In seeking out the best non-chain restaurant pasta dish in every state and Washington, D.C., the first thing we had to do was set the parameters for what constitutes a pasta dish. We stuck with dishes that hewed to Italian sensibilities (You can certainly consider ramen to be a pasta dish, but that’s a whole other ranking), and the pasta itself had to be the primary focus; we didn’t consider risotto to be a pasta dish, and dishes that are served alongside pasta, like chicken parm or veal saltimbocca, weren’t considered either. With these dishes, pasta is the star of the show.
In our list you’ll find tortellini, spaghetti chitarra, pappardelle, linguine, lasagna agnolotti, squid ink spaghetti, gnocchi, ravioli, strozzapretti, and many more of the countless pasta styles found in Italy. Some are perfect interpretations of traditional dishes, some are ingenious inventions of creative chefs. But at the end of the day, it proves one thing: No matter where you are, an amazing plate of pasta isn’t too far away.
Chef Doug Psaltis’ RPM Italian had such great success in Chicago that the team decided to open in D.C., and it’s apparently true that you can capture lightning in a bottle twice. This classy and upscale Italian restaurant really excels in the housemade pasta department, and the classics are nothing short of perfect. Just try the carbonara; it’s made the traditional way (with no cream), and like all the best carbonaras do, it proves that combining fresh spaghetti with egg yolk, crispy pancetta, and black pepper can be the culinary equivalent of alchemy when done with skill and attention to detail.