Pasta, pasta, pasta. The underrated dish of Italian cuisine, if you ask us. One that many a Brit thinks they can “just make at home”. Except, a bag of dried penne and a miserable jar of Lloyd Grossman’s readymade sauce really just don’t cut it when you’re talking proper, authentic Italian pasta. No signore. Real Italian cuisine calls for uber-fresh ingredients, made from scratch at home and hearty enough to fill the bellies of an entire family. It’s the rules. And that’s exactly what these Manchester restaurants are advocates for. Sharing their family heritage with us by way of the kitchen, here’s our guide to the best places to scran a warming bowl of pasta on a gloomy day in Manchester like today.
If you love pasta, you’ve probably seen Cibo’s showstopping pasta, which is made tableside in a whopping big wheel of cheese. And while it’s certainly worth a try (it’s the Penne Reggiano, if you do fancy it), the rest of the menu is well worth exploring, too. Serving what they describe as ‘the finest Neapolitan cuisine this side of the Tyrrhenian Sea’, guests can expect pasta dishes such as filled cannelloni, spaghetti carbonara, risotto topped with fresh lobster, and even squid ink spaghetti – with a number of classic favourites available, too. Cibo, 3-11 Liverpool Rd, M3 4NW.
Finding success with their authentic Neapolitan pizza at Ciaooo, the team behind the beloved Ancoats pizzeria launched Piazza – a concept that went down a treat with pasta lovers at the Arndale Market. Now, Piazza’s glorious pasta menu can be found in-house at Ciaooo, with tons of tasty bowls to try out. We’re talking carbonara, pasta drenched in pesto, pasta topped with burrata (a speciality at Ciaooo) and so much more. Ciaooo, 62-64 Swan St, M4 5JU.
Sugo is royalty when it comes to authentic Italian pasta here in Manchester. Catapulting to cult levels of success with their restaurants in both Altrincham and Ancoats, the restaurant prides itself on its deep-rooted, Southern Italian heritage, which is exactly where the founders recipes come from. Bringing their own creativity to traditional dishes, guests can expect delicious bowls of orecchiette pasta which catches the many, many flavours carefully selected for each dish, with plenty of homely meats including slow-cooked beef shin, pork shoulder and Tuscan sausage to get stuck into. Sugo Pasta Kitchen, 46 Blossom St, Ancoats, M4 6BF | 22 Shaw’s Rd, Altrincham, WA14 1QU.
While fairly new on the Manchester scene, Belzan has become an instant hit at Escape to Freight Island, serving up drool-worthy bowls of pasta (all of which are hearty enough to get us through the winter months), with tons of flavour and plenty of sauce. Located in the award-winning complex’s Ticket Hall – which gives a nod to the building’s heritage – guests can expect seasonal dishes using the finest ingredients, with lamb ragu, N’duja rigatoni and pumpkin risotto all gracing the current menu. Escape to Freight Island, 11 Baring St, M1 2PZ.
5. The Pasta Factory
Unassuming from the outside, this Shudehill restaurant is the underdog of pasta here in Manchester, serving authentic dishes that are sure to leave you salivating. Serving fresh pasta only, which is made on-site daily, The Pasta Factory has a delicious menu that is pretty impossible for pasta lovers to choose from, with classics such as ravioli pomodoro, gnocchi, and burrata bucatini available to order. The Pasta Factory, 77 Shudehill, M4 4AN.
After ten years in business, Salvi’s has become a Manchester institution – and most importantly, an absolute favourite among Italian cuisine lovers. Run by the locally adored Maurizio Cecco, the authentic Italian restaurant not only specialises in Naples-style home cooking, but pizza and pasta, too, with plenty of hearty plates to try out (meaning multiple visits, obviously!). Need a recommendation of where to start? The gnocchi is a personal favourite here at Secret Manchester. Salvi’s, 60-67A High St, M4 1FS | 1 The Corn Exchange, Corporation St, M4 3TR.
7. San Carlo
Popular across the UK, San Carlo is a fantastic crowd-pleaser – with plenty of pasta dishes on the menu at their Bottega restaurant, Cicchetti, Fumo and the main San Carlo venue. Boasting decadence and deliciousness in each and every bowl, guests can try the likes of Spaghetti Vongole with baby clams, Ravioli Lobster, Rigatoni alla Norma (Southern Italy’s most popular dish) and classics such as Penne Arrabbiata, alongside huge sharing bowls of pasta for two, delicious Antipasti, and tons of Italian-style bread. San Carlo, 40-42 King St W, M3 2WY.
8. Sicilian NQ
The home of Sicilian cuisine here in Manchester, Sicilian NQ offers a warming, neighbourhood bistro vibe, with that welcoming family-cooked vibe you’d hope for from proper Italian cuisine. Serving up a varied menu for such a speciality, guests will be enamoured with their huge pasta menu, which is complete with meaty tortellini, swordfish ravioli, and wonderfully hearty gnocchi. Sicilian NQ, 14 Turner St, M4 1DZ.