For Sicilian-born duo Priscilla Scardina and Maria Lo Cascio, pasta is heritage and legacy. They relocated from Italy earlier this year to open their joint project La Pastaia (“The Pasta Lady”) in Bay Park, and which will reimagine Cascio’s familiy’s Sicilian restaurant.
They also wanted to bridge the continental gap between them and their mentor Vincenzo Loverso. You know Loverso as the man behind projects like Greystone and Osteria Panevino. Their 3,000-square-foot storefront opens later this month in the space that formerly housed Farmer’s Table, and will be the materializing of their lifelong dreams of owning a Venetian-style pasta restaurant.
Scardina will assume the role of executive chef, where she will reimagine the many dishes her four-year-old fingers learned to make with her mother as a child.
“There is no better feeling in this world than being nurtured at a young age. My mom and I bonded over making dough together, and she was always patient with me. We made the dough, let it rise, and we used it to make pizzas and all different shapes of pasta,” Scardina says. “The menu’s biggest inspiration is beautifully crafted homemade pasta made with locally sourced vegetables. One of our favorites is Mafalde Alla Barca. It’s tomato sauce and ricotta cheese served in a roasted eggplant.”
She’s importing her preferred olive oil and flour and partnering with Sicilian-born fishermen to ensure the menu is abundant with fresh, local, and seasonal seafood.
Cascio may be the lead floor manager, but she spent the early days of this project moonlighting as an interior designer as she aimed to recreate her family’s Sicilian restaurant (Gran Café), but seen through a Venetian lens. Cascio spent her mornings and early afternoons rummaging through the garden vetting which vegetables would be served later in the evening.
“The large glass and gold columns throughout the restaurant, the gold trimming on the wall, the pink and gold marble tops, and the green checkered marble flooring are all reminiscent of the classic art and infrastructure of 15th and 16th century Venice. Delicate and flirtatious ornaments and subtle royal embellishments add a delicious Venetian flavor to the restaurant’s atmosphere,” Scardina explains.
They were granted a full liquor license and will offer a bevy of Italian-inspired cocktails, like espresso martinis topped with mascarpone, Hugo Spritz (elderflower, cucumber, mint, prosecco, soda), and riffs on booze-forward classics like negronis. And of course you can expect lots of wine (both Italian and American selections) and more than a dozen taps honoring our local craft beer scene. La Pastaia is now accepting reservations.
La Pastaia: 3055 Clairemont Dr, San Diego, CA 92117
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