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Parisian gnocchi at Field & Vine
Parisian gnocchi at Field & Vine
Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

The Most Comforting New Pasta Dishes in Boston

It's a fine time to try some hearty bowls of noodles

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Parisian gnocchi at Field & Vine
| Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

As fall begins to set in, there's nothing more comforting than a hearty bowl of pasta, and plenty of exciting new restaurants are pulling out all the stops on that front.

Thus we present the Eater Boston Pasta Heatmap, an ever-evolving collection of the newest destinations in town (restaurants that have been open under a year) that are serving up one or more pasta dishes that you should absolutely try right away.

Today's update includes the addition of Prairie Fire in Brookline; Field & Vine and Spoke Wine Bar, both in Somerville; Semolina Kitchen & Bar in Medford; Sulmona in Cambridge; and Twyrl Pasta Bistro in Arlington.

The Hourly and Waypoint, both in Harvard Square, have been retired from the Heatmap since they've been open over a year — but don't let that stop you from visiting them and eating all of their pasta. (Take a peek at the Pasta Heatmap archive right here to see all the past picks.)

Notes about this map:

  • Points are listed geographically from north to south, not ranked.
  • Many of these menus change frequently, so you may not find these exact dishes at the restaurants, but you can't go wrong — every spot on this map knows how to make a killer pasta dish.
  • Is there another new restaurant serving up excellent pasta that should be on our radar? Leave a comment below or hit up the tipline.
  • This map was originally published on December 8, 2016 and is updated periodically, with the date of the most recent update appearing above.
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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Twyrl Pasta Bistro

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Inspired by a Venetian bistro, Twyrl is meant to serve fast, healthy pasta dishes in a cozy, casual setting, and all pasta is made fresh in-house. While there are a few pre-set options (seafood scampi, diavolo, and bolognese), the bulk of the menu offers diners the chance to mix and match pastas, sauteed vegetables, sauces, and proteins in whatever way they'd like.

Twyrl gnocchi A gnocchi special with blue cheese and white wine sauce/Facebook

Semolina Kitchen & Bar

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Dave's Fresh Pasta — home of excellent fresh pasta to buy and cook at home — has spawned a full-service sibling in Medford, and as expected, pasta is one of the highlights. The lunch and dinner menus generally offer different selections, and specials are regularly posted on Instagram. Current dishes include classic spaghetti and meatballs made with fresh egg spaghetti, San Marzano marinara, meatballs, parmesan and romano cheeses, and herb salad (lunch menu); garlic shrimp pappardelle made with fresh egg pappardelle, white wine, butter, garlic, parsley, crushed red pepper, and olive oil (dinner menu); and more.

Semolina Kitchen garlic shrimp pappardelle Garlic shrimp pappardelle/Facebook

Spoke Wine Bar

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Corn season is fleeting, and an excellent dish of spelt linguine with corn, ricotta, and serrano chili (pictured) is already gone from the menu. But Spoke — a revamped version of the briefly shuttered Davis Square haunt — generally includes a pasta dish on its concise menu, and it's always worth trying (and pairing with an interesting wine, of course). At the time of this map's most recent update, the menu featured cavatelli with braised duck, squash, sunchoke, and robiola.

Spelt linguine at Spoke Wine Bar Spelt linguine/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Field & Vine

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Located in the former Journeyman space hidden past Bronwyn in Union Square, Field & Vine is all about seasonal, local ingredients, but its standout pasta dish draws inspiration from across the sea. The Parisian gnocchi — currently served with foraged mushrooms, sage, and kale — is a warming, creamy dish reminiscent of macaroni and cheese in all the best ways.

Field & Vine Parisian gnocchi Parisian gnocchi/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Benedetto

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If you've been to Giulia, you already know that the pasta at its new sister restaurant, Benedetto, will be outstanding. The tricky part: How do you get your fill of Benedetto's perfect pasta (and sfizi and antipasti and entrees) while saving room for a beautiful dessert from Cafe ArtScience alum Renae Connolly? We can't help you on that front, but as for pasta options, you can't go wrong. A visit in winter 2016 included outstanding dishes such as a Glenn flour linguine with bay scallops, melted leeks, and foraged mushrooms; braised duck leg tortelloni with broccoli rabe, dried cherries, and thin strips of parmigiano; and tagliatelle alla bolognese with beef short rib, pancetta, and chicken livers (pictured).

The tagliatelle remains on the fall 2017 menu alongside newer dishes such as pappardelle with smoked rabbit sugo, sweet peas, tomato, and prosciutto; linguine with clams, tomato, garlic, parsley, and olive oil; and ricotta gnocchi with sweet corn crema, shiitake, and roasted peppers.

