14 Must-Try Pasta Dishes Across the Country

By Zagat Staff  |  February 17, 2015

Pasta is a favorite all year round, but there's something about winter that makes it even more enticing. Here are 14 plates from coast to coast that go way beyond the average combo of spaghetti and meatballs.

  • Credit: Sara Remington

    Los Angeles: Raviolo at Osteria Mozza

    If there's one place to order only one piece of ravioli, it would be here. It’s simplicity at its finest: one pocket filled with ricotta cheese and an egg that, once you put a fork in it, oozes golden goodness to swirl with brown butter on the plate. Amazing.

    6602 Melrose Ave.; 323-297-0100

  • Credit: Le Virtu

    PhiladelphiaMaccheroni alla Mugnaia at Le Virtù

    Bring someone you share everything with to this East Passyunk Italian and take turns twirling your fork through your communal board holding chef Joe Cicala’s single, amazingly long strand of pasta tossed in olive oil, garlic, hot pepper and pecorino cheese (order 24 hours in advance).

    1927 E. Passyunk Ave.; 215-271-5326

  • New York CityBuckweat Pasta With Oxtail Bordelaise and Prawns at Bara

    Tucked away near Prune in the East Village is this French-Japanese enclave from Momofuku alum Ian Alvarez. His pasta dish with oxtail bordelaise sauce and prawn combines classic French flavors with a Japanese buckwheat noodle and a kombu-flavored chicken stock. Head-on seared prawns and a sprinkling of bright-green Brussels sprout leaves add color and additional flavor.

    58 E. First St.; 917-639-3197

  • Boston: Lasagna at M.C. Spiedo

    If you haven't already, check out our detailed look at M.C. Spiedo, an upscale Italian restaurant inspired by historic recipes of the Renaissance. Then get over there and dig deep into the lasagna: handmade egg pasta layered with ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted pine nuts, golden raisins and a rich slow-cooked ragù of beef and pork. It's baked in the pizza oven for a little extra amazing.

    606 Congress St.; 617-476-5606

  • Atlanta: Silk Handkerchief Pasta at Better Half

    The story's almost as charming as the dish — chef Zach Meloy prepared this dish of handmade pasta with wild mushrooms, tomato marmalade and porcini cream for his future wife and business partner Cristina on their first date. It's the only constant on the Home Park restaurant's constantly changing menu.

    349 14th St.; 404-695-4547

  • Credit: Barbara L. Salisbury

    Washington, DC: Gemelli and Fennel Sausage at Summer House Santa Monica

    The slightly sweet sausage made in-house with local pork balances well with the bite from the rapini and the richness of the pecorino and toasted garlic. The pasta is made daily with free-range eggs.

    11825 Grand Park Ave., North Bethesda; 301-881-2381

  • Denver: Artichoke and White-Truffle Tortelloni from Rioja

    When chef Jennifer Jasinski first opened Rioja with business partner Beth Gruitch, her lusty artichoke and white-truffle tortelloni, filled with creamy goat cheese mousse, quickly became her signature dish. Ten years later at the newly revamped incarnation, the delicate housemade pasta pouches are still a front runner.

    1431 Larimer St.; 303-820-2282

  • Credit: BiCe

    San DiegoRigatoni alla Crema di Peperone Giallo e MascarponeTocco di Zafferano e Salsiccia at BiCe

    On first blush, this rigatoni pasta looks basic, but its elongated name is well earned. Golden and creamy, studded with Italian sausage, it's seasoned with a saffron and yellow pepper sauce and a touch of mascarpone. Its added oomph of flavor comes with the help of smoke that dissipates when the glass lid is removed at the table.

    425 Island Ave.; 619-239-2423

  • Miami: Spaghetti at Scarpetta

    This popular dish at the Fontainebleau's swanky spot keeps things simple with fresh noodles, tomato and fresh basil.

    4441 Collins Ave.; 305-674-4660

  • Chicago: Tajarin at Spiaggia

    Tony Mantuano knows his pasta. It’s truffle season, so head for tajarin with shaved black Umbrian truffles (or add shavings of the black or white varieties to the pasta of your choice).

    980 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-280-2750

  • Austin: Goat Lasagna at Odd Duck

    Never one to be outdone, chef Bryce Gilmore steps it up a notch with a goat lasagna with spinach, béchamel and fried Brussels sprout leaves.

    1201 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-433-6521

  • Credit: Geoffrey Smith

    Seattle: Rigatoni at Tavolàta

    Tavolàta celebrates its eighth anniversary this year, and since this awesome Ethan Stowell restaurant launched in Belltown, the absolute best-seller has been the extruded rigatoni with spicy sausage, seasoned with just enough marjoram to perk up the palate and make you wonder why that seductive herb is such a sleeper. 

    2323 Second Ave.; 206-838-8008

  • HoustonTagliarini at Da Marco

    This dreamy dish is finished tableside, where the housemade noodles are tossed in butter and Parmesan cheese, then topped off with generous shavings of black truffle. It's the ultimate comfort-food indulgence.

    1520 Westheimer Rd.; 713-807-8857

  • Credit: RRPR

    San FranciscoSemolina Gnocchi at La Nebbia

    Any kind of pasta from the brilliant chefs behind La Ciccia is all right by us. So when we saw that Massimiliano Conti and Lorella Degan’s new restaurant, La Nebbia, had a few choice pasta dishes alongside their cheese, meat and pizza offerings, we knew we were onto something good. One of the best is their earthy, tender semolina gnocchi, served with chard, brown butter, sage and salty-rich pecorino.

    1781 Church St.; 415-874-9924