HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >

Who makes a kick-ass Spaghetti Carbonara?

ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 11:09 AM

Any thoughts?

(And, yes, I did search and the latest posts were something like 5-8 years ago.)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Ciao Bob RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 11:25 AM

    Do not think it is on the regular menu but I know Madeo will make it upon request - call and ask first.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Ciao Bob
      ipsedixit RE: Ciao Bob Feb 18, 2013 11:40 AM

      One would think that just about any Italian place worth their guanciale can make this upon request ...

    2. Porthos RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 12:06 PM

      Not gonna lie. I do :)

      Restaurants won't use the quality of cheese the home cook can. The X factor is the quality of the egg.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Porthos
        aizan RE: Porthos Feb 18, 2013 01:39 PM

        recipe please!

        1. re: aizan
          Porthos RE: aizan Feb 18, 2013 02:36 PM

          I'm afraid it's just going to get kicked over to the home cooking board.

          No secret though. Standard recipe. I don't necessarily always use guanciale. Nice pancetta or even bacon will do. Surfas and Bay Cities carry guanciale if you want to stay true to the traditional recipe.

          Use the best eggs and cheese that you can find. I use a 50/50 mix of Pecorino and P. Reggiano (the 18-24 month aged stuff). Try to get eggs with a dark orange yolk if you can.

          Finish everything off the heat with a little pasta water. Top with shaved aged P.Reggiano or Pecorino.

          I like to use DeCecco brand spaghetti because it stays so al dente.

          1. re: aizan
            steve h. RE: aizan Feb 18, 2013 02:36 PM

            Roscioli in Rome makes the best carbonara. I eat there every year.

            Here's a link to a video I found on (Rome denizen) Katie Parla's website. Follow instructions religiously and you'll come close to the Roscioli experience. Quality cheeses, quality peppercorns and farm-fresh eggs go without saying. Pay particular attention to the size of the guanciale and the role the pasta water plays in both crisping/puffing the guanciale as well as "loosening" the pasta, cheese, egg mix.


            I'll take Porthos' Pepsi Challenge when it comes to carbonara. ;-)

            1. re: steve h.
              Porthos RE: steve h. Feb 18, 2013 02:47 PM

              Funny we posted at the same time. The devil is in the ingredients. It's hard for me to get eggs with such a wonderful dark orange yolk out here in LA. Even that $10/dozen farmer's market stuff doesnt' come close.

              The key to that video is the continuous adding of small amounts of pasta water and folding it in off the heat until they sauce becomes utterly creamy.

              The video doesn't tell you if they use only pecornio or a mix of pecornio and P.Reggiano though.

              I'd be happy to make my version for you the next time you're in town. Feel free to bring a block of 60 month old P. Reggiano from Roscioli for me to finish the pasta with. I'm almost done with mine ;-)

              1. re: Porthos
                steve h. RE: Porthos Feb 18, 2013 02:54 PM

                Yes to all you said. Once you source top-quality ingredients, the rest is all technique. I'll bring the cheese if you provide the wine.

                Deb and I are back to Rome next month. Timing is everything.

                Edited to add: I have a great egg source. It really makes a difference.

                1. re: steve h.
                  Porthos RE: steve h. Feb 18, 2013 03:01 PM

                  I have wine. :)

                  Enjoy Rome. Plan on taking a page from you and spending a few weeks there in a flat with a kitchen the next time I get back.

                  1. re: Porthos
                    steve h. RE: Porthos Feb 18, 2013 03:11 PM


        2. a213b RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 12:32 PM

          I've enjoyed it at Mozza quite a bit.

          1. nomnomnoms RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 01:05 PM

            My husband really liked the one from Ostera La Buca.

            1 Reply
            1. re: nomnomnoms
              BearCity RE: nomnomnoms Feb 19, 2013 02:18 PM

              Second Osteria La Buca. That is a really delicious carbonara. Ricotta croquettes w/ truffle honey are also a taste-gasm.

            2. n
              New Trial RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 02:06 PM

              Enoteca Drago does an exemplary one. The one at Drago Centro is good as well. Also, Superba offers a good variation using bucatini.

              1. k
                kanohli RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 06:21 PM

                Eatalian in Gardena

                1. r
                  ronsilverado RE: ipsedixit Feb 18, 2013 06:36 PM

                  Superba Snack Bar's smoked bucatini carbonara is a strong contender for my dish of 2013.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ronsilverado
                    aching RE: ronsilverado Feb 19, 2013 12:46 PM

                    I don't know how I haven't made it to this place - smoked bucatini carbonara sounds divine!

                    1. re: ronsilverado
                      wienermobile RE: ronsilverado Feb 19, 2013 08:14 PM

                      Had it tonight at Superba with and that egg and cheese is one rich incredible dish. The homemade smokey pasta is wonderful & has a great bite and texture. Very generous portion.

