What Is The World's Most Expensive Pasta Dish?

A black truffle cut in half.

Short answer
Many people credit BiCE Cucina's $2013 menu, featuring a main course of lobster and truffle tagliolini, as being the most expensive pasta in the world. However, the pasta was merely one part of a much bigger tasting menu, so we don't think it counts. Instead, we regard the San Francisco restaurant Quince as deserving of the crown for their bowl of agnolotti that sold for a cool $298.

Long answer
We've already written about the most expensive dried pasta and the most expensive pesto, but today we're looking specifically at pasta dishes that are, or have been, served in some of the world's top restaurants.

Of course, the eye-watering prices don't really come from the pasta element of the dish. After all, even if the dough has been stained with saffron, infused with lobster, or fermented and smoked, it's essentially a very cheap ingredient made from little more than flour and eggs. It's the ingredients that the pasta is served with that are where the big money lies, and there's one particular ingredient that crops up time and time again: truffles.

The Chrysler Building in Manhattan.

BiCE Cucina (New York): $2013
In 2013, Manhattan's BiCE Cucina restaurant served a meal featuring a pasta dish for $2013. Sure, the star of the show was a plate of tagliolini that came with an excessive amount of lobster and truffle, but the tasting menu also included veal, calamari, chocolate mousse, and an accompanying wine flight, so we don't really think it counts. Customers even got to take away the $350 Versace-designed, gold-leafed plate that the pasta was served on, and to appeal to cheapskates, the restaurant generously waived the gratuity too.

San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge

Quince (San Francisco): $298
Although currently not on their menu, Quince once pulled in the punters with their ludicrously expensive agnolotti verdi pasta stuffed with smoked pigeon, truffle sauce, and grilled artichoke.

Madison Avenue in New York

Nello (New York): $275
For over 25 years, Madison Avenue's Nello restaurant has attracted the great and the good of New York City who come to sample their north Italian-inspired menu, especially their signature pasta dishes. Their most famous offering is an "off menu" bowl of spaghetti, brown butter, and white truffles that is quoted "at market price" but typically costs diners a cool $275.

Hollywood sign

Citrin (California): $175
You may be starting to notice a consistent theme among the world's most expensive pasta dishes, and that's truffles. It's a good job they are our "food hell" (along with durian and kidneys); otherwise, we'd almost certainly be bankrupt by now. Citrin's tagliatelle with truffles is a little less ostentatious than some of the other dishes on this list, but we have it on good authority that it is no less enjoyable.

World famous Las Vegas sign

Portofino (Las Vegas): $100
The neon-soaked Las Vegas Boulevard is not exactly known for its "less is more" approach to life, and neither was the now-defunct Portofino restaurant. It was best known for its lasagne, which featured a ridiculously showy display of ingredients including foie gras, white truffles, Kobe beef, parma ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and edible gold leaf.

* According to a World Food Programme report in October 2023, "over 800,000,000 people around the world go to bed on an empty stomach."