Tagliatelle alla bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Pammy's

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Pammy's co-owner and chef Chris Willis takes pasta so seriously that he's milling the flour in-house. It's worth the effort. The new restaurant's opening menu features four entree-sized pasta dishes; don't miss the lumache (snail shell-shaped pasta, almost as if fat rigatoni were bent into an elbow shape). It's served in a bolognese sauce enhanced with gochujang, a spicy Korean pepper paste — perhaps an odd combination to find on the menu of restaurant that leans Italian, but it really works. Each bite ends with a little bit of a kick.

Lumache at Pammy's Lumache bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

North Square Oyster

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This North End newcomer shows off lobster in hot and cold versions of a lobster roll, but lobster lovers can also fill the craving with this irresistible pasta dish — rigatoni with a lobster and oxtail bolognese and parsnip, ricotta, and rosemary. A half-sized portion is available to leave more room for trying the restaurant's various raw bar items, soups, and more.

North Square Oyster lobster and oxtail bolognese Rigatoni with lobster and oxtail bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Sulmona Restaurant & Bar

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Sulmona, the younger sibling of Amelia's Trattoria nearby, always has a selection of pastas available on its menu of Italian street food, pizzette, and more. There are a couple mainstays on the menu — such as the amatriciana, made with rigatoni rather than the traditional bucatini — as well as options that change up a bit with the seasons. Other current pasta dishes include cavatelli with wild boar ragu; linguine with clams; and more.

amatriciana at Sulmona Eric Luciano for Sulmona

Cultivar

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If you were a fan of Mary Dumont's work at Harvest, rush over to her new spot, Cultivar, located at the Ames Hotel (but operated independently of the hotel) where every single dish is gorgeous — and tastes fantastic as well. As for pasta, the current menu features four options, all available as half or full portions. (Splitting your food with someone? They'll serve it divided; this photo shows half of a half portion of a pasta dish.) Try the squid ink messinesi with sea beans, Calabrian chili, bronze fennel, confit tomato, mahogany clams, squid, and lobster. Like Benedetto, Cultivar also has a strong dessert program; save some room for executive pastry chef Robert Gonzalez' beautiful creations.

Cultivar squid ink messinesi Half of a half portion of squid ink messinesi/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Eataly Boston

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Take a deep breath and step inside. It's crowded, it's crazy, but it's full of delicious Italian foods to eat there or to take home and cook. One of the most anticipated openings of 2016, Eataly has grandly debuted inside the Prudential Center, and there are plenty of pasta options. One of the full-service restaurants, La Pizza & La Pasta, serves a wide range of pasta, both dried (imported from Gragnano, Napoli) and made fresh in-house. Another Eataly restaurant, Il Pesce, a collaboration with Boston's Barbara Lynch, also offers a few pasta dishes that highlight locally sourced seafood. The spaghetti alla chitarra (pictured) with Boston mackerel, pine nuts, and raisins is no longer on the menu, but try the spaghetti and bottarga with chili flakes and garlic or the garganelli verde with blue crab, leeks, and breadcrumbs instead.

Spaghetti alla chitarra/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Oak + Rowan

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Really love pasta? This new sibling to Newburyport's Brine and Ceia serves a four-course pasta tasting menu on Thursdays. But any day of the week, there are a few a la carte pasta options available. They change occasionally, but previous dishes have included tarragon fettuccine (pictured) with cauliflower, pistacchio, cara cara orange, and pink peppercorn, as well as a visually stunning squid ink farfalle with pheasant confit, lemon, and uni.

Tarragon fettuccine/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Prairie Fire

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This Coolidge Corner newcomer — a sequel to Milton's Steel & Rye — features wood-fired everything (including pizza) in the longtime Lineage space. There are lots of delights on the menu, but the biggest star is perhaps the pasta, particularly the squid ink campanelle with a zippy lobster arrabiata, garnished with green onion and crispy garlic. The team also gets a little more out of the box with dishes like the cocoa fusilli with duck ragu, breadcrumbs, caciocavallo (a provolone-like cheese), and egg yolk.

Black campanelle pasta with chunks of lobster on an earthy, white-speckled plate Squid ink campanelle/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Douglass Williams' new South End restaurant, Mida, describes itself as "rooted in, but not limited to, Italian culinary traditions." As such, the pasta is one of the stars of the show (but not the only one — try the duck). The menu changes constantly, but a past winner was a pork shoulder orecchiette, topped with crumbled parmesan. Sure, the tender pork was great, but the pasta itself was perfection — thick, al dente, hand-shaped. If you're lucky, a server will swoop in with some buttered toast so that you can sop up the remains of the sauce after you've inhaled a pasta dish. Important: Mondays are all-you-can-eat pasta night.

