The Best and Worst Pasta to Order at a Restaurant, According to Chefs

Italian chefs nationwide share their insights on the best and worst pasta shapes to order at a restaurant. According to them, some shapes hold sauce better, cook more evenly, and are simply more enjoyable to eat.

The Best Pasta to Order at a Restaurant


: Arguably the world’s most popular pasta shape, spaghetti is a go-to for carb lovers. It’s a versatile shape that can be paired with a variety of sauces, and it’s relatively easy to cook.


: This northern Italian egg pasta is known for its long, ribbon-like strands. It’s often paired with meaty sauces like bolognese.


: This large, tube-shaped pasta is perfect for holding a hearty sauce like ragu or tomato sauce. It’s also relatively easy to cook al dente.


: This small, rippled pasta is a sauce magnet, making it ideal for pasta salads or light sauces.


: This Southern Italian pasta shape is known for its small, caved-in shape. It’s typically made fresh and can be paired with a variety of sauces.


: This beloved Southern Italian shape is made from spaghetti strands rolled around a wire. It’s a versatile shape that can be paired with a variety of sauces, and it’s also ideal for pasta salads.


: This legendary pasta shape is stuffed with a variety of fillings, typically meat or cheese. It’s a popular choice for special occasions.

The Worst Pasta to Order at a Restaurant


: Also known as angel hair, cappellini is a very thin and delicate pasta. It’s often overcooked and clumpy, so it’s best to avoid it if you’re looking for a satisfying pasta dish.


: This tubal-shaped noodle is often found on kids’ menus or served with a la vodka sauce. However, it doesn’t hold sauce or its shape well, so it’s not the best choice for a hearty pasta dish.


: This Northern Italian pasta is made from potatoes. It’s supposed to be light and pillowy, but it’s often served thick and starchy. If you’re looking for a light pasta dish, gnocchi is not the best choice.

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