The San Marzano pizza from Agoura Hills’ new restaurant, Basta, comes topped with arugula, prosciutto and silky-soft burrata.
Photos by Maria Belen Iturralde
Trailing a scent of warm bread and the melodic hum of Italian comes Basta, Florentine chef Saverio Posarelli’s new restaurant in Agoura Hills. The restaurant, located in Whizin Square, opened five months ago and serves authentic Italian food ranging from fresh pasta to delicate, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas.
The couple behind Basta, Posarelli and his wife Devon Wolf, opened the restaurant in hopes of providing locals with a different take on Italian food.
“We tried to create a menu that was different from what everyone was used to,” Wolf said. “We wanted it to be something different but also something that was neighborhood-friendly and not really high priced.”
Basta shines, not by the opulence of its dining room or the complexity of its dishes, but by the attention given to every part of the cooking process.
The flour kneaded into the pizza dough is flown from Italy, as are the cheeses that generously coat pasta dishes. The produce is locally-sourced from trustworthy providers who have worked with the couple for years. The dishes are made-to-order and freshness is of utmost importance.
“We have no freezers and no microwaves in here,” Wolf said. “We use all-organic eggs, fresh pasta is made every day and organic flour is imported from Italy.”
The pair met while Wolf, a California native, was studying abroad in Florence. They opened Basta — their fifth restaurant — as an ode to Posarelli’s Italian roots and Wolf’s California heritage.
There is, admittedly, no shortage of Italian restaurants in California, but Basta stands out, Wolf said, for its fresh, authentic ingredients, lively energy and enjoyable ambiance.
“It’s got a great atmosphere,” Wolf said. “I love music, so good music is always playing. Any day, I can look at the menu and find so many things I wanna eat. It’s not the same stuff you see everywhere.”
The restaurant’s cheerful character is evident upon walking into the space.
The tantalizing scent of the wood-fire pizza oven ushers customers into a warmly-lit room where they are greeted by the friendly staff. Waiters seemed to be enjoying the experience as much as the patrons, teasing each other in Italian and dancing to Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” before disappearing into the kitchen.
The softly-lit, unpretentious room was decorated with piles of Caputo pizza flour and a variety of picture frames, creating a welcoming, homelike atmosphere.
The food proved equally inviting. The Margherita Classica, a perfect combination of pomodoro and fior di latte resting atop a soft and chewy crust, stands as testimony to the restaurant’s authentic roots. It’s carefully crafted by the pizzaiolo, Antonio, and sure to satisfy even the most stringent pizza purists.
While the Margherita stood out for its simplicity, the other pizza offerings reveled in their complexity.
The San Marzano came, topped with peppery arugula and delicate films of prosciutto brought together by a silky ball of burrata sitting regally in the center. The promise of decadence and flavor hid inside the “Basta Calzone,” Italian sausage and cheese nestled inside a soft pillow of golden, crispy-yet-chewy dough.
The menu also features 10 different kinds of pasta, texture-rich salads, several meat entrees and a series of traditional-yet-inventive side dishes, including red baby potatoes with mascarpone and parmigiano, and broccolini with hazelnuts. The menu is extensive, ready to please all and bound to leave patrons thinking about what they’re going to order on their next visit.
Basta is Wolf and Posarelli’s respective backgrounds materialized into one space where cultures, ingredients, traditions and generations meet.
Wolf has simple goals for the future.
“We just want to keep growing,” Wolf said. “The name of the restaurant means ‘enough.’ After five restaurants, my husband says the fifth one is enough!”
Basta has affordable lunch and dinner menus, with entree prices ranging from $16-24, and is located a short drive away from campus.
28863 Agoura Rd., Agoura Hills, (818) 865-2019, bastaagoura.com, Instagram: @eatatbasta
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