From the kitchen

Celebrate National Pasta Day with some Syracuse favorites

Hieu Nguyen | Contributing Photographer

Angiotti's Family Restaurant serves classic, no-frills Italian food, just like mamma used to make.

Pasta plays a special role in the college experience. Not only is it quick and filling, but is often one of the only things some students know how to cook. Monday is National Pasta Day, so to celebrate this I decided to compare some of the most popular places to get pasta in Syracuse.

Armory Square heavy-hitter Pastabilities ranks No. 1 on almost everyone’s lists: Yelp, Trip Advisor, or basically anyone who has tried their spicy hot tomato oil. I scoured a few more lists and decided to try Dolce Vita World Bistro for its unique global variations on pasta as well as Angotti’s Family Restaurant for a more traditional, no-frills pasta experience.

Go out and celebrate National Pasta Day with any of these great variations on everyone’s favorite carb. Treat yourself to a fancy dinner, try something new or stick to the classics — there really isn’t any way to be disappointed when you’re elbow-deep in a plate of pasta.

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Hieu Nguygen | Contributing Photographer

PASTABILITIES – 311 S. Franklin St.

Pastabilities needs no introduction. Featured on countless top 10 lists and visited by Guy Fieri of Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, it is no surprise that this restaurant has been open for 30 years. With house-made pastas and sauces, quality is not sacrificed or overlooked at Pastabilites. Dishes such as the central New York classic chicken riggies, pasta carbonara and baked spinach and feta manicotti fill the menu in addition to some non-pasta options.

I ordered the linguine with garlic clam sauce. My first reaction was sheer awe at the portion size and amount of clams in the sauce. Normally, this would be too much pasta for me but the light, delicate strands of linguine did not sit heavy in my stomach, allowing me to finish the entire plate. The light, broth-like sauce was briny but cut with the acidity of lemon, allowing for the clams to be the main act.

I appreciate that Pastabilities takes the time to make pasta from scratch because the difference is game-changing. Fresh pasta holds sauce better and has a much more pleasant mouth feel than dried box pasta.

Next time your parents come to visit, or you feel like treating yourself, head down to Armory to enjoy some spicy hot tomato oil and a generous helping of delicious pasta.

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Hieu Nguygen | Contributing Photographer

DOLCE VITA WORLD BISTRO – 907 E. Genessee St.

Dolce Vita World Bistro features a menu that might be confusing for the average diner. Eggplant rollatini sits next to Sun Tzu shrimp, listed above Jamaican jerk chicken and a bacon cheeseburger. The angle of this restaurant is to take the diner around the world through his or her dining experience. Some of the pastas they offer include Kokoda shrimp pasta from Fiji, caprese chicken pasta from Italy and crab macaroni and cheese from the United States.

On such an unseasonably warm and sunny day I decided to try something light: the pasta Athena. Greek-inspired with a base of penne pasta, this mountainous dish includes sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, red onions sauteed with garlic and white wine and a sprinkle of crumbled feta. Although the pasta is the key player in this dish, the rich, savory flavors of the toppings made the meal more complex and fulfilling. Not only was it delicious, but also beautiful to look at. I almost felt bad digging into it, but the aroma was too tantalizing to ignore.

The variation of this menu is exciting and enticing. Each dish is well thought out and beautiful, making Dolce Vita a great option for anyone looking to try something that is familiar but unfamiliar at the same time.

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Hieu Nguygen | Contributing Photographer

ANGOTTI’S FAMILY RESTAURANT – 725 Burnet Ave.

Cozy and simple, Angotti’s Family Restaurant felt just like being in a small town diner where the whole staff knows your name and the waitress has your order memorized. A modest menu serving only the best Italian-American dishes such as chicken parmigiana, lasagna, stuffed shells, gnocchi and baked ziti — comfort food at its finest.

To round out my pasta adventure I decided to go with a classic: spaghetti and meatballs. Simple and sweet, the dish wasn’t extravagant — and it didn’t need to be. Any great pasta dish has to have a killer sauce and at Angotti’s, I could taste the love and time put into their sauce, which contributed to the home-cooked taste of the meal as a whole. Nowadays every restaurant is trying to put a spin on classic dishes, but sometimes it nice to be reminded that the original will always triumph over any deconstructed lamb meatball you may find in Brooklyn.

With its homey decor, simple but classic dishes and friendly service, Angotti’s Family Restaurant is definitely a place to go when you’re craving some true Italian comfort food.

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