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New York’s Italian roots go deep, and it’s no secret that its residents are obsessed with pasta. Most of the hundreds of Italian restaurants dotting the city have several pasta dishes on their menus, but some take it to the next level by offering pasta tasting menus.
While not entirely new, there has been an influx of several more at some of the city’s top Italian spots, and they are raising the carb bar. Here are our picks of the best.
Rezdôra focuses on cuisine from the Emilia-Romagna region. Over the past few years, it has become a beloved Italian institution in the city, and its pasta tasting menu is now the standard against which all others are measured.
Chef Stefano Secchi’s expert pasta-making skills are on full display – there are no appetizers or desserts if you order the five-course pasta tasting menu. The small dishes typically include tortellini in brodo, gnudi and tagliolini with a ragu from Modena; a vegetarian version is also available.
And while it’s impossible to leave hungry, you also won’t feel overstuffed – at US$98 per person, this prix fixe is a steal.
When this classy Italian stunner opened in the old Del Posto space in 2022, acclaimed Chef Melissa Rodriguez had big shoes to fill. Thankfully, she’s done a stellar job, garnering two Michelin stars and a James Beard Foundation award nomination.
In March, Rodriguez and her pasta maker Carlos Perdomo, who has worked with her for more than a decade, added a five-course pasta tasting menu, starting with an amuse bouche and including bread with cacio e pepe butter and dessert.
The pasta options change regularly but have featured culurgiones stuffed with fontina and potato, and finished with golden osetra caviar and a herb lemon butter sauce, cappelletti alla vodka with smoked ricotta and fresh basil, and tortellini with braised greens in a complex brodo that takes days to make, topped with black truffle.
Lower East Side Italian destination Forsythia, which grew out of a COVID-19 pandemic pop-up, offers a prix fixe menu for US$109 per person that stars traditional Roman pasta, although there are a few other dishes included too.
Following the diner’s choice of antipasti, a selection of two types of pasta from a wide array of handmade options follow, each prepared by Executive Chef Emily Swaine (previously of Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Maialino). All the dishes are made with peak season ingredients, such as crab tortelli with mascarpone and basil for summer, and pappardelle with ramps, morels and mushroom brodo during spring.
A choice of dessert is also included in the tasting menu, allowing for a sweet finish.
When this pasta emporium from famed Neapolitan pasta maker Pastificio Di Martino opened its first stateside outpost in Chelsea Market at the end of 2021, pasta lovers celebrated. The space has a market, a casual restaurant and an open-kitchen pasta bar concept, the Oval, where guests can book a multi-course pasta tasting menu.
Four, five or seven courses are available.
Executive Chef Alessio Rossetti creates each based on a classic Italian recipe reimagined through a modern lens, highlighted by one of Pastificio Di Martino’s 120-plus different pasta shapes in the seasonally changing preparation.
If you’re looking for a stylish atmosphere to accompany your noodles, head to Soho for the Milanese-inspired A Pasta Bar, which morphed from Sola Pasta Bar during the pandemic.
For US$130, guests dine on five signature pasta dishes to be shared between two people. The offerings change nightly, but options usually include crowd favorites such as tagliatelle with black truffle, rigatoni with vodka sauce and spaghetti vongole with Calabrian chilli.
A New York institution owned by Joe Bastianich since 1998, Babbo may have been one of the first restaurants in the city to offer a pasta tasting menu, and it’s still one of the best.
These days, the US$115 pasta prix fixe includes five kinds of pasta, a palate cleansing sorbet and a slice of olive oil cake with olive oil gelato to finish. The changing pasta options range from black spaghetti with jumbo lump crab and chili, to beef cheek ravioli with black truffles, to pappardelle with a Bolognese sauce.