There are about a million places in NYC to have a bowl of pasta at the bar, but there are a few reasons why you should skip most of them and head to Forsythia. The LES Italian spot has a great lineup of seasonal fresh pastas, some well-executed Roman classics like carbonara and cacio e pepe, and a perfect, low-lit atmosphere that works for dates or some solo carbs if you just want to read a book and occasionally bother the bartender. 

You’ll get some olives to start, and there are a few worthy appetizers like crispy suppli and solid seasonal salads, but you’re here to load up on pasta. The menu always changes, but you can expect something stuffed like agnolotti with braised short rib, a very good and classic carbonara, and plenty of specials like pici with anchovy butter and tagliatelle with crab and chili. Order as many of these as you can rationalize—we usually end up getting three.

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