A review of Old Spaghetti Factory
By K.P. Davis, Contributor
There is something very comforting about Italian food. Maybe it’s the warmth of a slightly spicy marinara, or the soft noodles filling your belly to bursting point. Although pasta is one of the easiest things in the world to prepare at home, I have always preferred letting expert hands make my Italian dinners. There is nothing but love in true Italian dishes; unfortunately I found that love lacking at the Old Spaghetti Factory.
Walking into the restaurant, I was immediately confronted by a cacophony of visual kitsch. Regency era prints hung next to New Westminster artifacts under crystal chandeliers. Brown tile floors set off the yellow stucco walls and the green ceiling gave the whole place an old dingy colour pallet. Everything had a classic feeling, but so much of it was jammed in it felt like I had walked into a Victorian-era Applebee’s.
My guest and I sat down next to the trolly, where some child was celebrating their birthday. The faux Tiffany lamp that hung over our little two-seat table was in poor repair, with a large chunk missing and the sharp edges having being taped over. My mood was successfully raised however by the arrival of the bread—crisp and soft inside and a little sour to stimulate the pallet.
The minestrone soup was hearty, with a thin tomato base that wasn’t overwhelmed with shell pasta. Lots of vegetables rounded out the soup very nicely, although I did find the chickpeas to be a little underdone. The salad was nothing to glow over in a review—common fare with your dressing of choice. I would definitely recommend the soup over salad.
I paired my meal with Two Oceans cab-merlot, while my guest was more experimental. The strawberry kiwi sangria (a house cocktail) was delicious and peachy, heavy on the strawberry and light on the kiwi, with just a little fizz.
My tortellini was subtle, stuffed with a zesty cheese and coated in a rose-basil cream sauce. It was well-rounded with roasted peppers and mushrooms. The pasta itself was a little off-texture and gooey, though the flavour was still very palatable. The other dish, a brown butter pasta with mizithra cheese was quite delicious, cheesy and salty, though the prawns we ordered on the side were a little chewy and overdone. My friend was a little sensitive so we tried their gluten-free pasta, which, though it appeared overcooked, was actually pretty decent. We also sampled some meatballs in marinara which were basic with just a little bit of spice. The meatballs were soft and tender with lots of flavour.
We finished off the meal with spumoni ice cream and coffee. And though the ice cream was nutty and delicious, the coffee was of a much lower quality.
I think it is unfair to compare the Old Spaghetti Factory to other Italian restaurants, which outclass it by a mile. It’s fairer to compare it to other big kitschy chains like Red Robin or Boston Pizza, in which case the Old Spaghetti Factory is a unique, easy to please—though far from perfect—choice. Not a place for a romantic evening, but a good place for food with friends. And for you budget-conscious college students, the location in New Westminster offers a 10 per cent discount when you show them your student card.