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Best Pasta in Kingston

Best Pasta in Kingston, OntarioLast Fall we ran a highly contested poll to identify the best Italian restaurant Kingston has to offer. The race was too close to call, with one of my personal favourites, Casa, narrowly beating their next door neighbour, Olivea, by a single vote.  The result is far from a decisive victory, however it serves to highlight the deserved popularity of these two establishments as well as Kingston’s insatiable appetite for fine, authentic Italian fare.

When I reflect on what I like most about Casa and Olivea respectively, one surprising fact becomes abundantly clear.  Every single time that I’ve dined at these two establishments, I’ve opted for entrées that aren’t distinctively Italian.  This of course got me thinking more about what influenced the votes of others, and how votes might have changed if the focus were on a specific form of Italian cuisine such as pasta.

Pasta is a quintessential staple of Italian cuisine, and in my mind, any Italian restaurant worth their salt prides themselves on being able to deliver a big bowl of al dente pasta.  From the simple spaghetti and meatballs to seafood linguine, homemade ravioli to baked ziti, you can generally find a handful of of these and more modern dishes at Kingston’s finest Italian restaurants.  Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:

The best pasta in Kingston is served by:

  • Casa (32%, 51 Votes)
  • Pasta Genova (24%, 39 Votes)
  • Olivea (19%, 31 Votes)
  • Atomica (15%, 24 Votes)
  • Pasta Shelf (4%, 7 Votes)
  • Go Italian! (3%, 5 Votes)
  • Frankie Pesto's (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Bella Bistro (0%, 0 Votes)
  • The Grizzly Grill (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 161

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On a recent trip south of the border, I gave into temptation and curiosity and had my very first meal at the sensational Italian restaurant chain known as Olive Garden.  Overall it was an utter disappointment, which may partially be the result of one too many people hyping a restaurant we have to travel hours to get to.  In my opinion, Olive Garden was no better (or worse) than East Side Mario’s, which is already borderline safe and often boring when it comes to serving up classic Italian recipes.  Forget the endless breadsticks, bowls of salad and build your own pasta.  A great pasta dish doesn’t need to be bottomless, rather, an empty bowl should be a clear indication of a thoroughly satisfying meal.

In our pursuit of the best pasta in Kingston, I decided to include one spot that isn’t technically a restaurant.  Pasta Genova sells their own homemade pasta and sauces for you to take home and prepare as you see fit.  Pasta Shelf does the same, although admittedly you can sit down in their west-end eatery for a full meal.  Other hot spots such as Le Chien Noir and Days on Front were purposely left off the list, as they don’t tend to have more than 1 or 2 pasta dishes on the menu at any given time.  Having said all that, just who serves the best pasta in Kingston?  What dish(es) do they prepare better than all the rest? Buon appetito!

Photo credit to Katrin Morenz.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

3 thoughts on “Best Pasta in Kingston

  • April 15, 2015 at 4:18 pm
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    "Sensational" Olive Garden? Oh my… drive a little farther south to Utica NY, the blighted urban patch where the mafia ran all of upstate NY (and the Demoratic party as well). O'scunizzos, Roma, Rosarios for pizza (tomato pie). Ventura's, Joe's, Daniele's for a real red saucy southern Italian dining experience… You will rethink what is authentic when you come back here.

  • April 16, 2015 at 7:36 am
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    Forget the mecca of Italian cuisine that is upstate New York. Henry Gee, if you want real Italian, drive to the east coast, get on a boat, cross Atlantic, then take another short drive to northern Italy. Check out Florence's best: All'Antico Vinaio, Pane e Toscana, Il Bufalo Trippone and Salumeria Verdi! Honestly, any of these spots will really make you rethink the authenticity of Utica's attempts at Italian.

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