A Pasta Family's Flagship Arrives on the Westside - The Delightful Handmade Pastas of Pasta Sisters (Culver City) [Thoughts + Pics]

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. :slight_smile:

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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.

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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. :slight_smile:

Complimentary Bread:

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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:

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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! :blush:

Roasted Broccoli:

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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.

Pesto Gnocchi:

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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! :slight_smile:

Clams Spaghetti:

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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.

Bolognese Tagliatelle:

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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. :blush:

And when combined with the Handmade Tagliatelle Pasta, slightly thicker than Spaghetti, and it’s this perfect match of flavors! SO GOOD! :heart:

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. :slight_smile:

2nd Visit:

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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):

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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.

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Lasagna (Homemade Pasta Sheets, Bolognese Sauce, Silky Besciamella, Parmigiano Cheese):

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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. :wink: 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.

Garden Salad:

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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):

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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):

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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. :heart: Delicious! :blush:

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. :slight_smile: 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

https://www.pastasisters.com/culver-city

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New space looks really nice. Are they serving wine? The old space had a wine license so wondering if they were able to take over the license.

Interesting that you mention about the portions getting larger because based on the pictures, it sure looks like the portions have gotten smaller than what I recall. Especially that clam spaghetti looks really small.

Hi @tailbacku,

Yah the new space is nice. :slight_smile: They are not serving wine yet, because the license hasn’t come through yet (but hopefully soon).

About the portions, yah that’s just my camera I think. :sweat_smile: As you “unfold” the pastas that are swirled, you’ll definitely notice the portion size; it’s definitely not smaller. Thanks.

Any idea if they allow BYOB?

that uh, doesn’t bode well for the old shop?

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I was also there today! The space is much more open and light, I sat in the front patio (no photo because there were too many people). The photos above are of the back patio, which seems like a nice place to get together with friends on a summer evening.

I had spaghetti bottarga. Unfortunately, I forgot my standard “no garlic, please”. I am very sensitive to garlic, so it interfered with my enjoyment. I could only eat a few bites, but I thought the pasta itself had a lovely texture.

FTC Confession: I brought Maldon salt with me, to use a tiny pinch or two to bring out the flavors.

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The secret of PS’s success isn’t because Sergio is necessarily in the kitchen all the time. If you look at the way the owners have always run their old location (open kitchen), the line cooks aren’t blood-related family. They’re well-trained employees using simple solid cooking methods with great starting ingredients.

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:scream: :exploding_head: :spaghetti:
You always out-do yourself every time, @Chowseeker1999! I just finished a session at the gym, and nothing sounds or looks better than delicious and amazing pasta. Pasta Sisters is always a delight…so glad their new location is up to par.
It’s too bad that I almost never find myself in that neck of the woods…or maybe it’s a good thing because I would probably eat there almost every day…and would need to hit the gym to make up for it.
I hope the old location remains just as good.

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I took a walk around (after dinner elsewhere on Monday night), trying to decide if I wanted to bring a group of 7 there on Tuesday. The no booze and no rezzies killed it for that group.
I was happy to see the Westside porch covered - it used to be impossible to get enough heaters to keep it warm there back in Bucato days. But, I gotta say, the whole space(s) just sucks as it did when Bucato was there. I’m sure the food is going to be fine but going with more than 1 or 2 will remain unpleasant, IMHO.

I don’t think so. The owners are nice, and it seemed to me it would be very easy to seat a party of seven. I’m sure if you called ahead and let them know, they would be accommodating. Not a reservation, per se, but giving them a heads up?

And there are plenty of four-tops, so I don’t think it would unpleasant for parties of more than one or two. The back patio has a two tables that could easily be pushed together to seat your party. (See my photos above.)

PS fare, to me, has always been more of a solid takeout option rather than a celebratory sit-down feast anyways.

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Nowadays, I think there’s only two places I really target for pasta.

Bulgarini and Cento Pasta Bar.

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Thanks @attran99. :slight_smile: Yah, in some ways I don’t like that it’s gotten closer and easier for me to visit! :stuck_out_tongue: Please report back if you go to their original location, hopefully it’s as good as before.

Hi @CiaoBob,

Yah, the lack of reservations is unfortunate, but if nothing else for lunch it’s quick enough (there were only maybe 4 people ahead of us in line), and plenty of tables.

They also have tables that can seat 6 easily and during lunch those were open throughout our meal. Not sure how dinner will be though.

I have eaten at the Mid City Pasta Sisters when none of the family was present and I am here to say it was just as good. Speaking with the staff, they are all locals and don’t forget it is managed by a very friendly and funny woman from Rome. And no she won’t make you cacio e pepe! The quality is intact at least from my visits.

There are random times when I crave that bolognese. You combine that taste with the price and the fact that everyone who works there are sweethearts, its one of my favorite things ever. Yes I am simple!

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Given the way the world is, we could use more simple… :slight_smile:

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Yah I agree @J_L. With the new Culver City location (with more tables, pleasant dining areas, larger kitchen / faster turnaround), I could see it as a great place to stop in for lunch as well. :slight_smile:

Thanks so much for this report!! I have yet to make it down there! Although I see myself making myself down there often, I am most excited about that grab and go deli and bakery case! More often than not I run into the current location and prep the pastas and sauces at home. But with the lines out the door at the other location, I always felt bad cutting in line of those ordering to get my to do items.

–Dommy!

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Hit Pasta Sisters Culver CIty for lunch yesterday and I don’t think business will be a problem lol. The line was to the door when I got there around 12:45, and it took almost an hour to get my food. They were so slammed they ended up subbing papardelle for tagliatelle just so I could eat!

Pasta was cooked perfectly with just the right amount of chew. The bolognese was excellent – I get why @JeetKuneBao craves it.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/Ml8gMa25fdRTYQve2

They also bake a bunch of things in-house. Here’s the complimentary focaccia they gave out to tide people over until their food arrived.

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I also picked up some of their sweet onion focaccia for later. Both it and the tomato garlic variety looked too beautiful to resist.

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This was my first experience with Pasta Sisters, and despite the wait, I will certainly be back. I’m already planning a Sunday visit for their carbonara special!

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My fellow FTC’ers don’t forget the desserts!!!

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