Classic Takeout: The Phoenix Pastificio
Despite its reputation, this pasta shop stays hidden
There is no sign on the door of the East Bay's most famous pasta shop.
Peer though enough windows in the commercial building where The Phoenix Pastificio is housed, and you'll spot a storeroom in the entry with flour-dusted workers and a tray of the shop's well-loved almond macaroons ($3) just beyond.
Eric and Carole Sartenaer opened their pasta operation in a Shattuck Avenue retail space in 1995, but six years ago they moved into this commercial kitchen, selling to farmers' market shoppers and wholesale accounts.
The reason to knock at the door: custom orders. The Sartenaers usually have a dozen different flavors of egg pasta on hand. Pick a flavor and a width--from Meyer lemon angel-hair noodles ($7 per pound) to wide sweet-pea pappardelle ($5 per pound)--and they'll cut the pasta to your specifications. Only need enough buckwheat linguine ($7 per pound) for a two-person dinner? Fine with them.
You also can pick from any of the flavors of spaghettini or bucatini ($5 to $8.50 per pound) the cooks can find in the walk-in. Dazzled by so much choice, we've found ourselves walking out with enough noodles for three meals.
And a macaroon, of course.
The Phoenix Pastificio, 1250 Addison St., Suite 109 (at Bonar St.), Berkeley; 510-883-0783 or phoenixpasta.com