                      1. re: wienermobile
                        ipsedixit RE: wienermobile Feb 19, 2013 08:51 PM

                        Is it made with a "raw" egg mixture of just topped with a fried egg?

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          wienermobile RE: ipsedixit Feb 20, 2013 08:32 AM

                          No. A very runny poached egg on top. So good. This is how it listed on their menu: smoked bucatini carbonara, poached egg, pancetta, black pepper & parm.

                          1. re: wienermobile
                            ipsedixit RE: wienermobile Feb 20, 2013 09:41 AM

                            That's not really Carbonara. Doesn't meant it's not good like you say.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              Ciao Bob RE: ipsedixit Jun 8, 2013 01:25 PM

                              It is not trad/authentic but it is really good!

                    2. f
                      foodiemahoodie RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 02:46 AM

                      I had one at Pecorino which was very traditional - with guanciale. But their menu now says "homemade bacon".

                      I actually prefer it with a good American bacon. It's just tastier IMHO.

                      1. e
                        EggyEggoo RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 01:11 PM

                        I quite love it at Colori Kitchen in Downtown (8th & Olive). If you've never been there, it's worth checking out. Small hole in the wall place, and you can bring your own wine. Everything I've tried there is wonderful, and the carbonara is especially good.

                        1. JeffW RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 02:06 PM

                          I do :)

                          1. A5 KOBE RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 04:51 PM

                            Spoon House

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: A5 KOBE
                              ipsedixit RE: A5 KOBE Feb 19, 2013 07:00 PM

                              Interesting. What else is good there? Any of the other pasta dishes worth a gander?

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                A5 KOBE RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 09:11 PM

                                I like the cod roe with sea urchin/seaweed and the carbonara. Also the bread is really good.

                                1. re: A5 KOBE
                                  Fig Newton RE: A5 KOBE Feb 20, 2013 03:54 PM

                                  I've been eating their mushroom spaghetti for at least 25 years. Maybe I'll have to branch out and try the carbonara there.

                            2. Professor Salt RE: ipsedixit Feb 19, 2013 10:54 PM

                              Gusto on West 3rd. The most perfect, authentic carbonara in this city. They use guanciale, if that indicates anything to you.

                              Trust me on this one. Run, don't walk.

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: Professor Salt
                                ipsedixit RE: Professor Salt Feb 20, 2013 07:52 AM

                                And tell me that they use no cream.

                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                  Professor Salt RE: ipsedixit Jun 6, 2013 11:48 PM

                                  No cream.

                                  Sorry for the slacker reply. Have you been to Gusto since this thread started? If not, why? Hye thee with alacrity.

                                  1. re: Professor Salt
                                    ipsedixit RE: Professor Salt Jun 7, 2013 12:16 AM

                                    Since this thread I've actually got my carbonara fix in NYC (at Pó) and SF (SPQR).

                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                      Ernie RE: ipsedixit Jun 7, 2013 08:31 AM

                                      Pó's carbonara is great

                                      1. re: Ernie
                                        ipsedixit RE: Ernie Jun 7, 2013 11:30 AM

                                        Indeed it is.

                                      2. re: ipsedixit
                                        gbert RE: ipsedixit Jun 11, 2013 09:08 PM

                                        You're doing yourself an injustice if you don't stop by Gusto and try it. I live in the South Bay and if I'm in the neighborhood, I'll stop and grab some (take out if necessary) even if I'm not hungry. I haven't found anything comparable in LA, not Superba, not Spoon House, or any others that I've seen listed. Strangely, Gusto's uses dry pasta instead of fresh but it's very high quality. And, the egg yoke on top that you break into the pasta makes the dish.

                                        Comparison points: I and a good friend of mine who's taste I trust haven't found anything comparable in NYC either. Barbuto's is good but not as. Vic at Gusto claims his reference is Lupa and I'm still more a fan of Gusto's than Lupa's. It's splitting hairs there but still.

                                        1. re: gbert
                                          ipsedixit RE: gbert Jun 11, 2013 09:37 PM

                                          In many ways it's actually easier for me to get to NYC than to the Mid-Wilshire area.

                                          But I will keep Gusto on my bucket list.

                                2. s
                                  schrutefarms RE: ipsedixit Feb 20, 2013 08:45 AM

                                  For a neighborhood carbonara, I think Jones Cafe has a pretty decent one.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: schrutefarms
                                    ilysla RE: schrutefarms Feb 21, 2013 02:24 PM

                                    Also at the "neighborhood" level, I thought the carbonara at La Bottega (which I had yesterday) was really tasty....

                                  Show Hidden Posts