Pork shoulder orecchiette/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Twyrl Pasta Bistro

Twyrl gnocchi A gnocchi special with blue cheese and white wine sauce/Facebook

Inspired by a Venetian bistro, Twyrl is meant to serve fast, healthy pasta dishes in a cozy, casual setting, and all pasta is made fresh in-house. While there are a few pre-set options (seafood scampi, diavolo, and bolognese), the bulk of the menu offers diners the chance to mix and match pastas, sauteed vegetables, sauces, and proteins in whatever way they'd like.

Twyrl gnocchi A gnocchi special with blue cheese and white wine sauce/Facebook

Semolina Kitchen & Bar

Semolina Kitchen garlic shrimp pappardelle Garlic shrimp pappardelle/Facebook

Dave's Fresh Pasta — home of excellent fresh pasta to buy and cook at home — has spawned a full-service sibling in Medford, and as expected, pasta is one of the highlights. The lunch and dinner menus generally offer different selections, and specials are regularly posted on Instagram. Current dishes include classic spaghetti and meatballs made with fresh egg spaghetti, San Marzano marinara, meatballs, parmesan and romano cheeses, and herb salad (lunch menu); garlic shrimp pappardelle made with fresh egg pappardelle, white wine, butter, garlic, parsley, crushed red pepper, and olive oil (dinner menu); and more.

Semolina Kitchen garlic shrimp pappardelle Garlic shrimp pappardelle/Facebook

Spoke Wine Bar

Spelt linguine at Spoke Wine Bar Spelt linguine/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Corn season is fleeting, and an excellent dish of spelt linguine with corn, ricotta, and serrano chili (pictured) is already gone from the menu. But Spoke — a revamped version of the briefly shuttered Davis Square haunt — generally includes a pasta dish on its concise menu, and it's always worth trying (and pairing with an interesting wine, of course). At the time of this map's most recent update, the menu featured cavatelli with braised duck, squash, sunchoke, and robiola.

Spelt linguine at Spoke Wine Bar Spelt linguine/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Field & Vine

Field & Vine Parisian gnocchi Parisian gnocchi/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Located in the former Journeyman space hidden past Bronwyn in Union Square, Field & Vine is all about seasonal, local ingredients, but its standout pasta dish draws inspiration from across the sea. The Parisian gnocchi — currently served with foraged mushrooms, sage, and kale — is a warming, creamy dish reminiscent of macaroni and cheese in all the best ways.

Field & Vine Parisian gnocchi Parisian gnocchi/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Benedetto

Tagliatelle alla bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

If you've been to Giulia, you already know that the pasta at its new sister restaurant, Benedetto, will be outstanding. The tricky part: How do you get your fill of Benedetto's perfect pasta (and sfizi and antipasti and entrees) while saving room for a beautiful dessert from Cafe ArtScience alum Renae Connolly? We can't help you on that front, but as for pasta options, you can't go wrong. A visit in winter 2016 included outstanding dishes such as a Glenn flour linguine with bay scallops, melted leeks, and foraged mushrooms; braised duck leg tortelloni with broccoli rabe, dried cherries, and thin strips of parmigiano; and tagliatelle alla bolognese with beef short rib, pancetta, and chicken livers (pictured).

The tagliatelle remains on the fall 2017 menu alongside newer dishes such as pappardelle with smoked rabbit sugo, sweet peas, tomato, and prosciutto; linguine with clams, tomato, garlic, parsley, and olive oil; and ricotta gnocchi with sweet corn crema, shiitake, and roasted peppers.

Tagliatelle alla bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Pammy's

Lumache at Pammy's Lumache bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Pammy's co-owner and chef Chris Willis takes pasta so seriously that he's milling the flour in-house. It's worth the effort. The new restaurant's opening menu features four entree-sized pasta dishes; don't miss the lumache (snail shell-shaped pasta, almost as if fat rigatoni were bent into an elbow shape). It's served in a bolognese sauce enhanced with gochujang, a spicy Korean pepper paste — perhaps an odd combination to find on the menu of restaurant that leans Italian, but it really works. Each bite ends with a little bit of a kick.

