The Eater Boston Pasta Heatmap tracks the best new restaurants in town that serve a killer pasta dish (or several). After a restaurant hits a year old, it is retired from the Heatmap to make way for newer spots — but that doesn't mean that it's not still worth a visit, so we archive all the retired map points right here for your continuing pasta adventures.
Retired in October 2017
- The Hourly: When the Grafton Group's new oyster bar debuted in Harvard Square, The Hourly's executive chef at the time, Taryn Bonnefoi, named the lobster spaghetti as the dish she was particularly excited to serve. With good reason. The generous portion of butter-poached lobster and spaghetti, topped with parmesan reggiano, is a winner. First, have some oysters and some house-made salt and vinegar chips, and you've got quite a meal. (Bonnefoi recently departed The Hourly.)
- Waypoint: It's no surprise that the Alden & Harlow sequel is an early hit, especially with a menu that features seafood, tasty pizzas, and absinthe (so much absinthe). You'll probably have to go a few times to try each part of the menu, but when it's time for pasta, go for the umami-packed uni bucatini, topped with smoked egg yolk, pecorino, and bottarga.
Retired in July 2017
- The Blue Room: After a fire shuttered the Kendall Square institution for a year, The Blue Room returned, full of delicious bits of New England, much of it cooked over fire. But now, The Blue Room will close again, this time for good, on July 1, so hurry over to say goodbye. On a recent visit, crab was nestled in wide ribbons of tagliatelle, topped with chili pesto, bottarga, and crumbs. The current menu features cavatelli with fava beans, charred spring onions, and morels; spring pea ravioli with house-cured pork, olives, peas, and pea greens; and rigatoni with tomato sauce, stewed sausage, and parmigiano-reggiano.
- Fat Hen: Eat all the pasta here. Every single dish. Especially the Jonah crab spaghetti with green tomato and bacon, but really, just eat it all. (Pictured: tortellini brodo.) Opening executive chef Michael Bergin departed for The Salty Pig in spring 2017, but Steel & Rye alum Chris Parsons is now in the Fat Hen kitchen; swing by and see what he's doing.
- Little Donkey: The bad news: On a menu that otherwise tops out at $16/dish (excluding some fancy raw bar items), the lobster fra diavolo rings in at $26. The worse news: You're going to love it so much that you're going to want to keep ordering it anyway. It's spicy, it's hearty, and there are generous chunks of lobster. This is the cure for bad weather, but don't let good weather stop you. An honorable mention goes to the manti (Istanbul meat ravioli), excellent little dumplings topped with garlic sour cream and red pepper butter.
- Porto: What's better than squid ink bucatini? Squid ink bucatini with squid, of course. For good measure, there are also pickled peppers and citrus thrown into this stunning Porto dish. Part of the restaurant's "small" section of the menu, it's the perfect thing to eat between a crudo and a larger entree, such as a whole fried fish or whole roasted lobster.
Retired in June 2017
- Bar Mezzana: Bar Mezzana does a lot of things very well, most notably the crudo and the pasta. For the latter, you can't go wrong with any of the options, but it's the silky, smooth lobster paccheri that you'll want to order again and again.
- Juliet: You'll almost always find some kind of pasta on Restaurant of the Year Juliet's a la carte dinner menu, whether it's a bolognese (bonus: topped with a fried lemon slice), pictured, or something else, such as amatriciana. Whatever it is, order it. And now they've got their liquor license, so you can pair it with a nice glass of wine. Plus, Juliet becomes "Romeo's at Juliet" on Sunday nights, and it's all about pasta.
- SRV: Eater Boston's 2016 Restaurant of the Year Readers' Choice award went to SRV, thanks to its delicious cicchetti (Venetian-style small plates) and more. The pasta selection varies but always pleases.
- The Table at Season to Taste: You'll have to spring for the four-course tasting menu to get at one of Chef of the Year Carl Dooley's pasta dishes — The Table doesn't have an a la carte menu, aside from a few small snacks at a standing bar — but it's worth it. One excellent dish served in early 2016 was a house-made garganelli with mussels, roasted broccoli, and lemon breadcrumbs. Later, the pasta course was house-made pumpkin ravioli with aged balsami, mimolette, and ginger snaps. (In summer 2017, The Table debuted an a la carte menu on the patio, which is only available to walk-ins, so keep an eye out for a la carte pasta options there.)