Pasta lovers may have heard of a small family-run shop in mid-city L.A. churning out impressively good Handmade Pastas in the unlikeliest of places. With just 2 small “tables” Pasta Sisters managed to develop into a great success, with lines out the door on most weekends.
Founded by Chef Paola Da Re with her children Francesco and Giorgia, Pasta Sisters’ menu is based off of recipes learned from her mother back in Padova, Italy. Pasta Sisters consistently served delicious Pastas from their small mid-city shop, but it was always a pain to park and get a table, but we still went nonetheless (because the Pastas were delicious and it was a great value).
Fast-forward a couple of years and it looks like Pasta Sisters has saved up enough to expand to a much larger 2nd location, this time in Culver City! A huge thanks to @paranoidgarliclover for letting us know that they opened up.
Pasta Sisters (Culver City) interestingly takes over the space formerly occupied by another noteworthy Pasta restaurant - Bucato - which was Chef Evan Funke’s (Felix) celebrated Pasta palace (across from Lukshon, and diagonal from Father’s Office Culver City).
Walking into the new Pasta Sisters location, it is spacious, inviting and huge compared to their original tiny 2 table shop.
The once questionable outdoor patio for Bucato is fully covered (and reinforced), so it feels pleasant enough like you were dining in a real dining space (as opposed to being in a makeshift outdoor tent).
Pasta Sister regulars (@Dommy @ipsedixit @PorkyBelly and others) will be relieved to know that the entire family, is here at Pasta Sisters (Culver City) busy making sure the back and front of the house are running smoothly.
They provide each table with some complimentary Housemade Focaccia Bread. It tastes fresh and is sufficiently light and nicely salted, but the one minor complaint is that it’s served cold (no doubt made in batches earlier in the day), which is understandable for a casual spot.
As before, while they advertise that you can build your own pasta, they now clearly provide some guidance, to steer customers away from creating some mix-and-match combinations that just don’t work, and help list out the more traditional / recommended pairings. These were all recommended as the traditional pairings with each sauce.
Porcini Mushroom Pappardelle:
As delicious as the original location, the Porcini Mushroom Sauce is deeply fragrant, exuding a pure Porcini aroma in each bite. The Handmade Pappardelle Pasta have a nice mouthfeel, good chew (even though they are not made with Semolina), and the dish was just totally crave-worthy. Delicious!
Their side of Roasted Broccoli had some slight charring, adding to the smokiness, and were tender, but still firm enough to give a snap to each bite.
Their Handmade Pesto and Gnocchi are even better than when we had it at their original location: Fragrant with Pine Nuts, Basil, Garlic, a nice backnote of Pecorino Romano and great Olive Oil, all bathing the delicate, pillowy Handmade Gnocchi… just excellent!
For Seafood Pasta lovers, their Clams Spaghetti is an example of a delicate balance of toothsome Handmade Spaghetti bursting with Garlic and Olive Oil flavors, but tempered by an enjoyable brininess from the Clams.
But it’s all about the Bolognese Tagliatelle: We hope @Novelli will approve, but Pasta Sisters (Culver City)'s Bolognese is just as rich, long-stewed, earthy, meaty and wonderful as their original location’s version.
And when combined with the Handmade Tagliatelle Pasta, slightly thicker than Spaghetti, and it’s this perfect match of flavors! SO GOOD!
Of note to QPR observers, Pasta Sisters’ prices have gone up since they first opened up, but it’s not due to the new location (both locations have the same price), but even at $10.95 this outstanding Bolognese Tagliatelle is worth it. And we think it feels like they’re giving out more Pasta in each dish. This felt like maybe 125% of the size of the original location’s Bolognese Tagliatelle.
They have a baked goods display area, which feels like a perfect space to showcase more baked goods as they continue to grow in this new location.
(NEW) Crostone (Oven-Baked Bruschetta Bread Topped with Italian Ham (Levoni), Artichokes, Mushrooms, Tomato Sauce and Fresh Mozzarella Cheese):
A new menu item just for the Culver City branch, the Crostone is sort of like an informal “Pizza,” with some delicious crusty, slightly crunchy Bruschetta Bread topped with Mushrooms, Artichokes, Italian Ham and Tomato Sauce, and then baked until the Fresh Mozzarella Cheese is melted and gooey.
It’s tasty, and a nice appetizer to share with others.
Lasagna (Homemade Pasta Sheets, Bolognese Sauce, Silky Besciamella, Parmigiano Cheese):
While the top Pasta Sheet is a bit dried out (from the baking), the Lasagna overall is quite tasty, and it’s hard not to see why: Chef Paola uses their amazing Bolognese Sauce as the basis, so it’s already got a strong foundation. It’s a very good Lasagna, but also feels like you’re eating a variation on their Bolognese Tagliatelle, where we’d rather enjoy the wonderful Bolognese with the excellent Tagliatelle Pasta instead of baked in Lasagna form, but that’s just personal preference.
Their Garden Salad has very fresh Mixed Greens and bright Cucumbers (although the Tomatoes taste like they are out-of-season, lacking the beautiful sweetness you hope for when the traditional season comes around). It’s also a bit overdressed, so next time we’d ask for the Balsamic Dressing on the side.
(NEW) Spezzatino Con Polenta (Beef Stew Served with Polenta Valsugana):
Their Spezzatino Con Polenta is another new menu item for Culver City, featuring succulent, tender chunks of Stewed Beef, tasting like it’s been cooked for hours in a Red Wine and Tomato base. It’s tasty, but a touch salty. However, when eating it with some of the Polenta (which is undersalted) it balances things out, which I think is the point.
Bottarga Spaghetti (Dry Sardinian Mullet Roe, Garlic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil):
Finally their Bottarga Spaghetti arrives. It is as good as @Haeldaur mentioned: This perfect balance of ocean brininess with deep flavors from the Sardinian Mullet Roe, mixing with the wonderful Handmade Spaghetti (cooked just right) and enough Garlic and Extra Virgin Olive Oil to make you want to devour the entire plate before you even realize it. Delicious!
You serve yourself for water and utensils, but they are great at bussing and cleaning the tables quickly, and everyone seems really friendly and cheerful. Prices range from $9.75 - $14.95 for their Pastas.
Pasta Sisters (Culver City) is still very much a casual spot like its original location, where you order at the counter, and grab a table after. However with the new Culver City location, it’s much brighter, spacious with plenty of tables and in a beautiful, bright setting. But more importantly, with the expansion, the new flagship location is putting out outstanding Handmade Pastas and stunning, delicious Handcrafted Sauces that tastes just as good if not better than the original location, and with the same prices (no Westside markup).
We are still craving their mouth-wateringly delicious Bolognese Tagliatelle, their Pesto Gnocchi and Bottarga Spaghetti (and their Porcini Mushroom Pappardelle and Clams Spaghetti) hours later. We’ve just gained another excellent Handmade Pasta spot and L.A. is better for it.
Pasta Sisters (Culver City)
3280 Helms Ave.
Culver City, CA 90232