Fantastic Fast-Casual Pasta - Uovo (Santa Monica) [Thoughts + Pics]


I’d been trying to avoid white carbs this week, but since @CiaoBob beckoned (and raved about Uovo), off we went. :wink: :slight_smile:

I remember reading about Uovo on Eater a while back, and was curious about it, but hearing about them flying in their Handmade Pasta (from Italy, overnight(!)), seemed more like a gimmick than anything, so we decided to wait for early reports.

Chatting with the server, it looks like Uovo opened by the co-founder of Sugarfish, and when you see the layout (bar seating, quick fired-up dishes, simple decor), it all makes sense.

While not as simplified as Sugarfish’s menu, Uovo offers a variety of Pastas and 3 Sides (although only 2 Sides are actually available right now, as the kitchen is “still learning” some of the preparations) and that’s it.

We chat with the manager who explains that indeed, they have their Pastas made by hand in Italy and then flown overnight to their store. However, the wording and advertising seems a bit misleading: They mention it’s “prepared fresh daily,” but when we asked the manager how they can afford to overnight Pasta from Italy every single day, he laughed and said, “No, no, we don’t ship it every day from Italy.” So I guess they ship it sometimes, and it rests and perhaps they mean the cook the Pasta “fresh daily”? (which seems obvious and sounds more like marketing noise than anything.)

But the proof was in the cooking. We invited a couple of our friends to join us (and reduce the white carb intake!) :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

Tagliatelle al Ragú (Original “Bolognese” Recipe, Made Without Cheese, Milk or Cream):

As @paranoidgarliclover said, this dish arrives looking really simple, like a mound of Pasta with some Meat Sauce thrown on top. But after mixing it up thoroughly…

and taking a bite:

Wow, this is delicious! :blush:

The Handmade Pasta is definitely the star here: There’s a good mouthfeel and chew, even though they are serving the Egg-based Pasta (just Flour, Egg, Salt), it’s cooked al dente and has a great texture.

The Bolognese is meaty, nicely savory and for a “quick / casual” Pasta Bar? This is excellent! :slight_smile:

However, really digging into the finer details, when comparing it to the best-of-the-best, we all felt it wasn’t as compelling as Pasta Sisters or Bulgarini’s outstanding versions. Still this was quite tasty. :slight_smile:

Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (Pecorino and Black Pepper – “a salt forward dish”):

@paranoidgarliclover that is indeed a hilarious menu description about being “salt forward.” :smile:

When this was plated, we saw the chef add pre-packaged Black Pepper to this dish. :frowning: Does it have to be fresh cracked Black Pepper? Perhaps not, but it felt like it might elevate this dish a bit more, especially since Black Pepper is one of the key ingredients here.

This was OK: The Tonnarelli Pasta itself had a great mouthfeel and bite. This was saltier than you might expect, but not overbearing at all actually. The creaminess helped to mitigate that, but it lacked the punch of Black Pepper we were hoping for.

Ravioli di Ricotta (Ricotta Ravioli in Pomodoro Sauce):

Where all their other Pastas were excellent, the Ravioli were completely overcooked. :sob: They literally disintegrated when we all took a bite, totally mushy. :frowning:

I’ll chalk it up to them still learning the ropes perhaps, but these were awful. The actual Pomodoro Sauce was fine, with a nice acidity from the Tomatoes but still balanced.

Tortellini in Brodo (Handmade Meat Tortellini in a Broth of Vegetable, Chicken & Beef):

One of the more unique dishes on the menu, their Handmade Tortellini is served in a delicate Broth. After the Ravioli, we were worried how this might turn out (sitting in a Broth), but thankfully there were no issues:

The Handmade Tortellini were perfectly cooked, with a nice density and al dente quality. The Ground Pork filling was tasty, but it was the combination of the Tortellini with a sip of the Vegetable, Chicken & Beef Broth that really made this dish sing. We all loved the Broth, it was so clean and perfectly seasoned, just enough salinity, fragrant, and enjoyable. Very good! :blush:

Broccolini al Forno (Roasted Broccolini):

Really good Roasted Broccolini. Totally agree with @paranoidgarliclover. It had a deeply savory taste, perfectly cooked and only lightly charred (not overly burnt like some restaurants). :slight_smile:

Cavolfiori al Forno (Roasted Cauliflower (with Red Chili Pepper)):

But their Roasted Cauliflower was even better in some ways! Initially the Roasted Cauliflower was nicely seared and had some caramelization (great), but then taking a bite with a clove of the Roasted Garlic and you got this amazing combination of flavors. Then dabbing the Roasted Cauliflower with the Garlic in some of the Red Chili Pepper Oil on the bottom and it really took off.

