There is a magical place in the heart of Upstate New York that has been full of Pastabilities for more than 30 years. Pastabilities is a restaurant in Syracuse where copious amounts of fresh fettuccini, linguine and pappardelle are constantly cranked out and served to customers on big plates. As a native Syracusan there are plenty of amazing grub spots we could wax poetic about (like Eleven Waters and Funk ‘n Waffles), but when it comes to pasta, Pastabilities is at the top of the list.
Before you dive into lunch or dinner, a word of warning. Always get loads of velvety locatelli cheese on your pasta and pace yourself. Every meal at Pastabilities begins with the restaurant’s signature spicy hot tomato oil sauce and warm Italian stretch bread. We’ve nearly missed a meal many a time by almost overdosing on this delicious duo before our entrees arrived.
Ah spicy hot tomato sauce, let us count the ways we love thee. Made with magic (or tomatoes, olive oil, honey, garlic, spiced oil and chili peppers) Pasta’s spicy hot tomato oil is incredibly crave worthy.
With wood plank floors and a cozy glow, Pastabilities is the perfect place for a date or to catch up with family. Everyone we’ve met (so far) loves to binge on spicy hot tomato oil sauce, but there are plenty of other options on the menu if you want to switch things up. Pastabilities has a lovely burrata that is served with balsamic pears, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, basil and pomegranate seeds. A Sonoma caesar and a house antipasto can be found on the list of salad options. Chicken riggis are a quintessential Upstate New York dish (usually consisting of rigatoni pasta, a spicy vodka sauce, peppers and chicken) that is becoming harder to find. Pastabilities’ take on chicken riggis is fabulous and it is called wicky-wicky chicken riggis. Its version consists of rigatoni, a spicy tomato cream sauce and locatelli cheese. (Side Note: When Rico’s Ristorante closed its doors in East Syracuse this past May, a beloved local riggis recipe went with it. We’re hoping that Vito’s Ristorante, which opened in Rico’s old space, has a twist on riggis that fills that void and helps keep this regional pasta dish in play.)
Dinner service on Friday and Saturday nights can get packed, so come prepared to wait for a table or snag an aperitif at the bar. If you’re hankering simply for a loaf of fresh bread and spicy hot tomato oil sauce, you can pop across the street for a fresh loaf and a jar of sauce to go at Pasta’s Daily Bread, Pastabilities’ sister bakery across the street. Pastabilities is also a possibility even if you never make it to lovely Central New York (CNY). When we visit Syracuse, we often load up on Pastabilities’ signature sauce by the box load and check it for the long flight back to the West coast. (Oddly enough TSA always seems to crack open at least one of the tasty jars of sauce we check. Perhaps even TSA can’t resist the allure of the famous spicy hot.) You can also get the sauce shipped to you if you order it online via Pastabilities’ HotTom.com website.
Address: 311 South Franklin Street
Syracuse, New York 13202
Hours: Lunch (Served Cafeteria Style) – Monday Through Saturday 11:30am to 2:30pm, Dinner – Monday Through Thursday 5:00pm to 10:00pm and Friday Through Sunday 4:00pm to 10:00pm
Phone: (315) 474-1153
Pricing (All in U.S. Dollars or USD): Lunch Menu $4.25 to $8.50, Starters $5.00 to $15.00, Salads $7.00 to $22.00, Burgers and Pizza $16.00, Toppings and Sides $4.00 to $13.00, Pasta $9.75 to $25.00, Specials $22.00 to $27.00, Desserts $6.00 to $8.00