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11 of the best pasta restaurants in NYC

11 of the best pasta restaurants in NYC

Whether you’re running the New York City Marathon on Sunday or you just want to indulge yourself with several forkfuls of the finest carb of them all, Musement shares eleven of the best pasta restaurants in NYC.

The mother of all marathons approaches: The TCS New York City Marathon takes place on the first Sunday of November. Training for a marathon requires diligence, perseverance, commitment and carbs…lots of ‘em, and the marathon eve dinner is important. By tradition, many opt for pasta and honestly (though some Italians might argue with this), there’s no better city than New York for fueling up on that divine starch. In no particular order, here are eleven of the best pasta restaurants in NYC either for pre-race carb loading or simply to satisfy your pasta hankering any time of the year…impending marathon or not.

1. I Sodi: Chef Rita Sodi’s journey started on a farmhouse in the fabled Tuscan countryside and has taken her to the even more fabled West Village. At I Sodi, she serves what is arguably some of the city’s top Italian food that pays homage to her Tuscan roots. On the pasta front, enjoy pappardelle with Meyer lemon and pecorino, spaghetti cacio e pepe or a house-made lasagna with your choice of meat or artichoke sauce. If you’re in the mood for a cocktail, the Negroni menu has a selection of these famous bitter drinks to suit every whim and fancy. Sodi’s Via Carotta and Buvette–both equally dazzling–are also worth a visit. (105 Christopher St; 212.414.5774; website)

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Pappardelle al limone

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2. Porsena: Chef Sara Jenkins has a deft hand when it comes to pasta and at Porsena, you can take your pick from a nifty range that includes apnelloni with spicy lamb sausage, mustard greens, and spicy breadcrumbs; bucatini alla norma; and rigaoni with garlic sauce fresh ricotta and cracked black pepper. This simple, rustic pasta palace is always crowded, so take care to book in advance. (21 E 7th St between Second and Third Aves; 212.228.4923; website)

3. Al di Là: This Park Slope trattoria has been going strong since husband and wine team Emiliano Coppa and Chef Anna Klinger opened it in 1998. In many ways they were ahead of the curve: they were in Brooklyn before Brooklyn was “cool”. Brooklyn has become a serious dining destination over the last decade, but they’re still doing their thing and doing it well. The menu of Northern Italian specialties includes pasts like spaghetti with manila clams and hot chili peppers and their most famous: tagliatelle al ragu. They don’t take reservations, so get there as soon as they ope, which is 5.30pm on Saturdays…especially if you have to in Staten Island before dawn on Marathon Sunday. (248 5th Ave, Brooklyn; 718.783. 4565; website)

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Tagliatelle al ragu'

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4. Tra di Noi: We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention a restaurant from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, New York City’s “real Little Italy”, and without a doubt it would have to be Tra di Noi. Abruzzo native Marco Coletta (who once cooked for Sophia Loren) prepares some of the most satisfying pasta dishes this side of the Atlantic while his charming wife Lorraine tends to the dining room. You can taste the love in simple yet flavorful preparations like rigatoni amatricianaorecchiette with broccoli rabe; and fettucini carbonara. It’s like eating at your Italian uncle’s home…but better. (622 E 187th St, Bronx by Hughes Avenue; 718.295.1784; website)


A sampling of the pasta deliciousness at Tra di Noi

5. Bar Primi: With a name like Bar Primi, it should come as no surprise that pasta—Italy’s most iconic primo course—features prominently on the menu. Sample some of chef Andrew Carmellini’s delectable versions of Italian classics like rigatoni carbonara, bucatini in a lamb amatriciana sauce and orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe. The linguine with four garlic cloves that have been sliced, cooked in oil and topped with crispy breadcrumbs will make your heart sing. The chef has been on the NYC restaurant scene for more than a decade, which each of his subsequent openings as refreshing and thoughtful as its predecessor. (325 Bowery between 2nd and 3rd Streets; 212.220.9100; website)


Four clove garlic linguine at Bar Primi, photo: Noah Fecks

6. Celeste: Despite the fact this old-school Upper West Side classic has only been open since the early 2000s, it feels like it’s been there forever. Here, owner Carmine Mitroni looks to his native Napoli to serve some of Manhattan’s most crowd-pleasing pasta dishes–many of which feature house-made noodles–such as spinach and ricotta ravioli, tagliatelle with shrimp, savoy cabbage and pecorino and vermicelli noodles with clams. Tip: it’s cash only so take care to hit up the ATM machine beforehand. (501 Amsterdam Avenue at 84th Street; 212.874.4559; website) http://celestenewyork.com/

7. Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria: The pasta dishes prepared by chef Garrison Price is comparable to what you’d find in Italy. The bucatini cacio e pepestand up to Rome’s finest; house-made gnocchi change regularly, but you can always rely on a pillow-like texture that you’ll be craving in the days to come. The mezzi rigatoni
with pistachio pesto, watercress, Calabrian chili, anchovy and ricotta salata
beautifully weds the flavors of Southern and seaside Italy. (53 Great Jones Street at Bowery; 212.837.2622; website)

8. Osteria Morini: Chef Michael White’s generous selection of house-made pasta dishes just might get on your last nerve, but only because it’s really, really difficult to narrow down your choices and select one. While we don’t envy anyone in this position, we can try to help you decide. We know firsthand that the fusilli with pork shoulder ragù, tagliatelle with ragù and garganelli with cream, pea, truffle butter and prosciutto are off the hook. (218 Lafayette near Spring Street; 212.965.8777; website)

9. Upland: Chef Justin Smillie is no stranger to pasta-palate pleasing, and at his California-inspired Upland, he doesn’t hold back on working his pasta magic. Offerings include a recreation of his signature bucatini cacio e pepe as well as tube-shaped estrella with chicken livers, rosemary and sage. The deliciously unusual ragù -like preparation of the chicken livers will win over even the most offal-wary diners. (345 Park Avenue South at 26th Street; 212.686.100; website)


Estrella with chicken liver at Upland, photo: Noe DeWitt

10. Lilia: Anyone who has had the pleasure of tasting chef Missy Robbins food during her tenure at A Voce was eager for her next move, and she’s in her element at the relatively recently opened Lilia. Her crave-worthy, house-made pasta dishes include mafaldini (long ribbon pasta named after Italian princess Mafalda of House Savoy with Parmigiano-Reggiano and pink peppercorns as well as spicy rigatoni diavola with San Marzano tomatoes and pecorino. While this isn’t a pasta, do not miss the glorious cacio e pepe fritelle antipasto, a fried take on the classic Roman pasta preparation. Robbins’ newest restaurant Misi opened to great fanfare this September and we suggest checking out thiss new pasta-centric joint. (567 Union Ave at North 10th street, Williamsburg; 718.576.3095; website)

11. Frankies Spuntino 457 The Franks (Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli), chefs and friends, serve straightforward tasty Italian-American fare at their Carroll Gardens restaurant. Don’t let the simple names like cavatelli with sausagepappardelle with braised lamb and gnocchi marinara fool you. You’ll wish you were dining in someone’s home rather than a restaurant so that you can serve yourself second or even third helpings.  (457 Court Street; 718.403.0033; website)

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