A real gem to find in Berlin, Pastificio Tosatti is unlike any other restaurant in the city – especially as you can watch passionate owner Matteo Tosatti hand roll his excellent pasta from his small shop window, and then eat it in the tiny restaurant of only a few tables. We adore the place and it’s small, refined menu allowing him to focus on quality over quantity – something many Italian restaurants sadly fail to achieve in the city. Read on to find out a little more from his perspective…
One of the things we love about Italy, is how the food/drink is different in every region. What region are you from and .what makes your pasta different?
I am from Milan, Lombardia, but my mother is from Sicily and my father from Mantova, so the dishes I make are often influenced by these regions, but also by other ones.
What really makes my pasta special is the fact that I always make it fresh and without the help of any machines.
So how did you learn to make pasta to the incredible quality you make at Pastificio Tosatti?
I went to a school in Bologna and also visited several pasta courses, but of course I also learnt a lot from my family, especially my Nonna Flora, who’s been making incredible Tortellini for several decades now and has taught me how to do them too.
What types of pasta do you currently produce, and do you have a personal favourite?
With egg I make Tagliatelle, Pappardelle, Ravioli, Gnocchi, Lasagne & Cannelloni and without egg I only produce Bigoli, which are made out of durum wheat semolina and water only and are pressed just before eating. That one is also my favourite!
Freshness is key with pasta. How does an average day look like for you?
It’s really hard to describe, but I can say one thing for sure: my days are always super busy and challenging. I have to produce pasta, but also take care of admin work, ordering, dealing with customers and then you always simultaneously think about what you could be doing better, how you could develop further.
The idea for you to make pasta in the window is not only a joy for everyone passing by to see, but a brilliant way to promote the restaurant. Was this always the plan?
Yes, it definitely was! I was specifically looking for a shop that has the possibility for me to do that.
I had the idea, because during one of the courses in Milan, me and all the other students were asked to make pasta in a similar window and we noticed that nearly every person stopped outside the window and watched us – some just briefly, some for a longer time – and they were always so amazed by it, they loved it! That’s when I thought, I HAVE to do the same!
It works perfectly, passers-by and customers enjoy it a lot and for us it’s an easy advertisement for what we’re all about.
What did you used to do before setting up Pastificio Tosatti, and how different is your life now?
I worked as a freelance web designer – always in front of the PC. That was interesting too, but at some point I just didn’t want to work in front of a computer anymore.
I am convinced that my life is more stressful now, with more responsibility, but I would never go back!
Your logo is also brilliant, and quite contemporary too. It helps sets you apart from the (many) rather dated and unexciting Italian restaurants in Berlin. How else do you feel you are different to these old-fashioned restaurants?
I concentrate on a smaller choice and try to do everything I do as great as possible. That also means that you won’t find clichés like Carbonara, Arrabiata or Latte Macchiatos on my menu.
Being a small place with only a few tables, do you also sell your pasta to other restaurants or have regulars buying pasta to cook at home to help the business grow?
People can buy my pasta to take home with them, but I definitely don’t produce enough of it yet to sell to other restaurants.
What advice would you give to someone looking to open a small restaurant in Berlin?
Concentrate on one thing and do it well! It has to be special and have a certain taste.
Where do you yourself like to eat, drink and relax in Berlin?
Places where you can eat fresh food in a casual way, nothing to “standard”, no matter which cuisine.
Berlin is a wonderful city for many reasons – what makes it so special to you? “For me, Berlin is…”
A melting pot of different cultures. Berlin isn’t Germany – it’s outside any nationality and therefore very special. You can meet people here that you might have never met otherwise.
Be sure to go visit Pastificio Tosatti soon and say hello to Matteo, we promise you won’t ever be disappointed with your experience there!