From traditional Italian trattorias to trendy osterias and funky fusion spots, Canada is home to a diverse variety of pasta-focused eateries serving toothsome homemade noodles of all kinds. In honour of World Pasta Day on Friday, October 25, we’ve rounded up nine of the top spots in the country to indulge in hearty bowls of cavatelli, rigatoni, ravioli and more. Visit these primo Canadian pasta restaurants and get ready to put yourself into a delicious carb coma.
Di Beppe, Vancouver (BC)
There’s something indescribably cozy and cool about the ambiance at Di Beppe; think soft candlelight, buzzing conversation and marble tables adorned with cute carnations and filled-to-the-brim tumblers of vino.
Start your night at this Gastown neighbourhood haunt with a batch-bottled Aperol Spritz and classic antipasti plates before moving on to the main event. The compact menu features a tight selection of classic Northern Italian pastas – pomodoro, carbonara, amatriciana, cacio e pepe – served with your choice of deliciously al-dente rigatoni or spaghetti.
If you’re feeling really famished, go for the hearty lasagne al forno – a rich baked dish of creamy bechamel and bolognese that’s just as good as anything coming out of an Italian Nonna’s cucina.
Kissa Tanto, Vancouver (BC)
Out of the ordinary and entirely unforgettable, stepping into this enchanting second-floor dining room tucked away in Vancouver’s Chinatown feels like being transported into another time and place.
The beautifully appointed décor at Kissa Tanto resembles a 1970s Tokyo jazz club and the thoughtful design details complement the ambitious menu, which spotlights delicate Japanese flavours and ingredients prepared with the hearty warmth of traditional Italian cooking.
Playful and inspired pasta dishes change with the seasons and are as unexpected as they are delicious. Tantalize your taste buds while tucking into Charcoal Mafaldine with lamb ragu, chantrelles and toasted nori or Tsukune Agnolotti with roasted chicken, Tokyo leeks and shisho.
Cotto, Calgary (AB)
Located in Calgary’s Kensington neighbourhood, Cotto is a relaxed 44-seat dining room with whitewashed barnboard walls, marble tables and a comfortable atmosphere.
Owner and chef Giuseppe Di Gennaro, originally from Naples, is a veteran of the Calgary dining scene and has departed from his fine-dining roots in recent years to focus on simple, thoughtful cooking.
At this cozy trattoria, comforting pasta dishes are the main focus of the dinner menu. While you can’t go wrong with any of the hearty bowls on the menu, baked pastas like Ziti Genovese with pulled duck, sage and caramelized onions or classic Lasagne with beef, pork and bechamel are both excellent stick-to-your-ribs options for Calgary’s cool weather climate.
Little Grouse on the Prairie, Saskatoon (SK)
A cozy spot with an open kitchen, Saskatoon’s Little Grouse on the Prairie is helmed by former Top Chef Canada winner Dale Mackay.
Here, hearty plates of homemade pasta range from classic Roman-style Spaghetti Carbonara to more creative modern options like hand-rolled Lamb Strozzapreti with harissa and honey or roughly cut Mezzaluna pasta stuffed with juicy beets and crème fraiche. Your best bet? Visit with a group and order the four or seven-course ‘Alla Famiglia’ menu so that you can sample the gamut of decadent pasta options.
Buca, Toronto (ON)
Ten years since first opening in Toronto’s buzzing King West ‘hood, Buca maintains its stronghold as one of the premier pasta spots in the country. With multiple outposts across the city, the original osteria is still the favourite in the family.
Housed in an old boiler room, the cavernous dining room attracts a boisterous, cool crowd. Chef Director Rob Gentile embraces a true nose-to-tail philosophy; his dishes draw inspiration from traditional Old-World Italian cooking but are prepared with a decidedly contemporary flair.
Ever-changing menus showcase handmade pastas, house-cured meats, big bold flavours and fresh seasonal ingredients. For something truly outstanding, opt for the signature Spaghetti Al Nero di Maiale – a dark pork blood pasta with bison sausage, preserved ramps and smoked burrata.
PIANO PIANO, Toronto (ON)
A vibrant floral mural and roaring open kitchen welcome guests at this whimsical pasta bar in Toronto’s Harbord Village. Warm, inviting and unpretentious in its approach, PIANO PIANO delivers fine dining without the fuss.
Chef Victor Barry has developed a menu that is simultaneously impressive and approachable with inventive antipasti plates, wood-fired Roman pizzas and luxurious pastas (available in small and large portions) that are all designed to be shared congenially with friends over a bottle of wine.
Stand-out pasta features include a classic Rigatoni Carbonara, a sumptuous Egg Yolk Raviolo that oozes with parmigiana and a brown butter sauce, and an earthy Mushroom Cavatelli with truffle-scented oyster mushrooms.
Le Serpent, Montreal (QC)
Less red-sauce Italian and more European chic, Le Serpent is a slick spot that attracts a fashionable foodie crowd.
The industrial chic space housed in Montreal’s renowned Darling Foundry building features soaring ceilings and a sleek black-and-white décor, while polished servers float attentively between tables of well-heeled urbanites.
While the vibe is decidedly cool, the pasta is the ultimate star of the show. Available in small and large sizes, inspired dishes showcase unique pasta shapes like fiori verde (green flowers) and caramelle (stuffed candy-shaped noodles) that are meticulously plated and bursting with seasonal veggies and complex flavours.
The Bicycle Thief, Halifax (NS)
With a lively atmosphere, craft cocktails and an ideal location along the boardwalk overlooking the water at Bishop’s Landing, it’s no surprise this Halifax trattoria has earned a cult following among locals and visitors alike.
The Bicycle Thief kitchen turns out “North American food with an Italian soul” offering a menu of creative, contemporary pasta dishes.
When in the Maritimes, seafood is a must; with that in mind, order up the Spaghettini alla Vongole studded with South Shore baby clams and crispy pancetta or the Linguine all’Aragosta laced with local Nova Scotia lobster and San Marzano tomatoes swimming in a heavenly vino bianco cream sauce.