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 ready made 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.
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 | 6-10 Victoria Rd, Hale, Altrincham, WA15 9AF.
2. SUD Pasta
SUD Pasta, formerly 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 (and now also located in Sale and at Exhibition), 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. SUD Pasta, 46 Blossom St, Ancoats, M4 6BF | 22 Shaw’s Rd, Altrincham, WA14 1QU | 7-8 Stanley Square, Sale, M33 7XZ | Exhibition, St George’s House, 56 Peter Street, M2 3NQ
3. 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 | Deansgate Square, Owen St, M15 4TQ.
5. 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.
6. Sicilian NQ
The home of Sicilian cuisine in Manchester city centre, 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.
7. Onda Pasta Bar
Recently taking residence at The New Cross in Ancoats, Onda (meaning ‘wave’ in Italian) is a brand new modern pasta bar from the team behind Gooey. And if you’re fans of their bakes, you’re likely to like this new foodie concept. Not only has the Manchester pasta spot taken social media by storm with their tiramisu drawer but also with their freshly-made pasta dishes. you’ll find pici pasta with cacio e pepe with plenty of black pepper and pecorino; fettucine with garlic mussels; beef shin campanelle; and lumache with ‘nduja and vodka. But be quick as this spot gets booked up fast with limited walk-ins. Onda Pasta Bar, The New Cross, 6 Cross Keys St, M4 5ET.
8. Ornella’s Kitchen
Sicilian-born Ornella Cancila opened the pasta-deli as a love letter to her homeland, and in our humble (English) opinion, we reckon it passes the test with flying colours. Pop down to the unassuming eatery any time of day and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its top quality. Known for their range of filled sourdough focaccia, the pasta at Ornella’s Kitchen is also outstanding with the likes of lobster ravioli, minty lamb shoulder ragú pappardelle and bucatini carbonara on the menu. Ornella’s Kitchen, 10 Manchester Rd, Denton, M34 3LE.