Tonnarelli all’Amatriciana (Imported Tomatoes, Pecorino, Onion, Guanciale & Red Chili Pepper):

But then we got to @CiaoBob’s recommendation. The Tonnarelli all’Amatriciana was indeed outstanding! :blush: There’s the perfectly cooked Handmade Pasta, the just barely there Tomato Sauce and Onions and the funk of Pecorino. But it’s that Guanciale (Pork Cheeks) that really elevates this dish.

There were a few crispy bites of the Guanciale in there (some pieces were just cooked / soft, but it was also tasty), and each bite added some delicious porkiness to the rest of the dish. For a fast casual place this was very, very good! And my favorite Pasta we tried on the menu. :heart:

Service is OK, it’s definitely fast-casual, but the servers were attentive and checking in on us (and tables around us) regularly. Pastas run from $14 - 16 (+tax and mandatory 16% service charge), so roughly $19 per dish of Pasta.

The portions were very fair, and they felt about the same as Pasta Sisters, but as a reality check, we decided to do a quick taste test, so off on the 10 Freeway we went…

Pasta Sisters

As an FYI, one of the owners mentioned that they should be opening up the new Pasta Sisters on the Westside before the end of the year (can’t wait!). :slight_smile:

Bolognese Tagliatelle:

While this looked “small,” it’s actually quite tightly packed and stacked “tall,” so when you unravel it on the plate, it was more than the portion at Uovo, maybe 10 - 20% more. Taking a bite…

The deep, amazing balance of flavors. There’s more soul to Pasta Sisters Bolognese. It is SO GOOD! :blush: It tastes like a grandma’s recipe. :slight_smile:

Clams Spaghetti (Fresh Clams, Spaghetti, Garlic, Olive Oil):

Looks like Pasta Sisters added a Vongole Pasta dish to the menu! This looked strangely dry at first, but unspooling the Pasta, it was sufficiently moist and wet, and perfectly cooked as well. Briny, fragrant, delicious. A pretty decent Vongole! :slight_smile:

In terms of pure flavor (and no other factors), Uovo is very tasty, but it doesn’t reach the heights of places like Pasta Sisters, Felix, and other Pasta bastions.

The Bolognese is just better at Pasta Sisters (and we loved Cento’s version, as well as Felix’s version also). The All’Amatriciana at Felix has a deeper, stunning porcine element that is superior to Uovo, but it’s more expensive of course. Leo Bulgarini’s Pastas & Sauces have more soul and depth as well.

However, when considering geography and convenience, and quickness (at least for Lunch, there was no wait, and our Pastas arrived within minutes of ordering), Uovo is a real winner: Fast-Casual Handmade Pastas, with great Sauces and Flavors and in a much more convenient location for us (and others in the area). It might not reach the heights of the city’s best, but it’s quite enjoyable and for Lunchtime Pasta? It’s a game changer. :slight_smile:

1320 2nd Street, Ste. A
Santa Monica CA 90401
Tel: (310) 425-0064


IMHO, this is a very apt way to compare to Pasta Sisters vs. Uovo. Pasta Sister feels like you’re eating at someone’s home (and I don’t mean the ambiance); Uovo has a (much) more “commercial” feel to its prep. I do think Pasta Sisters bolongese has a greater depth of flavor but, sometimes, I don’t mind a light prep (Uovo’s food didn’t make me feel like taking a nap afterward).

I really liked the cacio e pepe at Hostaria del Piccolo (and much more than the one at Uovo). But one at Uovo hits the spot well enough for me. :slight_smile: Agree that the ragu is way better.

Only tried Bulgarini’s pasta once maybe 2 yrs ago. Really liked it, but I actually Uovo better (but would place Pasta Sisters ahead of both).

