Whether you dine at an exquisite Michelin-starred establishment or a tiny family-owned Italian restaurant, pasta always makes for good order. The endless variety of sauces, ingredients, and pasta types make this dish one of the most popular and beloved choices. We tasted a myriad of spaghetti, macaroni, and ravioli prepared by dozens of chefs to see who makes it better. Read on to learn where to have the best pasta in Macau.
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The Manor is the signature restaurant of The St. Regis Macao, classy yet not too expensive. Before chef Michele Dell’Aquila took charge of the kitchen here, it was mainly known for steaks, Cha Gordo, and an impressive oysters selection. The Italian chef with extensive expertise in European cuisine brought his bold vision to the restaurant, updated a la carte with original creations, and attracted more guests. As a result, it’s not easy to book a table even for lunch these days–you would need to call in advance.
Among Chef Michele’s creations are the limited edition series, Stories of the Sea, focused on all the best that the oceans can bring to our table. There are also the Let’s Do Lunch series, Let’s Do a Luxe Lunch, Celebrate Sustainability, and Long and Short of It sets. Chef’s signature style is meticulously researching the finest ingredients worldwide and inventing recipes that would respect the ingredient’s unique flavor, adding elements that would compliment but not overpower the key ones.
One of the Stories of The Sea Edition featured a pasta dish that every lover of intense seafood flavors would appreciate. This dish was so well-received that it smoothly migrated to a la carte. It’s the sea urchin fusilli with red mullet bottarga (or white truffle of the fish world, as the chef refers to it), and arugula ginger emulsion. This pasta is made with fusilli Gentile, a brand of artisanal pasta from Campania with more than two centuries of history. Its texture is springy yet not chewy, when cooked to perfect al dente, it does stand out for its quality. Creamy uni sauce leaves a pleasant aftertaste complemented by salty bottarga.
Caffé B Macau
A charming Italian restaurant with a magnificent view of Nam Van Lake, Caffé B Macau has gained a loyal base of patrons who wouldn’t trade dinner here to any other spot in Macau. The first floor is laid-back while the second one is more suitable for private dinners and romantic dates. Whichever table you chose, the dining experience would remain brilliant, mainly thanks to Chef Miki. Although from Japan, he is fluent in Italian and stands on an equal footing with the chefs who were born and raised in Italy and have passata and balsamico running through their veins.
If you visit Caffé B for lunch, don’t miss out on the lunch sets with excellent value for money. A two-course set can be a starter or soup with pasta or main course or a more substantial pasta and main course combo. When having lunch, we often opt for lasagna Bolognese, a timeless Italian dish. The dinner menu contains many tempting primo piatto options, such as tagliatelle carbonara with crab and asparagus, black ink ravioli with lobster and cuttlefish, or tagliolini with seafood ragu, saffron, and cherry tomato.
Occasionally, Caffé B introduces seasonal dishes (we still can’t forget their truffle raviolone with spinach, ricotta, and runny egg yolk). You can ask for freshly shaved truffles for an extra charge on your dish of choice.
Vida Rica Restaurant
Vida Rica Restaurant at Mandarin Oriental, Macau, is an ideal example of a place that serves excellent Western and Chinese food, beautifully presented and not overpriced. Even if you come in a large group of co-diners with food preferences that have nothing in common, this spot would save your evening from upsetting arguments over what to order.
Although Vida Rica is not an Italian restaurant, its chef de cuisine Marco de Boni certainly is Italian, and, naturally, he knows his pasta. Chef Marco enjoys making it from scratch. This is exactly how he cooks his mind-blowing lobster tagliatelle. The sauce based on lobster shell broth with garlic, chili, and tomato gives the pasta its sumptuous seafood taste. Fresh pasta with delicate lobster bits is that kind of dish that you’d come back to again and again.
Watch out for Vida Rica’s themed promotions, such as the pasta bar they organized twice, a must-visit especially for Italian food lovers.
Located in NAPE, Antica Trattoria has been in Macau since 2003, serving home-style Italian food in a cozy setting. Its menu is rather extensive and offers traditional Italian dishes and also ones with Portuguese and Macanese twists. Moreover, Antica’s Syndicate bar is one of the best in town for original cocktails. From time to time, Antica Trattoria hosts live music nights and other cool events. Add excellent service attested by the Hospitality Team of the Year 2019 award by The Bar Awards Hong Kong and Macau, and be confident that your dinner here would be more than satisfying.
Teamed up with the chef, Bruno often comes up with creative solutions that they introduce to the menu. One of the recent dishes they came up with is fusilli vegano, a 100% plant-based pasta. Fusilli is made with chickpeas and without egg yolk, then cooked with an ensemble of vegetables, green peas, zucchini, mushrooms in a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce. When you crave something more traditional, choose a good old oven-baked lasagna. For Macanese-inspired flavors, go for the seafood linguini in curry sauce.
Also read: Authentically Italian: Antica Trattoria
Amid eateries equally popular among locals and foreigners, especially for brunch and lunch, Common Table holds a strong position. Designed as a common neighborhood place to get together and eat simple but delicious food, Common Table attracts people from all over Macau, not just Taipa. The secret is probably the combination of reasonable prices, the non-pretentious menu where all the dishes are easy to understand and a pleasure to eat, and stylish casual design. On the other hand, Common Table’s cooking and service standards are as high as fine-dining establishments.
When it comes to pasta, there is plenty to choose from–vegetarian fresh basil tomato spaghetti, classic carbonara, cajun chicken with tomato spaghetti and arugula, Mediterranean pesto pasta with arugula and cherry tomatoes. All of the dishes are made with flavorful ingredients that look colorful and appetizing on the plate. We especially love Common Table’s seafood spaghetti with shrimps, clams, and squid.