Lumache at Pammy's Lumache bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

North Square Oyster

North Square Oyster lobster and oxtail bolognese Rigatoni with lobster and oxtail bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

This North End newcomer shows off lobster in hot and cold versions of a lobster roll, but lobster lovers can also fill the craving with this irresistible pasta dish — rigatoni with a lobster and oxtail bolognese and parsnip, ricotta, and rosemary. A half-sized portion is available to leave more room for trying the restaurant's various raw bar items, soups, and more.

North Square Oyster lobster and oxtail bolognese Rigatoni with lobster and oxtail bolognese/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Sulmona Restaurant & Bar

amatriciana at Sulmona Eric Luciano for Sulmona

Sulmona, the younger sibling of Amelia's Trattoria nearby, always has a selection of pastas available on its menu of Italian street food, pizzette, and more. There are a couple mainstays on the menu — such as the amatriciana, made with rigatoni rather than the traditional bucatini — as well as options that change up a bit with the seasons. Other current pasta dishes include cavatelli with wild boar ragu; linguine with clams; and more.

amatriciana at Sulmona Eric Luciano for Sulmona

Cultivar

Cultivar squid ink messinesi Half of a half portion of squid ink messinesi/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

If you were a fan of Mary Dumont's work at Harvest, rush over to her new spot, Cultivar, located at the Ames Hotel (but operated independently of the hotel) where every single dish is gorgeous — and tastes fantastic as well. As for pasta, the current menu features four options, all available as half or full portions. (Splitting your food with someone? They'll serve it divided; this photo shows half of a half portion of a pasta dish.) Try the squid ink messinesi with sea beans, Calabrian chili, bronze fennel, confit tomato, mahogany clams, squid, and lobster. Like Benedetto, Cultivar also has a strong dessert program; save some room for executive pastry chef Robert Gonzalez' beautiful creations.

Cultivar squid ink messinesi Half of a half portion of squid ink messinesi/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Eataly Boston

Spaghetti alla chitarra/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Take a deep breath and step inside. It's crowded, it's crazy, but it's full of delicious Italian foods to eat there or to take home and cook. One of the most anticipated openings of 2016, Eataly has grandly debuted inside the Prudential Center, and there are plenty of pasta options. One of the full-service restaurants, La Pizza & La Pasta, serves a wide range of pasta, both dried (imported from Gragnano, Napoli) and made fresh in-house. Another Eataly restaurant, Il Pesce, a collaboration with Boston's Barbara Lynch, also offers a few pasta dishes that highlight locally sourced seafood. The spaghetti alla chitarra (pictured) with Boston mackerel, pine nuts, and raisins is no longer on the menu, but try the spaghetti and bottarga with chili flakes and garlic or the garganelli verde with blue crab, leeks, and breadcrumbs instead.

Spaghetti alla chitarra/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Oak + Rowan

Tarragon fettuccine/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Really love pasta? This new sibling to Newburyport's Brine and Ceia serves a four-course pasta tasting menu on Thursdays. But any day of the week, there are a few a la carte pasta options available. They change occasionally, but previous dishes have included tarragon fettuccine (pictured) with cauliflower, pistacchio, cara cara orange, and pink peppercorn, as well as a visually stunning squid ink farfalle with pheasant confit, lemon, and uni.

Tarragon fettuccine/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Prairie Fire

Black campanelle pasta with chunks of lobster on an earthy, white-speckled plate Squid ink campanelle/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

This Coolidge Corner newcomer — a sequel to Milton's Steel & Rye — features wood-fired everything (including pizza) in the longtime Lineage space. There are lots of delights on the menu, but the biggest star is perhaps the pasta, particularly the squid ink campanelle with a zippy lobster arrabiata, garnished with green onion and crispy garlic. The team also gets a little more out of the box with dishes like the cocoa fusilli with duck ragu, breadcrumbs, caciocavallo (a provolone-like cheese), and egg yolk.

Black campanelle pasta with chunks of lobster on an earthy, white-speckled plate Squid ink campanelle/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Mida

Pork shoulder orecchiette/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

Douglass Williams' new South End restaurant, Mida, describes itself as "rooted in, but not limited to, Italian culinary traditions." As such, the pasta is one of the stars of the show (but not the only one — try the duck). The menu changes constantly, but a past winner was a pork shoulder orecchiette, topped with crumbled parmesan. Sure, the tender pork was great, but the pasta itself was perfection — thick, al dente, hand-shaped. If you're lucky, a server will swoop in with some buttered toast so that you can sop up the remains of the sauce after you've inhaled a pasta dish. Important: Mondays are all-you-can-eat pasta night.

Pork shoulder orecchiette/Rachel Leah Blumenthal for Eater

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