Must-Try

The 10 Pastas You Need to Try in Philly

By Danya Henninger  |  February 18, 2015
Credit: Danya Henninger

Philadelphia has no shortage of fantastic pasta, and it comes in so many forms, shapes, sauces and preparations that you could eat it every night and not repeat a single dish. Whether you crave pasta on a daily basis or save it for special evenings, here are the 10 plates of pasta you need to try in Philly.

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  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Malfatti at Ristorante La Buca

    Spinach has never tasted so ethereal as in these rough-hewn cousins of gnocchi, hand-shaped daily at this below-ground Washington Square gem by 80-year-old chef-owner Giuseppe Giuliani himself.

    Cost: $17.95
    Drink This: Juicy, lightly oaked or unoaked Chardonnay

    711 Locust St.; 215-928-0556

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Lasagna at Modomio

    Housemade sheets of fresh pasta layer over ultra-classic meat sauce at Peter McAndrews’ petite Girard Avenue BYO, but the real fun comes when you pierce the fried egg on top and let the richness of yolk ooze through each bite.

    Cost: $12
    Drink This: Assertive, cherry-rich Chianti

    161 W. Girard Ave.; 215-203-8707

  • Cacio e Pepe at Amis

    Restaurant pasta doesn’t get more rustic than Brad Spence’s rough-cut spaghetti tossed in pecorino and black pepper at his 13th Street trattoria, but it also doesn’t get any better. 

    Cost: $14
    Drink This: Mineral-forward white like the Poderi Foglia Conca Bianco

    412 S. 13th St.; 215-732-2647

  • Credit: Le Virtu

    Maccheroni alla Mugnaia at Le Virtu

    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).

    Cost: $18 per person
    Drink This: Smooth, creamy white like Verdicchio

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

  • Pasta With Italian Gravy at Dante & Luigi’s

    At this centenarian dining room in Bella Vista, it almost doesn’t matter which noodle you select (spaghetti, linguini, penne, rigatoni, fusilli and perciatelli are your choices), because the main event is the gravy, tomatoes simmered for a whole day with garlic, spice and meat (it’s also sold by the jar, so you can recreate the experience at home).

    Cost: $14.95
    Drink This: Rich, full red like Barolo

    762 S. 10th St.; 215-922-9501

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Corzetti at Il Pittore

    Thick coins of housemade pasta stand up to chef Chris Painter’s rich red sauce with braised goat, mint and chile oil, and each toothy bite of the combination seems like it has twice the expected flavor

    Cost: $16 
    Drink This: Soft and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon or Nero D’Avola

    2025 Sansom St.; 215-391-4900

  • Chestnut Triangoli Ravioli at Osteria

    At Jeff Michaud’s spacious Italian dining room on North Broad, sweet chestnut flour pasta is twisted in triangles around chestnut purée blended with buffalo milk cheese and drizzled with farmer’s honey for a plate of gracefully satisfying bites.

    Cost: $17
    Drink This: Contrasting, clean white like Pinot Grigio, or complementary, sweet white like Moscato

    640 N. Broad St.; 215-763-0920

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Casonsei at Palladino’s

    Ruby-red roasted beets mixed with smoked ricotta tint the transparent candy-wrapper pasta nuggets that Luke Palladino smothers in poppy seed butter sauce at his new Italian beacon at the end of East Passyunk.

    Cost: $19
    Drink This: Sparkling rosé

    1934 E. Passyunk Ave.; 267-928-4339

  • Credit: Danya Henninger

    Angry Crab Spaghetti at High Street on Market

    At the acclaimed Old City cafe he runs with Ellen Yin, chef Eli Kulp threads habanero oil-kissed peekytoe crab through a tangle of Old Bay-flavored pasta for this plate that may have helped land Philadelphia the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

    Cost: $23
    Drink This: Bright, slightly sweet white like Grüner Veltliner or Gewürztraminer 

    308 Market St.; 215-625-0988

  • Mezzelune Ripiene at La Famiglia

    Made with the same family recipe for more than 40 years, the shrimp-arugula filling in these housemade half-moons of pasta melts easily in your mouth, blending with the mushroom sauce for a bite that’s creamy but not cloying.

    Cost: $18.95
    Drink This: Sparkling white like champagne or Prosecco

    8 S. Front St.; 215-922-2803