You. Yes, you. Put down that Kraft Easy Mac. Why waste another three minutes staring at a dimly lit microwave on a late Wednesday night, waiting in anticipation for your steaming cup of pre-portioned mac and cheese? That processed, dehydrated, powdered snack isn’t really going to fill you up. In honor of Oct. 17 being National Pasta Day (and for the sake of your palate), put down that plastic cup and try some of the finest pasta palaces Atlanta has to offer.
Figo Pasta ($)
Notable for their fresh homemade pasta and fair prices, Figo Pasta is a small restaurant chain found in the Edgewood, Buckhead and Midtown districts of Atlanta. The menu is a gluten-phile’s dream. The customer can choose their personal combination of house-made pasta and sauce. I chose penne with broccoli e gamberi sauce. The original sauce consisted of broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed shrimp with minced garlic, red pepper flakes and white wine. A perfect combination of flavors, the sauce was light and did not overpower the fresh, perfectly cooked pasta. In addition to the impeccable taste, the portions were rather large, making the dish cost-effective. The restaurant is set up so that customers order right when they walk in. Then they have the option to either dine-in or take-out.
Price: Similar in price to a double steak burrito at Chipotle, this restaurant is hard to pass up. Quality and quantity are displayed in all the dishes served.
La Tavola Trattoria ($$)
La Tavola Trattoria is a fancier venue located in Virginia-Highland, with more to offer for those with refined palates. I selected the squid ink spaghetti from the elegantly designed menu. Unusual in itself, the dish boasted calamari and pesto, which were major selling points. The pasta arrived in a steaming black mass. It had a faint fishy smell but looked mesmerizing. While the pesto covering the pasta was fresh and delicious, the pasta itself was hard to maneuver using a fork. It was rather stiff for spaghetti, making eating it difficult. As for the taste, it was not so unusual as it was disappointing. The ink did not do anything for the pasta, other than the weird texture and photo-op-worthy appearance. The squid ink spaghetti and the other signature pasta dishes, created by the head chef, are offered in full-sized as well as appetizer-sized portions.
Price: The prices are a little high for a college student’s budget, but the pomp and circumstance is included in the bill. The plating is a work of art, and the setting is more appropriate for your next date night than the DUC-ling.
Situated in Emory Village next to Emory students’ beloved Domino’s is an affordable Italian eatery. The menu is filled with all of the Italian favorites, including a lengthy pasta category. The pasta section is split into five lists: fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti, ravioli and other dishes. I ordered the classic meatballs and marinara, listed under the spaghetti category. The dish was a little lackluster, but it delivered. The meatballs were filling and there was plenty of pasta to fuel your pre-midterms carbohydrate-loading. The restaurant is dimly lit, and the windows are mostly covered, nestling visitors in dim mood lighting, letting them forget the heft of their backpacks while eating a meal.
Price: Depending on the sophistication of the order, the pricing is similar to that of most meals at Cox Dining Hall. The dish is worth the price, especially given the restaurant’s proximity to campus, which means car-less students won’t have to factor in the cost of an Uber.
Atlanta is home to numerous pasta eateries. Given the national holiday, go explore the city and find your favorite pasta dish. Whether you want homemade pasta, unusual pasta or even just pasta served without a microwave, a restaurant is out there for you.