While working at my downtown client, my senior KMF emailed me asking if I’d had any lunch plans and I didn’t since I only planned on eating my usual salad at my desk. Also, a new staff had started with me (LB – she loves food just as much as I do) and she had never met KMF, so it was a perfect time for them to meet and for me to catch up with her. KMF suggested in going somewhere in Little Italy and I immediately suggested Bencotto as I have wanted to go for some time now.
When we got there, it was quite early lunch at 11:35-ish (but in our line of work, it is the standard lunching hour) so the place was empty. We were the first customers and had our choice of seating. Our table inside was right by the window of the beautiful open space. I love the design of the restaurant. Imagine being in a glass box, which is pretty much how the restaurant is set up. There is patio seating as well as a smaller second level with more tables. A bar stretches across the back wall of the restaurant and I noticed a beautiful red slicer which undoubtedly is for slicing all the different cured meats.
The waiter was your typical Italian accent man who was somewhat flirty (considering we were a bunch of gals with no men in sight with us). He handed us the menu along with a smaller menu of specials which included some season dishes. However, I came here with one thing in mind: pasta!
I had read online that they make their pasta in-house daily and during my research, many have commented on the delicious pasta. There are so few places that make their own fresh pasta daily and it truly does taste different. True, there are great artisan pastas that can be bought, but there is nothing that can outshine fresh pasta. The taste, texture, and pull are all different.
Bencotto offers some “pre-made” pasta dishes and also a “build your own” entrees. You get the choice of sauce and cut of pasta (cut, filled, and gnocchi). KMF, LB, and I all ordered the pasta:
KMF ordered the pappardelle (wide cut fettuccine) with the Bencotto sauce (a pink sauce with bacon). This was actually my favorite sauce out of all the 3 dishes. I like the lightness of the pink sauce and of course, everything tastes better with bacon!
LB had the spinach ricotta ravioli in the arrabbiata sauce (spicy marinara). I tried half a ravioli and gosh darn it…I wanted more! The ricotta cheese mixture was well balanced, not overly cheesy and addictive. These raviolis were huge, but one drawback was that it was a little cold. We all thought it would be even better if they were a little hotter.
For myself, I had the tagliatelle with the salsiccia sauce (spicy marinara with sausage). I loved their Italian sausage, they were so delicious with lots of spices and my favorite – fennel. If I could only have the sausage from this dish and put it into the Bencotto sauce, it would be the ultimate dish.
The 3 different combination of pasta dishes we ended up ordering were all delicious and we each loved something from each. The pastas were cooked perfectly and really let the freshness shine. The sauces were wonderful complements to the pasta but I think when it really came down to it, the pasta were the big, bright stars.
While leaving, we saw another table with orders of the salads and some other dishes that looked equally scrumptious. Bencotto, you have my heart formed from something as simple as a flour, egg, and water mixture. When I need my pasta fix or find myself in Little Italy, I will definitely be back here for more.
750 W Fir St.
San Diego, CA 92101