Get Your Italian Fix at These 9 Pasta Restaurants in New York City
Heaven for carb lovers.
Despite culinary trends that come and go, one form of carbs never goes out of style: pasta. New York City boasts thriving Italian communities in every borough from Little Italy in Manhattan to Arthur Avenue in the Bronx, resulting in a bevy of notable pasta restaurants. Un-fussy eatery Emilio’s Ballato draws locals, old-school Italians and celebrities, alike, while Carbone has gained notoriety in recent years for its theatrical dishes and exorbitant prices.
From Andrew Carmellini’s Bar Primi to neighborhood joint Spaghetti Incident to relative newcomer, Lilia, read on for the best pasta restaurants in New York City.
Next up, check out our roundup of mouth-watering Italian restaurants in London.
Location: 325 Bowery, New York, NY 10003
Chef and restauranteur Andrew Carmellini, former Sous Chef of Le Cirque, added to his long his of achievements with the opening of Bar Primi in 2014. Dedicated to “primi piatti,” Italians’ traditional pasta course, the Bowery-located restaurant serves a seasonal menu of handmade noodles. Classic pasta favorites including spaghetti pomodoro and carbonara accompany frillier dishes such as squid ink campagnelle with crab.
Location: 181 Thompson Street, New York, NY 10012
Carbone, a Major Food Group endeavor helmed by Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick, has become renown for its notoriously indulgent family-style dishes and equally rich prices. Pete Wells of The New York Times describes Carbone as the Quentin Tarantino of Italian restaurants, complete with theatrical decor and huge portions. Pasta options range from lobster ravioli to spicy rigatoni in vodka sauce to angel hair “AOP,” or aglio, olio, e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chili pepper).
Location: 55 E Houston Street, New York, NY 10012
This rustic, unassuming space on Houston street serves some of Manhattan’s most authentic Italian food. Owner Emilio Vitolo proves that less is more with his menu of simple Italian classics such as cacio e pepe, spaghetti with meatballs and ricotta ravioli. The cozy restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so head there early for a seat — you might even see one of Emilio’s celebrity fans including Barack Obama, Rihanna or Cindy Crawford at the table next to you.
Location: 457 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo, also known as “The Franks,” have created a veritable empire with the success of their beloved restaurant, Frankies 457 Spuntino. Since introducing the Italian joint to Brooklyn‘s Carroll Gardens neighborhood over a decade ago, the duo have gone on to open F&F Pizzeria, Frank’s Wine Bar and Anton’s. However, Frankies 457 has endured as a favorite, known for its house-made pasta — such as sweet potato ravioli and classic gnocchi — and sandwiches on pizza bread.
Location: 19 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10003
Head to Lil Frankie’s on the Lower East Side for simple pasta and pizza in a laid-back environment. Owned by Frank Prisinzano of sister restaurants Frank and Supper, Lil Frankie’s is the most casual of the three and doesn’t close until 2 a.m. EST — meaning you can load up on handmade ravioli, citrus-y spaghetti limone and penne pomodoro after a night out.
Location: 567 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222
The one-month-long waitlist for dinner at Lilia is well worth it. Helmed by Missy Robbins, formerly of A Voce, Lilia brings Italy to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Pasta dishes veer into lesser-known territory such as beet-filled cansunziei, a type of ravioli, and sheep’s milk cheese agnolotti, a similar ravioli-like creation.
Location: 218 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012
Two Michelin-starred chef Michael White pays homage to the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, a region of Northern Italy, with Osteria Morini in SoHo. Consistent with its upscale location, the restaurant’s menu isn’t cheap. But dishes such as truffled ravioli, fusilli in pork shoulder ragu and macaroni with sweet sausage continue to draw food lovers from far and wide.
Location: 88 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Located at The James Hotel in NoMad, Scarpetta is known for its tomato-basil spaghetti, served in a neat and ungenerous dome-shaped portion. While a selection of its appetizers and seafood (namely the yellowtail crudo and creamy polenta) have garnered rave reviews, Scarpetta is mostly known for its handmade pasta. Expect to find Italian mainstays with high-end touches such as foie gras-filled ravioli and oxtail cavatelli. For those with allergies, all pasta dishes are available in gluten-free versions.
Location: 231 Eldridge Street, New York, NY 10002
As evidenced by its name, Spaghetti Incident serves a pasta-dominated menu that includes both meat-heavy and vegetarian-friendly options such as beef bolognese, kale pesto, lamb ragu and basil-tomato sauce. One of the more affordable yet high-quality Italian options in Manhattan, dinner at Spaghetti Incident easily rings up at less than $30 USD per person. If you don’t have time for a sit-down meal, the joint also serves pasta to-go in paper cones.