Jam & Butter
Well-known by all One Oasis residential complex tenants and their neighbors all over Coloane, Jam & Butter is a humble bakery with heavenly pastries and a variety of meals for all-day dining. On a sunny day, its alfresco area is often occupied by groups of friends enjoying their coffee and in-house-made food. From breakfasts to meal sets, healthy bowls, and delectable cakes, Jam & Butter serves simple, home-style dishes.
Remarkably, the pasta they serve is made from scratch. Choose from pasta with scallops and pesto sauce, squid ink with shrimp, spinach pasta with chicken fillet with alfredo sauce, or pasta with an Asian twist, tuna with Tom Yam sauce. We can’t get enough of the squid ink spaghetti with rich black sauce, grilled shrimps, shallots, and cherry tomatoes. The most expensive one costs only MOP $90, and every pasta order includes a small coffee or tea.
Ask about a decent casual Italian restaurant, and you’ll likely hear Pronto at Wynn Palace, a modern Italian cafeteria with colorful decor. When the weather is nice, it’s worth enjoying a meal on the alfresco terrace surrounded by greenery. Pronto often receives compliments for the pizza made in the wood-fired pizza oven. However, its pasta is equally buonissima.
From seafood options like linguine vongole to vegetarian baked pacchero pomodoro, all seven plates are cooked with absolute respect to Italian traditions. For starving diners, we’d strongly recommend the lasagna, a timeless Italian classic with Bolognese and bechamel sauces, parmesan, and mozzarella. The generous portion is full of flavor and goes great with a glass of Italian red. The wine price list will be a pleasant surprise too.
A charming cafe at Galaxy Macau, Cha Bei attracts visitors with its photogenic decor and cute cakes. It is inspired by teacups and hosts a fabulous teacup collection. The selection of both hot and cold tea drinks is rather extensive. But it is not all about the tea ceremony at Cha Bei. The kitchen team will impress you with their savory creations too.
Between healthy breakfasts and crunchy kale salads, there is one pasta dish on the menu that you don’t want to skip. We are talking about homemade tagliolini with sea urchin, uni cream sauce, and salmon roe, sprinkled with chives. The strong umami taste is the absolute dominant of this pasta. So if that’s what you love, this Asian-Italian fusion creation will likely blow your mind.
Casa Don Alfonso
Italian South-Western region Campania is home to the juiciest tomatoes, abundant seafood, delicious pizza, and other culinary pleasures. That makes it one of the world’s most sought-after gastronomy destinations. Moreover, it is where in 1890, the first Casa Don Alfonso restaurant was established. Over the years, it has grown from a family restaurant into an international family-owned business. Its Grand Lisboa branch offers an authentic Amalfi coast-Sorrentino dining experience, with the Italian south’s inherent hospitality and vibrant flavors. Add the Grand Lisboa’s largest wine collection in Asia to it, and a memorable dinner is inevitable.
What makes Don Alfonso’s food so flavorsome are the farm-sourced, organic, sustainable ingredients. From the widely complimented pizza Napoletana to all the pasta dishes. Even the simplest of the recipes, spaghetti Don Alfonso with fresh tomato sauce and basil, will please your tastebuds with rich flavors thanks to the carefully selected vegetables and herbs. All the restaurant’s primos deserve your attention, especially the signature ones–traditional Neapolitan cannelloni with pork and beef ragout and ravioli with veal and burrata cheese.
Ristorante Il Teatro
While Pronto at Wynn Palace is a casual place, there is another more refined restaurant across the bridge at Wynn Macau if you are looking for a more sophisticated setting. The elegant design with panoramic windows overlooking the Performance Lake with its dancing fountains adds fun and romance to Il Teatro. But all the assets mentioned above wouldn’t make a difference unless the dining experience is worth the visit. At Il Teatro, the kitchen team makes sure that all the ingredients sourced are the best on the market. Amalfi lemons, Sicilian octopus, Japanese king crab, and more flavorsome food are carefully selected to become delicious creations that will amuse the restaurant’s guests.
Do taste Il Teatro’s pasta to see how this concept is reflected in some of the most comforting Italian recipes. Cheese aficionados will enjoy four-cheese ravioli made with an assortment of the most delectable Italian cheeses: pecorino, parmesan, ricotta, and mascarpone. One of Il Teatro’s signature pasta is homemade seafood cavatelli with Dungeness and spanner crabs, Oscietra caviar, and crab bisque, an extravagant plate with the best products from the sea.
8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana
This list would be incomplete without Macau’s most renowned Italian restaurant. Boasting one Michelin star and world-famous Umberto Bombana as its chef-father, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana represents Italian traditions with a modern innovative twist. This is not your cozy Italian grandma-style spot, so get dressed up for the occasion and expect a sophisticated experience suitable for true gourmands.
After an extensive forced break, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana reopened in 2021 with a new chef Riccardo La Perna and a new menu. A la carte changes from time to time according to the seasonality and chef’s creativity. Whatever you chose, it will likely throw you off your feet for the balance of flavors, as well as elegant presentation. One of the most unforgettable dishes is their pasta with truffle, classic fall-winter favorite. To make taijarin, a ribbon pasta from Piedmonte, 40 egg yolk are used to give these thin, hand0cut noodles their distinctive richness. Topped with the luxurious Alba white truffle, this pasta is fantastic, especially when paired with a glass of refreshing white from Campania.
Photo credits: The St. Regis Macao, Caffé B, Common Table, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana, Ristorante Il Teatro, Casa Don Alfonso, Ksenia Kuzmina
This article was originally written by Ksenia Kuzmina in March 2021 and updated in January 2022.