The number of restaurants in this state is extraordinary, which is great for the consumer because if a place doesn’t have the goods to compete, it won’t be around long. And sitting atop the eatery heap here is Basta in Cranston, routine winner of awards which most recently included “Best Restaurant in the State of Rhode Island” by RI Monthly magazine.
One meal there is all you need to understand why.
We went for the first time, having heard about it for years; after all, Basta has been around since 1989, and shame on us for not having been there before. Bottom line: We were blown away by not only the delicious Italian food, but by the attentive waitstaff as well. This night, Brian was our server, a bank loan officer by day, super-waiter by night. This guy’s depth of knowledge of the food industry in general, and at Basta in particular, is immense. He knows more about the restaurant trade than some restaurant owners I’ve met.
The inside dining area is wide open and comfy, and outside is a terrace with a Tuscan-inspired fireplace and ambience that despite facing the parking lot makes you feel like you’re in Italy. Basta is famous for many things, arguably mostly for its pizza which has earned it a coveted Vera Pizza Napoletana designation from the Associazone Verace Pizza Napoletena in Naples, Italy, one of only two in Rhode Island (Pasquale’s Pizzeria Napoletana in South Kingston is the other).
We ate mostly off the special list, although the regular menu abounds with choices, including a wondrous appie, Black Label san Danielle prosciutto with spicy honey and zucchini pickles, the latter two housemade, as is just about everything here – including the gluten-free pasta, pizza and bread they offer. I was split by the desire for a special item and the Bolognese, so Brian split it for me, bringing half of each dish. The Bolognese was terrific and the special – black garlic braised veal short rib with saffron risotto, gremolata and marinated red onion was just flat out insane good.
For the record “basta” in Italian means “enough.” Eat here just once and you’ll realize it won’t be.
Photos from Basta