There is a bounty of Italian restaurants in New York City, and they are probably some of the best in the country. We are so spoiled here in the city. A few of these restaurants specialize in just pasta, which of course means that they are a cut above the rest. I did a little investigative eating and here are my findings in the world of pasta:

Sola Pasta Bar

I’m thinking that winning a Michelin Star in Italy for cooking Italian food has to be sort of difficult, but Massimo Sola managed to do just that, and lucky for us, he is cooking right here in Manhattan now. Sola Pasta Bar focuses on pasta. There is no kitchen in the back, the whole restaurant IS the kitchen, and as you take a seat, your pasta is served to you by the chefs behind the counter in the center of the eatery. I went for a birthday dinner with a handful of girlfriends, and we actually ended up grabbing one of the tables alongside the kitchen/bar. The place has an upbeat vibe, with fun music playing, and a (very) handsome young waitstaff and chefs in leather clad aprons, who keep up a friendly, playful atmosphere, but not overwhelmingly so.

The appetizers here are few, but different. Our Cesar Salad was deconstructed and had a few slices of the most delicious smoked salmon on the side. The Tagliere Misto di Salami e Fromaggi is a mixed cheese and cold cuts plate, cut freshly at a big red meat slicer, and obviously not your average antipasti. Everything on the plate was extremely fresh and delicious. Crostino Rustico consists of Pugliese Bread Bufala Mozzarella, Taggiasche Olive Powder and Sun-dried Tomatoes (omg). The pasta dishes we chose were: Rigatoni Alla Gricia (with Pecorino and black pepper, we switched the Guanciale with sausage), Lasagna Alla Bolognese (with bolognese ragout and béchamel), Spaghetti Neri Alle Vongole (Black Ink pasta with clams and Calabrian Chili), and Trofie Al Pesto (with potatoes and parmigiana). We closed with a the most amazing Panna Cotta, Tirami Su and Cannolis. We were all beyond happy with absolutely everything! I couldn’t pick a favorite if I tried. On our way out we all received a package of dry pasta with a recipe on it to take home! We were so glad I found this place, and we will be back for sure.

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Gnoccheria by Luzzo’s

This restaurant focuses on one thing, and one thing only: Gnocchi. Lord have mercy. I don’t know about you, but I could live off gnocchi forever. This place has mastered the craft of making them with all sorts of delicious sauces. Located in Alphabet City, it’s snug and cozy with an entire wall of wines, and there is always a wait, reservations are in order. It’s bustling, friendly with attentive staff.

My girlfriends and I started out with some appetizers: Calamari Frittti, Bruschetta & Salmone with goat cheese and a lemon dressing, and Polpette, a serving of the most delicious meatballs in tomato sauce, topped with parmesan cheese. We all had potato gnocchi with different sauces: Pesto Genovese (with fresh basil and pine nuts), Boscaiola (with mushrooms, sausage and cherry tomatoes), and Carbonara (with eggs, Italian bacon and Parmigiano Cheese). It’s carbohydrate heaven, and I’m excited that someone thought of making a concept eatery highlighting this amazing comfort food….

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Basta Pasta

Basta Pasta is actually a Japanese pasta restaurant with its origins in Tokyo. This spot is busy and popular, with minimal decor and friendly service, the place seemingly operating like clockwork. The pasta dishes are classic and delicious, cooked in the middle of the restaurant by Japanese chefs in a bar-like kitchen. Their show stopper and most popular menu item is Spaghetti Con Prosciutto E Parmigiano. This pasta is served table side, tossed in a half wheel of parmesan cheese, then topped with sliced prosciutto di parma and basil. It’s super fun and instagram worthy, and make no mistake, it’s very delicious.

This place also has a great lunch special. For twenty dollars, in the lunch hours, you can have a Prix Fixe meal, with choices of salad, soup, a nice selection of pasta, a dessert and coffee or tea. I had the minestrone, Tagliatelle (with a scrumptious Basta Pasta meat sauce) and a white chocolate dessert with berry jam. It’s quite a steal. Great place!



For more info click here