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Pasta at Ragazzi
Photograph: Supplied/Nikki To

The 20 best places for pasta in Sydney

This is comfort food at its very finest

By Matty Hirsch
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Whether it’s a simple spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli, ravioli stuffed to the high heavens, or lovingly layered lasagne, few foods give us the feels quite like pasta. Let’s be real – Sydney’s Italian restaurant game is seriously strong on all fronts, but when the hour calls for carbs, these are the spots that turn flour, eggs and water into small miracles. 
 
More of a pizza fan? Get your fix at Sydney’s best pizzerias.

Need an aperitivo before you chow down? Knock back a cocktail at one of the 50 best bars in Sydney.

The best places for pasta in Sydney

1
Spaghetti prawns at Fratelli Paradiso
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Fratelli Paradiso

Restaurants Potts Point

The go-to: lasagne
Fratelli Paradiso has been dishing up some of the city’s best Italian cooking for close to two decades. It’s so darn reliable you can pretty much close your eyes, point to anything on the menu and pick a winner. Dishes come and go from the chalkboard, but the epic scampi spaghetti and textbook lasagne never leave – they’re just that good.

2
A plate of beetroot ravioli
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Otto Ristorante

Restaurants Italian Woolloomooloo

The go-to: mushroom agnolotti
A long boozy lunch at Woolloomooloo Wharf is a Sydney rite of passage, and for a waterside slice of the dolce vita, Otto can’t be beat. All pastas are made daily in-house, so freshness is a guarantee across the board, regardless of whether you go for something like hand-rolled pici with pork and fennel ragù or delicately piped and pinched agnolotti.

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3
Pasta at Marta
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Marta

Restaurants Darlinghurst

The go-to: Amatriciana
Roman cooking is the calling card at this underrated Rushcutter’s Bay osteria. Kick the carb fest off with little nuggets of fried gnocchi and pecorino, and then move on to one of the Eternal City’s eternal classics: cacio e pepe, or a knockout Amatriciana.

4
Food at Ciccia Bella

CicciaBella

Restaurants Italian Bondi Beach

The go-to: malloreddus, blue swimmer crab, preserved lemon
They don't call Mitch Orr the "prince of pasta" for nothing. At Maurice Terzini's new-wave Italian Bondi bunker, he makes fresh batches every day with carefully sourced ingredients, and brings them to life with plenty of Mediterranean inspiration. Think roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes, zucchini flowers and pangrattato or flakes of sea-sweet crab and tangy preserved lemon.

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5
Plate of fettuccine with spinach and walnut and Totti's
Photograph: Nikki To

Totti's

Restaurants Italian Bondi

The go-to: linguine, spinach & herb, walnut pangrattato
Mike Eggert works his magic on pasta of all shapes and sizes at this buzzy Bondi trattoria that’s every bit as rustic-glam as the Puglian villa of your dreams. The rigatoni with milk-braised pork and chilli is preposterously good, but the tangle of linguine soaked in a dense spinach and herb pesto and showered in walnut pangrattato is the hands-down shining star.

6
Chef Scott Williams making pasta at Ragazzi
Photograph: Leigh Griffiths

Ragazzi

Restaurants Italian Sydney

The go-to: agnolotti dal plin
The menu changes daily at this teensy CBD laneway spot from the team behind Love, Tilly Devine and Dear Sainte Éloise, but the unquestionable quality of the lovingly made pastas remains the same. Noodles are great and especially al dente, but stuffed is the way to go here, where the hyper-seasonal produce like white asparagus is able to shine brightest.

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7
Food at 10 William Street
Photograph: Anna Kucera

10 William Street

Restaurants Italian Paddington

The go-to: the ragù
Sometimes it’s beef cheek, sometimes it’s lamb, sometimes it’s pork and veal; the moral of the story is you should order whatever ragù is on the go at this perennially packed Paddo bolthole. Quarters are cramped, pasta is peak al dente, the wine list champions the weird and the wonderful, and that’s exactly why we love it.

8
Hands eating food at Alberto's Lounge
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Alberto's Lounge

Restaurants Italian Sydney

The go-to: spaghetti alla carbonara
Hubert’s pocket-sized little sibling proves that big things can indeed come in very small packages. Dan Pepperell’s menu takes some pretty serious detours (hello, trippa alla Romana spiced with garam masala), but plays it straighter on the pasta front with softer-than-marshmallow gnocchi, ace Bolognese and killer carbonara. Bring your wallet and splurge on some premium natural vino while you’re at it.

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9
Spinach and cheese ravioli on a plate at Pendolino
Photograph: Supplied

Pendolino

Restaurants Sydney

The go-to: classic Pendolino “ravioli di magro”
This old-school Strand Arcade stalwart takes pasta so seriously it has a kitchen dedicated entirely to the art of making it by hand. All pastas are available as entrées and main courses, which means that you should probably start with wild weed spaghetti tossed with prawns and barramundi before moving on to fragile, full-flavoured parcels of spinach and cheese slicked with brown butter and sage.

10
Food at Lucio's Paddington
Photograph: Kai Leishman

Lucio's

Restaurants Italian Paddington

The go-to: tagliolini alla granseola
You’ll find extraordinary artworks from Tim Storrier, Garry Shead and Sidney Nolan at this pointy-end Paddington institution. You’ll also find a signature dish that’s stood the test of time since 1983: the tagliolini alla granseola. One bite and you’ll understand why these squiggly silverbeet noodles flecked with blue swimmer crab in a bright tomato sauce have been on the menu since day dot.

