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Pasta is patient, pasta is kind. It’s the perfect canvas for your red sauces, your alfredos, your frutti di mare. There’s nothing it can’t do, as far as we’re concerned. Here, our 18 favorite places in Chicago to practice the fork and twirl (not to be mistaken with the bend and snap).

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18. Rotini Santa Lucia at Via Carducci

Mushrooms, peas, crumbled sausage, and a noodle that expertly soaks up all that sauce--what’s not to love?

1928 W. Division St.; 773-252-2244 or


17. Spaghetti Carbonara at The Betty

Served with pork belly and a generous portion of Parmesan cheese, this is the Beyoncé of spaghetti carbonaras.

839 W. Fulton Market; 312-773-2222 or

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16. Meat Lasagna from Sapori Trattoria

When the mood for lasagna strikes, there’s only one place to go: Sapori Trattoria. The casual, cool Italian restaurant does it up right with all the classic fixings.

2701 N. Halsted St.; 773-832-999 or 


15. Risotto de Mare at Ceres’ Table

Hats off to Ceres’ Table for mastering the oh-so-indulgent risotto de mare. A hefty portion of seafood is the perfect mate for their just-right risotto.

3124 N. Broadway St.; 773-922-4020 or

Little Goat/The Door PR

14. Breakfast Spaghetti at Little Goat

Make all your childhood dreams come true by slurping up this mass of clam, crispy pasta, and eggs all before 11 A.M. Follow it up with a Little Goat milkshake to really go rogue.

820 W. Randolph St.; 312-888-3455 or


13. Ravioli at Boka

Boka’s menu changes frequently, but their homemade ravioli is always an exciting, modern twist on the beloved stuffed pouch. Chef Boyardee this is not. (No offence, Chef Boyardee. 

1729 N. Halsted St.; 312-337-6070 or


12. Gnocchi at A Tavola

Any menu item with the words “brown sage butter” catches our eye, but A Tavola gives buttery goodness a whole new depth in this simple, elegant dish.

2148 W. Chicago Ave.; 773-276-7567 or

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11. Cuttlefish Ink Pasta at Publican

Yes, Publican is a mecca for all things meat, but consider this your public service announcement to not sleep on Publican’s pasta dishes. The cuttlefish ink pasta is umami heaven.

837 W. Fulton Market; 312-733-9555 or

Nico Osteria/The Door PR

10. Lobster Spaghetti at Nico Osteria

No one would blame you for licking your plate of Nico Osteria’s Lobster Spaghetti. With lobster, guanicale and fava beans, this dish is the definition of treat yo’ self.

1015 N. Rush St.; 312-994-7100 or


9. Gnocchi at Osteria Langhe

Crispy lamb on top of pillowy, perfectly cooked gnocchi--when is it too soon to come back again?

2824 W. Armitage Ave.; 773-661-1582 or

Nando Milano Trattoria/ext. 54 PR

8. Spaghetti di Mare at Nando Milano Trattoria

We love, love, love Nando Milano Trattoria’s take on the classic Spaghetti di Mare. Mussels, clams, langoustine and cherry tomatoes are all right at home in their flawless imperial sauce.

2114 W. Division St. or 773-486-2636


7. Conchigle alla Sarda at Topo Gigio

It doesn’t get any more classic than Old Town’s Topo Gigio. There’s not a weak link on the entire menu, but the Conchigle alla Sada--a dish of seashell pasta in a tomato-cream sauce with ground sausage--is something special.

1516 N. Wells St.; 312-266-9355 or 


6. Cacio e Pepe at Davanti Enoteca

Cacio e Pepe is like the sexier, older cousin of macaroni and cheese and we are so here for it. No one does it better than Davanti Enoteca.

Locations at


5. Rigatoni at Francesco’s Hole In The Wall

The beloved Francesco’s Hole In The Wall may be out in Northbrook, but the old-school Italian spot is worth the drive. Go classic with this rigatoni in a fresh and vibrant tomato sauce. Add eggplant if you’re feeling special.

254 Skokie Blvd.; 847-272-0155 or


4. Wild Boar Gnocchi at Café Spiaggia

Helmed by Chef Tony Mantuano, Café Spiaggia is the ideal place to cap off a day on Michigan Avenue. Wild boar ragu and expertly cooked gnocchi is everything you want in a hearty pasta dish…hey, it’s everything you want in life.

Level 2, 980 N. Michigan Ave., 312-280-2750 or


3. Baked Cavatelli from Gio’s Café

This is the ultimate in old-school. Gio’s gets right to the point with al dente cavatelli baked with homemade marinara, ricotta and a whole lot of mozzarella. 

2724 S. Lowe Ave.; 312-225-6368 or


2. Tagliolini Nero at Balena

All the pastas at Balena are going to sate your carb craving, but there’s nothing quite like the Tagliolini Nero--a mixture of crab meat, uni butter sauce, serrano chile and lime so beautiful it just might bring a tear to your eye.

1633 N. Halsted St.; 312-867-3888 or 


1. Ragu Alla Napoletana at Monteverde

This is the star of the show, the pasta dish you’ll tell your kids about. Superstar CThef Sarah Grueneberg calls this dish “a big bowl of love,” placing a pork shank, three house-made sausages, and soppressata meatballs atop a bed of fusilli.

1020 W. Madison St.; 312-888-3041 or

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