Impression: Gypsy’s Trattoria: Recommended

2519 Durant Ave
Berkeley, CA

I’ve wanted to try this place for a while, but it’s always been packed to bursting with undergraduates, and my lunch hour is too short to spend standing in line. This week, however, the undergrads are not back from break yet, and Telegraph belongs to the natives and the graduate students (and panhandlers who have a vague “why did I even show up to work today?” air about them). So I went to Gypsy’s.

I’ve long wanted a pasta equivalent of the burrito joint — a place that dishes out decent-quality pasta fast at a low price. I suspect Gypsy’s may be as close as I’ll get (which may explain the aforementioned “packed with undergrads” quality).

I ordered the Victor’s Spaghetti ($5.99), which the menu describes as basically spaghetti with a beef-and-red-pepper sauce. They move fast; my food was ready in maybe five minutes. It turns out the menu is misleading. I expected an ordinary meat sauce with pieces of red pepper in it, but what I got was a tomato sauce with strips of steak and red pepper — a different and far more delicious proposition. The tomato sauce itself was maybe a little canned-tasting, but the combination of meat and peppers and sauce is really tasty. The pasta was good too. I prefer my spaghetti a bit more al dente, but I expect that they must reheat their pasta to keep up with the pace of orders, and it’s pretty damn good considering that. The meal also came with a piece of toasted Italian bread with a clove of roasted garlic on it, which is a nice touch, and far better than the garlic bread you often get with inexpensive Italian food.