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11
Pasta at Trattoria Emilia
Photograph: Vince Caligiuri

Pasta Emilia Café

Restaurants Surry Hills

The go-to: spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino
Part pasta retailer, part cooking school, part restaurant, Pasta Emilia is a hub for all things artisanal, organic and delicious. The heritage here is Emilian, so sensational pasta is pretty much a certainty; go fiercely regional with pisare e faso’, a local dish of short pasta with beans and tomato, or opt for the timeless and faultless combo of spaghetti, garlic, oil and chilli. Then, buy some to take home.

12
Pasta dish at A Tavola - Bondi
Photograph: Anna Kucera

A Tavola - Bondi

Restaurants Bondi Beach

The go-to: rigatoni al ragù
Walk by A Tavola early enough, and you’ll spot the chefs rolling out fresh sheets of pasta on the communal table. They keep things simple and super authentic here: three entrées, three pastas and three sides complement a board of seasonal specials, and the bottom line is it's hard to go wrong. Bonus points for proper gluten-free pasta on request.

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13
tagliolini at Ormeggio at The Spit
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Ormeggio at The Spit

Restaurants Mosman

The go-to: bottoni
Dining out doesn’t get much more luxe than at Ormeggio, Alessandro Pavoni’s show-stopping marina mainstay in Mosman. It’s got ‘special occasion’ written all over it, so request a window seat and splash out on a tasting menu that takes you on a jaunt through the Boot from top to bottom. The highlight? Little pasta buttons stuffed with Parmigiano-Reggiano consommé that burst in the mouth.

14
A plate of curluzones at Pilu at Freshwater
Photograph: Supplied

Pilu at Freshwater

Restaurants Freshwater

The go-to: culurzones di patate, pecorino e menta
Giovanni Pilu is one of the city’s most respected Italian chefs, and his beachside shrine to Sardinian cooking has been an enduring favourite on the Sydney dining scene for over a decade. Culurzones, the scrubby Mediterranean island’s take on ravioli, are outstanding: plump, football-shaped packages of potato with tack-sharp pecorino and very fragrant mint.

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15
Eggs at Buon Ricordo Paddington
Photograph: Daniel Boud

Buon Ricordo

Restaurants Paddington

The go-to: fettuccine al tartufovo
Buon Ricordo means ‘good memory’ in Italian, and you’ll probably leave with more than a few of them after a meal here. This is a classy affair if ever there was one, where produce takes pride of place on a menu of time-honoured greatest hits. The greatest of all is a gut-bustingly rich dish of creamy fettuccine, tossed in front of your very eyes, with parmesan and a truffled egg. 

16
Staff member tossing cacio e pepe pasta in a wheel of cheese at Buffalo Dining Club
Photograph: Cassandra Hannagan

Buffalo Dining Club

Bars Darlinghurst

The go-to: cacio e pepe
If you’re one of the 11 people left in Sydney who hasn’t experienced the cacio e pepe at BDC, get moving. Order it, and out will come a chipper member of the team with a hollowed wheel of Sardinian pecorino cheese. There will be strings of al dente spaghetti inside. It’ll be tossed and turned and served to you tableside, and you will eat it, and all will be right in the world.

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17
Hand pressed pasta shapes
Photograph: Supplied

La Favola

Restaurants Italian Newtown

The go-to: casarecce with broccoli and sausage
Yes, this is a choose-your-shape-and-choose-your-sauce joint, but it’s so much better than all the rest of them because the pasta is all made in-house with quality ingredients and a good deal of care. BYO bottle of something nice and juicy, select from seven shapes and six sauces and walk away for under $30.

18
A plate of ravioli with sage leaves
Photograph: Supplied

Two Chaps

Restaurants Marrickville

The go-to: whatever you get
This everything-from-scratch Marrickville café keeps the lights on for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, serving up a set menu of veggie-forward fare that spotlights housemade pastas. You get what you’re given and served family style, but when the likes of garden-fresh beetroot ravioli with dill and buffalo ricotta lands in front of you, having no choice is a good choice.

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19
Gnocchi at Peppe's Bondi
Photograph: Katje Ford

Peppe's

Restaurants Vegan Bondi

The go-to: vegan gnocchi
The vibe at Peppe’s is nostalgic, but the plant-based menu is entirely of the here and now. Italian food is just as good (and sometimes even better) without the meat and cheese, and the gnocchi here make that abundantly clear, whether they’re finished with verdant pesto or salty-sweet tomato sauce pepped up with crisp little capers.

20
Food at Mark and Vinnys Spaghetti
Photograph: Anna Kucera

Mark and Vinny's Spaghetti and Spritz Bar

Restaurants Italian Surry Hills

The go-to: blue spirulina tagliatelle
You may have come across a photo of primary-blue pasta on the interwebs, and wondered where on earth you find such a thing. You find it here, at this fun little spaghetti and Spritz bar that comes up with some pretty clever flavour, texture and colour combos – vegan lasagne and charcoal bucatini among them. But that blue tagliatelle with blue swimmer crab and pungent bottarga takes the cake.

How about a sweet little pick-me-up?

Food, Dessert at 10 William Street
Photograph: Anna Kucera

The best tiramisu in Sydney

Restaurants Italian

This classic Italian dessert manages to make something that should be weighty (lots of egg, cream, mascarpone, coffee liqueur and coffee-soaked Savoiardi biscuits) feel like a fluffy, cloud-like dream. No matter how much pasta we've scoffed, somehow we always find room for a little tiramisu: the pick-me-up that puts a caffeinated spring in your step and a little extra shot of booze in your belly. 

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