From the seafood ravioli of the north, to the classic pasta all’Amatriciana in the south and everything in between – the mind boggles at the amount of delicious and varied pasta dishes available across Italy. So to help you out especially for World Pasta Day (today!), we’ve gathered the expert knowledge of the Citalia team to discover the best pasta dishes – and the best restaurants to try them in. So next time you’re visiting Italy, keep the Roman Gods happy and try one (or all) of our recommended pasta restaurants…
If you’re counting down the days to a holiday in Sorrento, our Neapolitan Riviera Expert, Terese Bosworth, recommends an evening at the Restaurant Il Borgo. Located on the edge of the Sorrento Peninsula with an array of open-air terraced seating, this romantic spot offers fantastic panoramic views of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius – making it the perfect choice for a special occasion. Terese’s favourite dish is the raviolo gamberetto e’ granchio con fritti di mare; a delicious crab and shrimp ravioli mixed with fresh seafood.
Address: Via Nastro Berde 44, 80067, Sorrento (NA)
Telephone: +39 081 878 1827
With a huge choice of pasta dishes, including a mix of local pasta with traditional and unique sauces not offered in other local restaurants (such as curry risotto and green gnocchi), La Fenice in Sorrento is one of Rosetta Fanzo’s favourite restaurant choices. It was one of the first she went to when she began working in Sorrento, and seven years later she still visits to try her favourite dish: farfalline with chicken, prawns and peppercorns. There’s a gluten-free menu available, too (find out more about eating gluten-free in Italy).
Address: Via Degli Aranci, 11, Sorrento
Telephone: +39 081 878 1652
Another of Rosetta’s favourite Sorrento restaurants is Da Gigino on Via Delgi Archi; a nice little trattoria tucked in a narrow street in the historical centre. Da Gigino serves food all day, but Rosetta likes to go for dinner to enjoy the rigatoni with sausage and artichokes, or macaroni with provola cheese and zucchini (a simple but difficult dish to make) with family and friends. The friendly staff and owner are the finishing touch on this cosy alleyway diner.
Address: Via Degli Archi 15, Sorrento
Telephone: +39 081 878 1927
One restaurant that had rave reviews from both Terese and Rosetta was Trattoria Da Emilia, down on Sorrento’s Marina Grande. Given its prime waterside location, the standout pasta dishes here are seafood based – Terese suggests trying the spaghetti with clams. It’s a popular restaurant, but as it’s first-come, first-served, Therese and Rosetta would recommend getting there early.
Address: Via marina Grande, 62, 80067, Sorrento (NA)
Telephone: +39 081 807 27 20
Lake Garda and Verona
Our Lake Garda and Verona Expert, Lisa Pickering, is spoilt for choice for fantastic eateries in her area, but for gorgeous gorgonzola and handmade tortellini in northern Italy, Lisa has chosen Ristorante Hote Geier and Ristorante delle Vecchia Bottega.
Located on the lakefront of Torbole (next to the Customs House), Lisa discovered Ristorante Hotel Geier when wandering the area with her father. It’s the only restaurant she has found nearby that serves her favourite dish, spaghetti aglio olio pepperconcino Gorgonzola; an uncommon Italian concoction of garlic chilli spaghetti with gorgonzola sauce. Of course, this must be accompanied by a cold glass of Lugana!
Address: Via Benaco 31, 38069 Torbole sul Garda
Telephone: +39 0464 505131
Another of Lisa’s favourite dinner spots is the Ristorante delle Vecchia Bottega; a family-run restaurant in Borghetto serving excellent handmade tortellini di valeggio (delicious thin pasta packages known as the ‘Love Knot’ filled with meat and served with butter and sage – the best and only pasta that should be eaten in Borgetto). Located just outside of Verona, this unique restaurant also offers the chance to take a taste of your holiday home with you; the small shop at the front sells various types and flavours of tortellini as the perfect souvenir. A popular choice with both visitors and locals of the area, it’s a good idea to book here in advance.
Address: Via Michaelangelo 6 37067, Valeggio sul Mincio (VR)
Telephone: +39 045 6370 183
Tuscany is the food and wine capital of Italy, so you might be at a loss when it comes to choosing just one of Florence’s restaurants to dine at each evening, but Amanda Ridley, our Tuscany Expert, is a big fan of the Ristorante Acquacheta. Dedicated to seafood delights, Ristorante Acquacheta has a menu di mare and Amanda’s top pick is the spaghetti alle vongole (spaghetti with clams). This is the perfect choice for an authentic Italian meal complete with the lively and friendly atmosphere that the Italians are famous for.
Address: Via di Rosano, 59, Bagno a Ripoli, Florence
Telephone: +39 055 696054
When in Rome… eat at Pasta Imperiale, according to our Rome Expert, Davide Arcuri. Thanks to its central location, Pasta Imperiale is easily accessible from all over the city and Davide says the griccia (typical Roman pasta with pancetta), caccio e pepe (pecorino cheese and pepper), and classic – but fantastic – carbonara are worth travelling across the city for. Popular with locals and tourists, Davide loves to take his English and Italian friends to visit.
Address: Via del Boschetto 112, 00186 Roma, Italia
Telephone: +39 320 158 7421
When visiting Rapallo last year, Citalia Area Manager Becky Butler stumbled across Hostaria Vecchia Rapallo, and now describes the visit as one of the best meals she’s had in the north of Italy. At Hostaria Vechia Rapallo, all the pasta is fresh and homemade with more than just the traditional fillings; Becky’s favourite from the menu is the bream ravioli with cherry tomato and prawn sauce – delicious! The pear ravioli with a cheese and balsamic sauce is a popular dish for the more adventurous. The stylish and modern ambiance makes it a great choice for a treat or special occasion, and the delicious flavours come from the fresh, local produce used.
Address: Via Cairoli 20/24, 16035 Rapallo (GE), Italy
Telephone: +39 0185 500 53