Sunday is National Pasta Day. How will you celebrate?
Pop quiz: How many pasta shapes are there? Twenty-four? A hundred?
Not quite. Try more than 600.
It’s no wonder pasta is such a favorite food all over the world.
Sunday is National Pasta Day. According to nationalpastaday.com, (yes, there’s a website dedicated to the holiday), pasta is an ancient food that probably originated in Asia, but how it was brought to the western world is unclear since there are references dating back before Marco Polo’s trip to Asia.
Today, you can discover pasta in any grocery store and likely your favorite restaurant. So, we’ve put together a list of great local restaurants that will serve up authentic Italian pasta.
Now for the bad news: Most of these restaurants are actually closed on Sundays, so if you don’t want to make your own pasta dishes at home, you’ll have to celebrate early (or late).
Petrella's Italian Cafe
Where: 2174 W. Nine Mile Road, Pensacola
When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Petrella's Italian Cafe runs deep in Pensacola and Alabama history. The restaurant is named after Italian immigrants Premetta and Dominick Petrella, who arrived in New York in about 1910 and met in Birmingham, Alabama, before settling in Pensacola before 1930. Premetta went on to open Pete's Fish Market on T Street.
Fast forward to today, Petrella's has been a Pensacola name for more than 20 years. You can find delicious housemade sauces to smother your handcrafted plates of pasta, seafood and more. Monday nights, grab all-you-can-eat spaghetti and meatballs and then come back Wednesday for lasagna night.
Bonelli's Cafe Italia
Where: 1217 N. Ninth Ave., Pensacola
When: 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; closed Monday and Tuesday
Bonelli's is quintessential "if you know, you know" Pensacola dining. It's front and center on Ninth Avenue in an unassuming building you've probably driven past countless times. Bonelli's popularity transcends its quaint aesthetic, which is why the restaurant encourages reservations ahead of time.
Outside has illuminated seating sometimes coupled with live music, played at an appropriate volume. Once food is served, you'll find delicious homestyle food, great desserts and great portion sizes. Bonelli's will also accommodate special requests. Bring in your favorite gluten-free pasta and they'll cook it for you.
V Paul's Italian Ristorante
Where: 29 Palafox Place, Pensacola
When: 5 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 5 to 9:30 p.m. Friday to Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday
Located in the heart of downtown Pensacola, V Paul's Italian Ristorante offers authentic Italian food with a great view of Palafox Street. Here you can find all of your favorite Italian dishes and a few creative dishes from the restaurant itself. There's also an extensive wine menu with happy hours and specials for wine Wednesday. And if that's not enough, you can catch monthly wine tasting events, too.
Lillo's Tuscan Grille
Where: 51 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze
When: 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday; 3 to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday; closed Sunday and Monday
Those who have been around the block a few times might remember Lillo's Tuscan Grille in Gulf Breeze more than two decades ago, but now the restaurant is back across the bridge. Lillo's offers a casual but intimate dining experience with loads of drink specials and great authentic Italian food. It's also the only place on the list that offers patio dining with a view of the bay.
New Yorker Deli
Where: 3001 E. Cervantes St., Pensacola
When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday; closed Sunday
At a time when it feels like many local restaurants stick to smaller menus, New Yorker Deli isn't afraid to do it all, and do it really, really well. Established in 1991, this is another restaurant tucked inside a quaint home-like building, where it serves up pizza, pasta, salads and quality subs like no other. If you don't have time to dine in, you can do curbside delivery.
Angelena's Ristorante Italiano
Where: 101 E. Intendencia St., Pensacola
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday; 5 to 10 p.m. Friday to Saturday; closed Sunday
The newest kid on the block, but probably the one that needs the least introduction, Angelena's Ristorante Italiano is owned and operated by celebrity chef James Briscione and his wife, Brooke Parkhurst. Angelena's is named after Giatano Giardina, a Sicilian immigrant, and his wife Angelena, who relocated to Pensacola and became merchants who supplied produce to fine-dining establishments in downtown Pensacola in the 1880s.
Briscione serves up classic Italian cuisine with a Southern touch, handmade pastas and thoughtfully prepared vegetables with fresh Gulf seafood. Parkhurst, Angelena's wine director, curates the extensive Italian wine list, highlighting wines from 13 different Italian wine-growing regions to complement every dish.