ATXGuide

The Best Pasta In Austin

Where to satisfy your pasta cravings.
The Best Pasta In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

A really good bowl of pasta is one of the most comforting things you can experience— stronger than the combined effects of a weighted blanket, a warm cup of cocoa, and the latest season of The Great British Baking Show. That bowl of microwaved spaghetti with a dollop of cold ragu? A little bit less comforting. Fortunately, Austin has some really great options. So if you’re not in the mood for another bowl of buttered noodles, here are a few of our favorite spots right now.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Holly Dirks

Pasta

East Austin

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Over the years, Patrizi’s has become something of an institution in East Austin, with their handmade pastas sometimes drawing long lines reminiscent of Franklin Barbecue. Try the Great Leopold—made with basil and arugula pesto, grana padano, crushed red chili, and lemon zest—or keep it classic with their family recipe red sauce. There’s really no wrong answer here. There's also a brick and mortar location of Patrizi's in the Cuernavaca neighborhood in West Austin


photo credit: Richard Casteel

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The East Side restaurant Bufalina also serves devastatingly excellent handmade pastas that transform Bufalina it from a mere pizza joint into a fully functioning Italian restaurant. Usually, you’ll find three to four pastas on the menu, and sometimes even an off-menu one (you just need to know the secret pasta handshake). The pasta here is not delicate. The pasta here means business, and you should just go ahead and order all of them.


Over on the East Side, Il Brutto’s menu of classic Italian fare encompasses just about everything from burrata antipasti and wood-fired pizzas, to semifreddo desserts and handmade pastas—the last of which has completely won us over. The cacio e pepe—with just three key ingredients—excels in its execution. Most notably, the combination of black and pink peppercorns added an almost-spicy element and a distinct flavor that felt original, while still staying squarely in the “cacio e pepe” lane.


A South Congress landmark for over 25 years, Vespaio has developed a reputation as one of the best spots in the area for both a romantic dinner and a classic Italian meal. The dining room is romantic and dimly lit, but our favorite spot remains the cozy bar, where we’ll happily order a few of the fresh pastas that come in half sizes. But no matter where you eat, you’ll have access to the full menu of housemade pastas, seasonal salads, pizzas, and an excellent list of Italian-leaning wines. 


The East Side restaurant Juniper leans Northern Italian with a seasonal Texas spin, and it’s one of our favorite places to get handmade pasta. The pastas sometimes change up, but the menu has several mainstays, including a cacio e pepe. The restaurant has a great bar program, as well as one of the largest selections of amari in Austin.


True to the spirit of an Italian trattoria, the menu at Asti in Hyde Park is short and focused, with pastas that are made in house, seasonal, and somehow always al dente. From the rich and perfectly chewy rigatoni amatriciana to the bright and springy spinach casarecce, the pasta here is sensational.


For many, Italian food is associated with white tablecloths, candles, and maybe a dimly-lit dining room. Artipasta has none of that. They’re located in a tree-shaded food truck park in South Austin, operating out of a trailer. But none of that has stopped them from making some of the best pasta in Austin right now. All of the pastas and sauces here are house-made, and there’s a level of attention to detail here that’s rare at any restaurant, let alone a trailer. Try the tagliatelle with house meat sauce or the basil pesto with literally any noodle.


The menu at the East Side restaurant and wine Birdie’s is on the short side, seasonally-minded, and inspired by France and Italy. Typically on the menu you’ll find at a couple of handmade pasta dishes that change up most days—some days it’s mafaldine, others it’s cavatelli or linguini —and you should most definitely order every single one of them. 


You don’t casually walk into Red Ash for a plate of pasta. Part of that is probably the month-long wait to get in, but another part is because of how rich and heavy it all is. There’s nothing subtle about the pastas here—expect lots of butter, garlic, bone marrow, and cheese in just about everything—but sometimes you just want to dig into a bowl of rich, savory red wine braised beef ravioli with fresh truffles and roasted veal juice, without really thinking too much about it.


Taking inspiration from old-school red sauce Italian-American restaurants, Sammie’s is more of a deluxe experience where the waiters wear red suits and ties, the pastas are all handmade, and the lasagna is possibly the best rendition you’ll ever have. If anyone ever says they can’t get good red sauce Italian in Austin, send them here.


Dining on Olive & June’s patio is probably the closest thing we’ve experienced to eating in an upscale treehouse, with three stories of spacious patio wrapping around a giant 200-year-old oak tree near 35th and MoPac. Except in this treehouse you're going to get some incredibly tasty, handmade pasta. Try the linguine alla vongole if you like clams, or get the bucatini if you just like good pasta.


Dining at L’Oca d’Oro is a delight—in part because of the large, glass-walled dining room set on a Mueller corner looking over the lake, and also because of the excellent selection of handmade pastas. The menu changes pretty frequently, so don’t get too attached to anything, but any of the pastas here—from a ricotta cavatelli with ultra-savory overnight roasted tomato to a bucatini “cashew” e pepe—will undoubtedly be the highlight of your meal.


Inspired by the California coastal community of Sea Ranch and San Francisco's Zuni Cafe, the food at Pecan Square is casual and seasonally driven (there’s even a whole roasted chicken on the menu). Where the restaurant really shines are the outstanding rustic handmade pastas like the tender and exquisite goat milk ricotta raviolis and the tagliatelle with a bright, spring-y pesto and a spicy chili crunch.

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