What’s better than a bowl of pasta? Fresh, handmade pasta of course. Sometimes, we just want to appreciate restaurants that place an emphasis on ingredient sourcing and simplicity of the kind that Italians do on their noodles. We’ve therefore listed the top Italian eateries in Hong Kong that offers some of the best fresh-made, hand-rolled pasta for you, because life is all about exploring all kinds of pasta-bilities. By Josephine Lau
Best fresh pasta in town
Posto Pubblico is an Italian osteria offering home-style southern Italian fare, rooted in generations-old, tried-and-tested recipes from family-run New York restaurants. Their pasta is made fresh every day, of which the homemade Rigatoni Publico with pork and beef ragu ($184) and the Linguini with Clams in a white wine and garlic sauce ($174) are simply scrumptious. As for all you vegetarians and vegans out there, Posto Publicco also has plenty of delicious offerings such as the vegan Tria Eggplant Bolognese ($168) and Homemade Orecchiette ($158) made with a mouthwatering green garlic and broccoli rabe pesto. With a focus on using classically simple and clean ingredients from local, sustainable sources, the restaurant constantly keeps things fresh by offering time-limited, seasonal dishes on a rotation, so be on the lookout next time you visit!
This casual, carbohydrate-laden pasta bar is undoubtedly one of Hong Kong’s favourite Italian restaurants. Solely dedicated to making everything from scratch, Pici’s homemade pasta is always made fresh and cooked to a wonderfully al dente texture. Order the Cacio e Pepe ($95) if you want to experience the classic, Tuscan flavour. It’s a thick, wriggly hand-rolled pasta mystically emulsified in peppery pecorino cheese sauce that’s unapologetically rich and creamy. Pici’s signature dishes – Orecchiette with Italian sausage, spicy n’duja, cherry tomato ($130); and Tagliolini with white truffle paste, topped with a generous amount of black truffle shavings ($180), are all winners. For those who are extremely indecisive, do not fret, as Pici also offers a pasta tasting menu ($290) feature four small portions of pasta of your choice.
Its precedent, Linguini Fini's, may have shut earlier this year, but this newly revamped Italian-American eatery is the 2.0 version, with new décors and revamped dishes with a distinct New York vibe. What hasn’t changed, however, is their approach to making fresh, house-made pasta. The Pappardelle nose-to-tail Bolognese using pork cheek, veal loin and oxtail ragu ($189) is a solid dish that doesn’t sacrifice substance for looks. Or if it’s Meatless Monday, head for their Fettuccine Funghi ($169). Cooked in a buttery, parmesan sauce, the shiitake and oyster mushrooms are throbbing with flavours of roasted garlic and shaved black truffles. Who dares say eating meatless pasta is bland and boring?
Considered a local favourite, Palco is definitely a hidden gem when it comes to finding some of the freshest, daily-made pasta in Hong Kong. The restaurant offers a refined Italian-style of cooking where classic taste and scent combinations are given a modern, international twist. Pasta, bread and pastries are all made on the premises, and all of their dishes are prepared with daily fresh, rustic ingredients. Palco’s cheese wheel spaghetti ($288) is the ultimate showstopper. Performed on the tableside, the chef tosses and swirls the fresh, al dente spaghetti into a whole wheel of 24-month aged Parmesan cheese with black truffle paste. Further seasoned with a few extra spoonfuls of cream and brandy, this dish deserves to be taken very seriously indeed.
Serving Northern Italian cuisine with the region’s finest culinary traditions of fresh produce and house-made pasta, understated and elegant pasta dishes are the order of the day at Nicholini's. Dive into their signature Little Nicholini’s ($280/$440) – homemade ravioli with black truffle sauce; or the Cappellini con Astice ($260/$450) – an angel hair pasta cooked with Boston lobster, tomato sauce and basil. Nicholini's manages the neat trick of elevated Italian cooking: of being both simple and classy at the same time. For something bigger on flavours, opt for the homemade Spaghetti alla Chitarra ($260/$450), which uses high-quality Mazara red prawns, with smoked stracciatella cheese and fava beans cooked down to a sultry funk and savouriness.
Grissini exudes romance with its contemporary design and Hong Kong skyline backdrop. This friendly restaurant has you salivating from your first step through the door, especially when you take in the aroma of the freshly baked breadsticks. Cooking traditional Italian cuisine, all the pasta here are made fresh – but you just have to try the Linguine in piennolo cherry tomato sauce and king crab ($260). It’s incredible.