sugo-santa-cruz
Food & Drink

Sugo is a Local Take on Euro-Style Pasta Bar

Santa Cruz spot emphasizes simple and traditional flavors

Sugo imports the pasta-bar concept for Santa Cruz diners. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Sugo serves authentic Italian cuisine Tuesday-Sunday from 11:30am-2pm for lunch and 4:30pm-9pm for dinner. Opened in July 2020, the restaurant prides itself on the pairing of high-quality food with affordable prices and a casual atmosphere. Many of the ingredients they use are imported from Italy and are combined with locally sourced fresh ones, with a focus on not Americanizing the dishes. Co-owner Andrea Loporcaro learned to cook in Italy and has worked in food service since he was a teenager. He spoke to GT recently about the idea behind the restaurant and the food in front of it.

What is the restaurant’s concept?

ANDREA LOPORCARO: So basically, we opened with the concept of a pasta bar, which is very popular in Italy and all of Europe. You can choose your own pasta shape with options like spaghetti, fettuccini, penne and, of course, ravioli. And we have gnocchi, too. Once you choose a shape, then you can match it with one of our housemade sauces. The most popular is our Bolognese, which is a marinara sauce with organic ground meat and blended veggies. Another great sauce we have is our Tres Formaggi, a cheese sauce with a blend of gorgonzola, pecorino, and parmigiano. And lastly, you can add toppings such as organic chicken, wild shrimp, pancetta, Italian sausage, and assorted vegetables.

What other entrées do you feature?

Besides the build-your-own, we have two other sections on the menu. One is called “From the Oven” and has a baked lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and spinach and ricotta cannelloni. We also have a traditional plate section that we encourage people not to modify, because they’re balanced and rich as they come. One is spaghetti with meatballs, and we also have spaghetti carbonara, a vodka salmon penne, and a Roman-style rectangular pizza with a flaky crust.

What about appetizers, salads and desserts?

We have a few appetizers, such as bruschetta, fried calamari and a great vegetarian antipasto plate. We have a classic green salad with Italian dressing, a caprese salad and a very popular Caesar salad. Our two most popular desserts are tiramisu—a classic with espresso-soaked lady fingers that are imported directly from Italy—and the housemade cannoli with a crumbly crust filled with ricotta cheese and finished with powdered sugar. It’s very simple and traditional, like everything we do, because simple is best.

1116 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 831-431-6965; sugoitalianpastabar.com.

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