In May, we challenged our readers to build a six-pack from scratch in 30 days.
Today, we present that challenge’s spiritual opposite: a list of the seven best pasta dishes in New York City, which could conceivably double as a guide to unbuilding a six-pack in 30 days.
Look, if you’re gonna indulge, now’s the time to do it.
And as you’ll learn from our list, which runs the gamut from gnocchi to cavatelli to a Japanese take on cacio e pepe, New York is absolutely the place to do it.
Your carb-cutting resolutions can wait until January.
Photo from Darien R./Yelp
The restaurant: Bar Pitti
The dish: The $70 Black Truffle Pasta
What makes it so damn good: Comin’ out of the gates a little hot here, we know. But homemade Tuscan pasta in one of the city’s most authentic Italian joints couldn’t possibly be better … unless one was so inclined to shower it with tartufo nero like so. While their pappardelle is the house favorite, this number will induce audible When Harry Met Sally-style moans.
268 6th Avenue
Image from Momofuku
The restaurant: Momofuku Nishi
The dish: Ceci e Pepe
What makes it so damn good: While one wouldn’t expect to find the city’s best pasta dish in an Asian haunt, here we are. David Chang’s riff on the Roman classic swaps out the traditional pecorino for a fermented chickpea paste that gives the dish a very creamy, very umami kick tossed with Chef Pinsky’s unbeatable, fresh bucatini. Pro tip: they also deliver.
232 8th Avenue
Image from Lillian Y./Yelp
The restaurant: Lilia
The dish: Malfadini
What makes it so damn good: I didn’t want to like Lilia. I’m not a hype person, and this place delights in turning intrepid foodies away from the door in droves every night. But this time, I lose. Because when you bite into Missy Robbins’s simple perfections, you can taste the love. Fluffy, ruffly al dente noodles swimming around in creamy parmigiano and speckled with pink peppercorns is magic from start to finish.
567 Union Avenue, Brooklyn
Image from Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
The restaurant: Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria
The dish: Gnocchi
What makes it so damn good: These little pockets of joy will transport you to the Italian countryside from the moment the bowl hits the table. The dressings change regularly, but the unreal experience — which is largely a textural one — is as dependable as a rooster.
53 Great Jones Street
Image from Scarpetta
The restaurant: Scarpetta
The dish: Spaghetti with tomato and basil
What makes it so damn good: Play the hits and give the people what they want. Classics are classics for a reason, and Scarpetta’s spaghetti is the culinary equivalent of Free Bird. It’s straightforward, impossibly fresh, not too sweet and not too savory. You’ll never want the bowl to end.
88 Madison Avenue
Image from Lucas Sconzo/Facebook
The restaurant: Frankies 457 Spuntino
The dish: Cavatelli with Faicco's hot sausage and browned sage butter
What makes it so damn good: I’ve never understood penne people. Too rigid. But for some, gnocchi is too gentle. The sweet spot is a nice, hearty cavatelli. And this one takes the trophy. They turn up the heat with some hot sausage from iconic Italian merchant Faicco’s and bring it to life with sage and brown butter. The dish is so packed with aroma it essentially creates its own ambience.
457 Court Street, Brooklyn
Main image from Scarpetta