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Not Your Average Pizza Place

Pasta Mista offers Italian favorites with a twist

It's time to rethink what your neighborhood pizza place should be. Pasta Mista, a popular Dulaney Plaza mainstay, offers a variety of classic Italian favorites and a few twists.

The menu is intimidating to anyone indecisive or with affinity for Italian food. From salads to calzones to pasta, no mark is missed in Pasta Mista's repertoire of dishes.

The Towson restaurant, mostly geared towards carry-out, is somewhat small and only has about 10 tables. The main feature on the walls is the flat screen television, typically tuned to sports.

It is abundantly clear what Pasta Mista's specialty is as soon as you walk in the door: pizza. Upon entering, one's eyes immediately are drawn to the display case filled with over 15 different varieties of pizza. Pasta Mista goes beyond the typical plain-cheese and pepperoni pizzas; their specialty pizzas feature anywhere from three to seven unique toppings per pie.

Because of my current obsession with pesto, I was immediately drawn to the chicken pesto pizza, which features pesto sauce, mozzarella cheese, diced tomatoes and grilled chicken. Another interesting combination was the cheese steak barbecue pizza.

Pasta Mista also offers simpler tastes, like the margherita pizza, which has fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes. The ziti and tortellini pizzas offer an easy solution for those who have trouble deciding on pizza or pasta for their meal. At $3 or less (depending on what kind of slice you get), these large gourmet slices come at a reasonable price.

That's not to say that the other menus should be ignored, however. The baked ziti, delivered straight out of the oven, was baked and al dente on the outside, while the inside was saucy, soft and gooey with ricotta cheese. It was certainly the perfect comfort food to have on a chilly fall day. The accompanying garlic bread was missing some seasoning but the portion of the pasta was so large that there was hardly any room for it.

Pasta Mista features almost 20 different kinds of pasta dishes, enough to suit anyone's taste buds. All pasta dishes cost around $9 and include garlic bread.

The fairly typical sub menu features hot and cold subs, which can be served on a sub roll or focaccia bread. Everyone's favorite, the chicken parmesan sub, is presented practically open-faced and came right out of the oven. The chicken is covered with blankets of marinara sauce and melted mozzarella and parmigiano cheese. The creamy cheeses blend with the sweet and tangy marinara to create the perfect accompaniment to the breaded chicken, of which you have two generous portions.

The greek salad included most of its typical components but was topped with a balsamic vinegar-type dressing, which added an interesting tang to the salad. It also had what appeared to be freshly cut-from-the-block feta, which was creamy and definitely my favorite part of the salad.

The carry-out menu lists that desserts are available upon request, though there was no mention of them in the restaurant. It would have been nice to have a cannoli after this big Italian meal.

Pasta Mista boasts that they have "the best Italian food exclusively cooked by their own Italian chefs." While they may not have the best Italian food I've ever had, they certainly do a good job of giving you quality, fresh and delicious food at very reasonable prices.

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