Classic carbonara is one of the simplest pasta dishes.  The Roman is hot spaghetti with raw egg, guanciale or pancetta and grated pecorino or parmesan.

According to Mario Batali, the trick is to create a “creamy yet not overly thick sauce.”  Think of it as refined “cheesy noodles.”  While it’s hard to top the original recipe when you want a comforting meal, several local restaurants are bucking tradition with glamorized versions that use elegant ingredients and innovative techniques. Here are five to check out:


King Crab Carbonara ($17)

In this Japanese twist, udon noodles combine with Dungeness crab, enoki mushrooms, smoked bacon and Brussels sprouts with miso-pumpkin cream and lemon-uni butter.

Chambers Eat + Drink

Spagetti Squash ($9)

A ring of pancetta, sous vide egg and estero gold cheese outfit this spaghetti squash side dish.


Rigatoni alla Carbonara ($16)

Rigatoni stands in for the spaghetti, but the rest of the ingredients follow locavoric custom: guanciale, pecornio, and organic egg from Tully Dolci farm in Petaluma.


Spaghettini ($17/$11)

Chef Chris Cosentino cannot resist organ meat. Here he uses cured tuna heart in place of bacon for his spaghettini with egg yolk and parsley.


Smoked fettuccini ($21)

Carbonara gets a sophisticated makeover with the addition of rich sea urchin, smoked bacon and quail egg.


Pizza Carbonara ($12)

Two runny eggs cap this decadent bunch pizza that’s topped with cream, pancetta, provolone and mozzarella..

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons