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Bravo! Pastaria - a taste of Italy

By: Gopal K. Kapur Special to The Press-Tribune
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Editor's Note: This is the first in a regular series about some of the food specialties offered at Roseville and Granite Bay restaurants. If there's a local eatery that you especially enjoy, let us know and we'll consider it for future eatery features. Bon Appetit! The cuisine at Bravo! Pastaria is primarily Italian with a sprinkling of Mediterranean, Asian and some comfort foods such as the special meatloaf, which is an original recipe, served with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. Owner Mark Manchester has an understanding of both the back and front operations and prides himself on treating his customers with the ultimate in good food and service. Executive chef Carlos Arteaga, with more than 18 years of experience working in country clubs and hotel kitchens, manages the Pastaria kitchen. Arteaga joined the staff at Bravo! Pastaria because of his desire to serve customers personally. When time permits, he makes a point to chat with the customers and is known to occasionally deliver dishes himself. Arteaga takes pride in creating dishes with almost any ingredient customers request. The menu at Bravo! Pastaria is designed for patrons to grab a quick meal of soup, sandwich or pizza, or for friends and family to enjoy a multi-course leisurely meal. The soup of the day is complemented with seven salads, from a light Greek and spinach to a zesty Thai chicken, hearty blue ribbon and Cobb. Greek and spinach salads can be ordered in half portions with prices ranging from $4.25 to $8.95. When it comes to pasta, customers can select from a variety of nine freshly made sauces, seven pastas (including whole wheat), and nine different toppings. The combinations are almost endless. The day The Press-Tribune visited the Bravo! Pastaria kitchen, we prepared four pasta specialties. The first, fettuccine pasta with six black tiger shrimp, was sautéed in garlic and olive oil, and complemented with a creamy pesto sauce made with fresh basil, toasted pine nuts and a touch of cream. It was priced at $13.90. We also prepared and tasted the Thai chicken pasta at $9.95 that combines linguini with sautéed chicken breast, red and green peppers, onions, broccoli, and a spicy Thai peanut sauce. It is finished with a light sprinkling of green onions, peanuts and sesame seeds. Cajun jambalaya pasta, priced at $12.95, is one of the most popular dishes at the restaurant, with its combination of blackened chicken breast with shrimp, sausage, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and penne pasta in a spicy Cajun cream sauce. This dish is topped with grated Romano cheese and fresh herbs. Even though our stomachs were getting full, the final dish Chef Carlos and I cooked was Tuscan chicken, which is on the menu for $12.95. This dish starts with a grilled double chicken breast and is accompanied with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, zesty tomato basil pesto, a choice of fresh vegetables and is served with a choice of pastas or very tasty garlic mashed potatoes. A garden salad can be added to any of the dishes for $1.50. In addition to the regular menu, the restaurant has a weekly board of specials highlighting seasonal ingredients and chef specials. There is also a children's menu of pasta or pizza for $4.95 that includes a soft drink and a cookie. On my next visit, I plan to try some of the pizzas, ranging from the hot Hawaiian, barbecued chicken, grilled vegetables, to one of their most popular, The Real Margherita. It's the classic Italian pizza that starts with a base of extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil and is topped with slices of ripe tomatoes and cheese. The bread at Bravo! Pastaria, served with every meal, is a big favorite, as it is baked fresh daily after a two-day rise. The kitchen staff worked through more than 50 flour combinations before settling on the final recipe and the result is crispy bread with a fresh aroma. To heighten the enjoyment, balsamic vinegar as well as garlic, herbs and red pepper infused olive oil is available on each table. Manchester and his staff are also available for private parties. Nonprofit organizations can arrange to have their group enjoy their meals at the restaurant, taking advantage of the outdoor patio, and Manchester even contributes a portion of the proceeds back to the organization. The Rotary Club of Roseville used this service recently and was recipient of a generous donation. “ Gopal Kapur, founder and president of the Center for Project Management consults, writes and educates in both the public and private sector as a noted authority on project management. He is also trained in various styles of cooking and writes monthly for The Press-Tribune. He can be reached at gopalkapur@whentastematters.com