramelized almond and shaved chocolate.  I found this to be creamy and light while only mildly sweet.  There was some nuttiness to go with the aromatics of the vanilla.  This was just enough dessert to end off another fabulous meal at Oca Pastificio.  Honestly, I can't rave enough about the pasta here.  Nothing is perfect in this world, but this comes pretty close.  If you want to visit, be sure to arrive before opening to secure a table, they do not take resos.

The Good:
- Excellent house-made-to-order pasta
- Sauces/seasoning are on point and never drown the pasta
- Efficient and friendly service

The Bad:
- They do not take reservations, so you will have to come early or be prepared to wait
- Small dining space


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