Eating a warm bowl of pasta in the winter is good for a number of reasons: 1) Pasta is a gift to mankind, 2) The bowl can double as a hand warmer, 3) There is nothing more comforting than a saucy, starchy pile of carbs, 4) There’s a whole lot of places in Boston where you can get super tasty bowls of pasta on a frigid, frosty day, 5) Did I already say that pasta is a blessing?
Sure, a bowl of Annie’s Mac and Cheese works in a pinch. But if you feel like going all out, head to one of the following eateries and stuff your face full of about 3,000 calories of hot, steamy, food-coma-inducing goodness.
It’s one of those places in the North End that always has a line. Justify it this way: the longer you wait, the colder you’ll get, and the more relieving it will be to get your hands on the warm pasta bowl.
Try: Lobster ravioli, $16
Giacomo’s is located at 355 Hanover Street in the North End.
2. Al Dente
The name is a pasta reference, so you know it must be good. Al Dente could have ridden the coattails of a cheesy Italian gimmick, but they didn’t – evidently, this is the place to go for “feast-sized’’ portions of pastas with sauces so good someone’s grandma could have made them.
Try: Bolognese, $14.95
Al Dente is located at 109 Salem Street in the North End.
3. Trattoria Il Panino
There’s an open kitchen, wall-to-wall wine racks, exposed brick, and 18 different types of expert pastas. If you can’t shell over the $1,000 it would take to fly to Sicily and feel like carb-loading, this is a top destination.
Try: Paccheri al ragu (pasta with meat sauce), $18.95
Trattoria Il Panino is located at 11 Parmenter St in the North End.
It’s small, but it’s mighty. Pomodoro only seats 15 tables at a time and typically has a line (à la Daily Catch and Giacomo’s). Like every other broom closet restaurant in the North End, eaters tend to confuse quick, efficient service with rudeness. So if you want your feet kissed, you’ll be disappointed. But if you want amazing chicken carbonara, you won’t be.
Try: Chicken carbonara (duh).
Pomodoro is located at 351 Hanover St in the North End.
5. La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Yes. That’s the best word for this place. Last time I was at La Famiglia Giorgio’s, I got the fettuccine marsala, and it was 1) on a plate, not a bowl, but we’ll let it pass 2) very warm, and 3) very, very tasty. It also lasted me about four days afterwards. The portions are enormous. Expect to have leftovers.
Try: Pasta marsala, $14.95
La Famiglia Giorgio’s is located at 112 Salem Street in the North End.
6. Ziti’s Italian Express
Sometimes a humble quick fix is all you need. And in those times, Ziti’s Italian Express is there for you. It gets to you fast and hot in a foil to-go container. No muss, no fuss, all delicious hot slurp-y starchy goodness for stupid low prices.
Try: Ziti with marinara and meatballs, $7.25
Ziti’s Italian Express is located at 140 Tremont Street downtown.
In the winter, Carmelina’s open-air dining room is closed, but the view is still spectacular. So you can get sick kicks watching cold pedestrians rush by while you cozy up inside with your steaming bowl of pasta. Schadenfreude, leute.
Try: Crazy Alfredo, $18
Carmelina’s is located at 307 Hanover Street in the North End.
You don’t have to wait until the evening to get your starchy fix: Stella serves pasta for brunch, which might be the best idea anyone’s ever had. So have a hot bowl before noon. You deserve it.
Try: Linguini Carbonara, $11
Stella is located at 1525 Washington Street in the South End.
Like the frumpy girl you overlooked before she showed up to senior prom looking like a dime, you never knew that pasta could be this chic and daring. But it can be, and Sportello proves it with its small-but-satisfying pasta creations. It’s the antithesis to the gargantuan simple classics of the North End and a good way to shake things up.
Try: Potato gnocchi, $29
Sportello is located at 348 Congress Street in Fort Point.