About six weeks ago, Reno welcomed a new Italian restaurant to its Lakeside neighborhood. Tucked into a shopping center at 6135 Lakeside Drive, #138, the eatery boasts a simple menu of pastas, sauces, soups, salads and desserts.
I know we all like to use the word authentic when describing international cuisine, but the word truly fits at Pasta Fresca, where the owner/chef speaks in a thick Italian accent and the preparation of everything from the ravioli of the day to the rigatoni with bison/lamb Bolognese stays true to Italian methods.
Inside, only five tables (thanks, COVID) are available for seating properly distanced in the small space, so reservations come highly recommended. That being said, we grabbed an early dinner on Wednesday night without a wait.
While the food tastes akin to something you’d dine on at an upscale restaurant in Reno, that’s not the atmosphere at Pasta Fresca. The cozy shop features a counter-serve area through which you can glimpse the small kitchen in the back and where patrons can come in for pick-up orders (including pasta kits that feed two and come with the pasta, sauce and cheese to finish your own meal at home). The staff bustles back and forth with cooks coming out to check on customers and the owner doing much of the heavy lifting.
The menu changes sporadically but never grows past the small page it’s printed on. Here, a list of available pasta types including fusilli and spaghetti can be paired with any sauce, or you can choose a signature dish, perhaps the lasagna finished with Bolognese sauce.
Regardless of what you choose, the presentation is phenomenal yet not fussy, and the service is top-notch. Dishes take about 15 minutes to prep, as food is made fresh, and the downtime offers space for conversation during date night or girls’ night out. The establishment will start serving beer and wine soon, too, but the liquor license process is lagging at the moment, which means it’s operating as BYOW (bring-your-own-wine) for the time being.
Whatever you order, save room for dessert. On our trip to Pasta Fresca, the only dessert option was cannoli (they have others as the menu rotates) and if the other desserts are as good as these, we think you should try them all. Oversized, crunchy shells house a decadent cream filled with mini chocolate morsels and topped with crushed pistachios. It’s the best cannoli I’ve ever had, and I’d like to imagine more akin to the pastries you’d find on the streets of Italy than most spots that try and mimic the treat.
In person: 6135 Lakeside Drive, #138, Reno, Nev. 89509
Hours: Monday – Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 12 to 9 p.m.