Lots of people ordered the ravioli last night. Hope it was better than yours! :frowning:

Glad you liked the broccolini!!! :slight_smile: Will have to try the cauliflower next time.


Great report, as always. The tortellini en brodo looks sounds wonderful. My son really likes that dish, it’s not very commonly found at restaurants. I’ll probably take him to Uovo as soon as the weather cools off a bit (and hopefully the crowds ease up a bit).


I would like the tortellini in brodo . Maybe it’s time to turn back the clock in the food world . Simply hard food to cook with great flavor . Unpretentious with great taste . Stacking , overdressed plates , showmanship just gets in the way for me . That dish says it all.


Good / reasonable wines available by the glass? For me that is a key element of a pasta meal.


Thanks @paranoidgarliclover. Yah, overall for a lunch pasta spot? I think Uovo stacks up really well against what’s available - it’s very fast, decent QPR, good quality Pasta & Sauces, just not the best, but sometimes you don’t have time to drive out to the better places (in this case, Uovo on the Westside is awesome for convenience). :slight_smile:

Definitely try the Cauliflower next time, and thanks for the heads up on Hostaria del Piccolo’s Cacio e Pepe. :slight_smile:


Thanks @Bookwich. :slight_smile: Yah I really liked the Tortellini en Brodo, hope you get a chance to try it and let me know what you think. For lunch it was only about 50% full? (We didn’t have to wait, but @paranoidgarliclover’s visit at dinner sounds like it’s much more busy.)


Hi @DTLAeater,

So far they have:

Pinot Gregio$ 7 | 28
Bertani Valente

Vermentino$ 9 | 36

Sauvignon Blanc$ 11 | 44
Torre Rosazza

Chardonnay$ 14 | 56

Chianti Superiore$ 8 | 32
Castel Trebbio

Barbera D’Alba$ 10 | 40
Pio Cesare

Corvina Blend$ 12 | 48
Bertani Secco

Super Tuscan$ 16 | 64
Grattamacco Bolgheri Rosso

I’m not a wine expert, so I leave that up to you and others to decide if that’s a good deal or not. Thanks.


All I know is if kazunori or this uovo joint opened up in studio city, it would print money for the owner.

I mean Novo Cafe is fine…but this sounds amazing.


Hi @Ns1,

Yah I agree. :slight_smile: They’ve taken lessons learned from Sugarfish and in terms of relative quality (Sugarfish sushi vs. best sushi, compared to Uovo pasta vs. best pasta), I’d say Uovo is performing much better. Just good quality, tasty sauces (sans the ravioli).




I believe both branches have been closed for some time.


Yes, was about to write that to @Chowseeker1999. SaMo one has been closed for 2 yrs already. :frowning: Which is why I need to get my cacio e pepe elsewhere… ::sigh::


I am also not a wine expert, but freaking 800 Degrees charges $12 for a glass of sickeningly sweet, basically undrinkable Chardonnay, so I would say Uovo is a good deal. :wink:


will check out uovo eventually but not jumping at it. If it were in west Hollywood would def go much more quickly. Judging from the reports I will be hitting pasta sisters for a more casual and looking forward to my sat night res at Felix this weekend :smiley: (4th visit)


Hi @skramzlife,

Yah. It’s not worth driving halfway around town for, but if you were in the neighborhood, it’s definitely worth considering if you were in the mood for quality pasta for lunch. :wink: Hope you have a good visit to Felix & Pasta Sisters. :slight_smile:


Oh snap, I completely missed your review. I’ll post a link to mine here.

The Amatriciana was our favorite too. Completely agree re the wonderfully porky guancale.

Also agree 100% about the cacio e pepe’s needing more of a pepper punch. And maybe a little more cheese?

Such a bummer reading that the raviolis were overcooked. They looked so good on the plate. I was looking forward to trying them.

We totally agree re the cauliflower. As great as the broccolini was – and it was great – the cauliflower was even more amazing.


Hi @Bigmouth,

Nice thoughts! Glad you liked Uovo. Yah it’s a really nice addition to the area. :slight_smile:


Went here - well, a Bang Bang with HiHo next door - Saturday night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

We had the Amatriciana and the Tagliatelle. Both hit the spot.

I don’t know that I would make a drive, specifically, for this, but certainly when in the ‘hood I’ll swing by.