In case you haven’t heard, pasta has officially been declared a health food. OK, it’s not exactly on par with kale or quinoa, but according to Italian researchers, the controlled consumption of this carb can be associated with a lower body-mass index and waist circumference. In our book, that’s cause for celebration—and by celebration, we mean a heaping plate of the stuff. Here, 12 delicious places around the United States where we suggest you (moderately) indulge.
Babbo has been a Greenwich Village must-visit since Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich opened its doors in 1998, and the constant deluge of hungry customers shows no signs of slowing. For the die-hard pasta fanatics, there’s a seven-course pasta tasting menu that has classics like papardelle bolognese on heavy rotation, along with unusual offerings like black tagliatelle with charred corn.
What do you get when you combine fresh California cuisine with classic Italian technique? Flour + Water, that’s what. This unpretentious but critically acclaimed restaurant in the Mission district offers an ultra-innovative pasta tasting (think dishes like salt cod and saffron ravioli or rabbit tortellini with baby leeks), as well as an extensive à la carte menu.
There is nearly always a line out the door at this small neighborhood restaurant, and for good reasons: It’s only open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., five days a week, and the pasta is heavenly. Executive chef Michael Easton takes his handmade pasta seriously and changes up the menu daily (you can see his frequent updates here).
It’s no surprise that nearly everything on offer at this trattoria-inspired spot is super fresh and super local (check out their extensive list of producers online). And while you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, the pastas are a serious standout. Choices rotate with the seasons, but if the cacio e pepe is on offer, make sure you get it.
For a place that dishes out homey Italian comfort food, Sportello is remarkably chic. The pastas served at this updated diner include signature dishes like tagliatelle bolognese and rich classics like lobster-and-mushroom gnocchi.
Pasta is the star at Monteverde, which, in the past six months, has repeatedly been named one of the best new restaurants in the country. Chef Sara Greuneberg pays homage to Italy with classics like gnocchi sardi, but isn’t afraid to add some whimsy into her food. Case in point: A dish called “twin ravioli”, with eggplant, lamb sausage, and yogurt, was inspired by Shakespeare’s TheComedy of Errors. Another bonus? Monteverde has a menu specifically for gluten-intolerant diners (and yes, it includes pasta!).
With its first location in New York and a second recently opened in Southeast D.C., Osteria Morini is an undeniable classic. The second location does nothing to take away from the freshness of Morini’s product; the pastas are still house made, with tasty options like rigatoni with creamy braised mushrooms, and ricotta gnocchi tossed in a tangy pomodoro sauce.
If you’re having a serious carb craving and you happen to find yourself in downtown Los Angeles, Maccheroni Republic is the place to hit. The setting is unfussy, the prices beyond reasonable, and the house-made pasta menu is extensive and filled with comforting options. Crowd favorites include the gnocchi and ragout, and the agnolotti di osso bucco.
There are almost 30 options for pasta-hungry diners at Broder’s Pasta Bar, eight of which are year-round standards such as cacio e pepe and penne puttanesca. The rest of the menu, however, changes seasonally, with creative choices like carrot gnocchi with wild boar and house-made spinach-and-egg pasta with langoustines and fresh corn.
The menu at Modo Mio is micro-seasonal, which means it’s more than OK to go back again and again to try everything they offer. On Sundays, they host a traditional family-style supper with unlimited amounts of fresh pasta, roasted meats, and classic Italian fare.
Patrizi’s might serve its wares from the window of a truck on biodegradable paper plates, but that does nothing to stop locals from calling it some of the best pasta around. Owners Matt and Nic pay homage to their lineage of Italian restaurateurs with classics like pomodoro and carbonara atop freshly made noodles.
Spuntino, a husband-and-wife owned eatery, emphasizes local fare above all else. Their house-made pasta menu changes with the season but maintains constant creativity. Among their current offerings: tagliatelle with stinging nettle and pork sausage, and cavatelli with confit chicken, crème fraîche, and cracklings.