Fore St.’s purveyor of Italian food, Paciarino has been around for a number of years. They offer a select menu of items including apps and entrees – many of which include their home made pasta and some of which are available to carry out or for delivery if you’re from away. They also carry a sizable selection of wine and a couple Italian beers for your imbibing pleasure.
New since I was last at the restaurant, there were prepackaged Grissini breadsticks waiting on the table as part of each place setting. They apppeared to take the place of the fresh bread which had previously been served with olive oil. To me, complimentary bread is nice, but it’s not something I require as part of my meal, though I suppose the breadsticks weren’t quite as high quality. I ate them without hesitation nonetheless.
She ordered a Prosecco and I went with a Peroni before peering at the food options. Though the menu isn’t huge, there was some question as to whether I wanted to try something new or order an item I had had previously such as their spectacular lasagna. We both started with the Italian Salad – fresh greens, cherry tomatoes, red onions with aged vinegar and extra virgin olive oil – and I decided that one of their specials would do and went with the Black Tagliolini with Lobster. Mrs. Portlandeater chose the Ravioli Spinaci Alla Bolognese – ravioli with ricotta, spinach, fresh garlic & parmesan, topped with homemade Bolognese sauce and parmesan.
We were there early and the place hadn’t yet filled as it generally does when I go. Our salads came out and we remembered immediately that we usually only order one and share them because they are so large. With plenty of fresh veggies and a sprinkle of cheese on top, the salad was delicious with its perfect appointment of dressing.
The ravioli and tagliolini appeared next. Lobster and cherry tomatoes dotted my squid ink-colored pasta. Her ravioli was requested meat-free, and as such, came with basic tomato sauce and speckles of parm. I was satisfied with the portions, but felt that her ravioli in particular stood out when compared to others around town for both size and price.
Garlic and oil were heavily distributed throughout my plate and the lobster and pasta took them on well. I was particularly pleased with their house made noodles were simply some of the best I’ve had. Fresh pasta makes a huge difference and the textures and flavors of theirs was about as pleasant as one could expect.
With plenty of fresh lobster, my dish was both hearty and satisfying. I reveled in the seafood and semolina goodness. I tried one of my wife’s ravioli which was filled with cheese and garlic, creating a slightly decadent pocket of tasty dough. I would have preferred the meat sauce, but she clearly enjoyed it the way she had ordered.
When all was said and done, our meal came to just over $100 with tax and tip. There are a number of Italian restaurants that have opened in Portland over the past few years and I like many of them. But Paciarino holds a special place in my heart and it’s most certainly because their pasta is on another level. They make it daily and it adds a component to their meals that differentiates them from many of the other Italian cuisine purveyors around here. Whatever you get, it’s guaranteed to be tasty, fresh, and filling.
470 Fore St.
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