Noodling Around

Multicourse all-pasta menus at three Bay Area restaurants

No one was happier than we to see carbs come off the forbidden foods list. Well, nobody, that is, except Bay Area chefs who are creating entire pasta tasting menus around noodles of every description.

The physical changes to the newly reopened Flour + Water are subtle, but the menu changes are significant: Chef Thomas McNaughton is now offering a nightly pasta tasting menu ($60) of five pasta courses with salad and dessert. At our most recent visit, ricotta-filled triangoli with peas, tarragon and preserved Meyer lemon smacked of spring, and the whole-wheat strozzapreti accompanied by white-wine-braised chicken, pancetta and broccoli di cicco proved the kitchen's not afraid of showing off.

At San Mateo's Osteria Coppa, chef Chanan Kamen, a Quince veteran, serves a four-course pasta tasting menu (with advance request, $50). Selections change, but we recommend the tajarin, a square noodle slicked with butter and black truffle, and the asparagus-filled tortelloni with smoked trout and freshly grated horseradish.

SPQR creates an assaggio di primi that features pastas not on the regular menu. Your special five-course tasting ($46-$50) might include cauliflower-filled agnolotti or a buckwheat pasta that combines suckling pig, bacon and golden raisins to extraordinary effect.

Flour + Water, 2401 Harrison St. (at 20th St.), 415-826-7000 or flourandwater.com; Osteria Coppa, 139 South B St. (at Second Ave.), San Mateo, 650-579-6021 or osteriacoppa.com; SPQR, 1911 Fillmore St. (at Bush St.), 415-771-7779 or spqrsf.com