Where to Go When a Big Bowl of Pasta Is the Only Thing That Will Make You Feel Better

There's not a whole lot that can't be fixed by a big serve of carbs.
Ellie Grounds
October 05, 2017

Where to Go When a Big Bowl of Pasta Is the Only Thing That Will Make You Feel Better

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There's not a whole lot that can't be fixed by a big serve of carbs.

There's not a whole lot that can't be fixed with a big serve of carbs, especially when that involves diving headfirst into a generous bowl of pasta. A slurp of spaghetti or forkful of fettuccine and life suddenly looks very sweet indeed.

So we've teamed up with American Express to pick out some of Brisbane's finest pasta-slinging spots — especially the ones where you can easily tap that Amex of yours — to ensure no gnocchi craving ever goes unanswered again. Whether you're recovering from a big night or down in the dumps after a subpar day at work, here are the best places to go when a big bowl of pasta is the only thing that will bring you back to life.

Got yourself in another dining situation and need some guidance? Whatever it is, we know a place. Visit The Shortlist and we'll sort you out.

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    We’ve all seen it on Instagram — the pasta served in a wheel of cheese. If you’ve been dying to try it out (like everyone else in Brisbane), then Il Verde is the place to go. Make a booking for a Tuesday or a Thursday, and you and your fellow fettuccine-fiend friends can have your pasta or gnocchi stirred up in a big, melty wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano and dished right onto your plate. For $45, you also get a glass of wine and a dessert, so wear your stretchy pants.

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  • 7

    If it’s fine dining you’re after, Otto Ristorante beckons. Located in the prestigious 480 Queen Street building with a stunning view of the Brisbane River and Story Bridge, Otto is an experience like no other. Good luck making a decision when it comes to choosing a pasta, but take solace in knowing that you won’t choose a bad one — between the Moreton Bay blue swimmer crab and mascarpone-filled ravioli with black garlic crema and the gnocchi with braised goat, stinging nettles, goats’ curd and gremolata, you’re in for a treat regardless of what you choose. Naturally, there’s a mighty nice wine list, as well as five different types of spritz.

    Image: Nikki To.

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  • 6
    Italian Street Kitchen

    The Italian maestros from Sydney’s Italian Street Kitchen have come to Brisbane, bringing their own special blend of relaxed and informal dining to Gasworks Plaza. Their Sydney venue is inspired by the romance and theatre of food, and you can expect your senses to be similarly inundated at the Brisbane joint. The huge open kitchen allows you to spy on the chefs, who make fresh pasta daily and, following Italian tradition, dry it naturally. Options range from the simple yet satisfying fusilli with Napoli sauce to a fresh marinara bianca (and everything in between). If you’re a fan of béchamel, you’re in luck — the lasagne, oven-baked gnocchi and oven-baked cannelloni all feature the creamy sauce.

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  • 5

    The first thing you’ll notice about Popolo is the view. Located in the River Quay precinct down on South Bank’s riverfront, the restaurant has refined the art of boat-watching and wine-drinking. With little touches like blankets personally brought out to you on particularly chilly nights, its staff are also attentive to your every request. The name Popolo means ‘the people’, which makes sense because the dishes are designed to share — so the more, the merrier. Pasta-wise, they’ve got wholesome comfort food down pat: there’s strozzapreti with braised Wagyu ragu, pumpkin and ricotta ravioli with burnt sage butter, and wild mushroom lasagne. 

    Image: Anwyn Howarth.

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  • 4

    A James Street mainstay, Bucci serves up flavoursome dishes that, while a little bit on the exxy side, definitely deliver bang for buck. Seafood shines here. The linguine al granchio (Fraser Island spanner crab, chilli, parsley and lemon tossed with linguine) is light and full of flavour, while the tagliolini limone e vongole (Cloudy Bay diamond shell clams and local pipis steamed with white wine, chilli and cherry tomatoes) is also to die for. For the carnivores, there’s a wild boar-lognaise with porcini, smoked speck and red wine, and vegos have plenty of options, including the Bucci faggotini di zucca (a classic roasted pumpkin and sage butter dish).

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  • 3

    Casa Nostra Ristorante is more than just another pasta and pizza joint. The menu has been crafted by head chef and owner Biagio Biuso to showcase his Sicilian heritage and his family’s passion for fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Seafood takes the front seat, so the fettuccine served with prawns, mussels, vongole, calamari and scampi and the agnolotti pasta filled with lobster and béchamel are the shining stars. The eight-page drinks list is brimming with Italian and local drops, and there’s even a breakdown of wines by colour and region, so you can bluff your way through it. 

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  • 2

    Coppa Spuntino is a favourite among CBD workers. The Italian watering hole was named best wine bar by Australian Bartender Magazine in 2015, and pulls no punches when it comes to food and drinks. There are pasta options galore to satiate your hunger — from gnocchi with kale, walnut and truffle to sand crab and prawn linguini or a duck pappardelle. And if your childhood carbonara memories are calling, try their modern take, which uses cotechino, an Italian pork sausage. What’s more, they deliver, so if you’re at home and unable to get out of your Uggs, Uber Eats and Deliveroo have got your back.

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  • 1

    Tartufo is a Brisbane institution. Owner Tony Percuoco hails from Naples and designed the menu to reflect his hometown and the surrounding regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Abruzzo. In traditional style, the pastas are entrée-size, designed to be eaten before the secondi (main course). All the pasta is made in-house and matched to a topping — mafalde for braised rabbit, linguine for seafood and rigatoni for Italian pork sausage. The dishes are so well executed that you can still remember how each tastes, even after a few glasses of smooth Italian vino and a dash of Sicilian dessert wine. If you’re left wanting more, the nine-course degustation is waiting for you on your return.


    As you drink and dine with your American Express, reap all the sweet rewards of being a Card Member. Explore the many ways American Express has your back here.

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