The cozy Oakland neighborhood of Rockridge is about to get even cozier with the addition of Belotti Ristorante E Bottega, a casual Italian restaurant from chef Michele Belotti. The chef, who is from a small town in Italy, comes from his latest gig as chef de cuisine of Ristobar in the Marina, though he's spent time in Michelin-starred Italian kitchens Frosio Ristorante and Ristorante della Guido.
The cuisine of Northern Italy will be on display here, featuring pasta dishes like papardelle and agnolotti. And though the 40-50 seat space (formerly Homespun Fare) is on the small side, Belotti is planning a "pasta laboratory," a glassed-in pasta station where diners can check out the handmade action in person. The chef estimates that the menu will be 80 percent pasta, with some appetizers and salads; there'll also be uncooked pasta and sauce to take home, along with instructions from the chef.
"This is my first restaurant so I want to start small, step by step and see what I can do"
Although other neighborhood spots, like A16, offer some competition, Belotti aims to set himself apart. "There are a lot of Italian restaurants in the neighborhood," said Belotti. "But I think what we will be doing is a little different." One of those differentiators will be a custom pasta tasting menu, that will allow diners to choose their own pasta adventure. "Not everybody has the same tastes," said Belotti. "It will be my job to see what people want and follow their needs." Diners can also choose their meals a la carte. The restaurant came with a full liquor license, so expect beer, wine and classic cocktails like Negronis.
The restaurant is currently slated for an opening in the first half of February. It will be open for lunch, afternoon bites, happy hour and dinner starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday through Monday.