This may sound ridiculous, but pasta is such a treat to me. I love pasta like nobody’s business and I make giddy “mmm” noises every few seconds when I eat it. This is a passion that I unfortunately can’t share with everyone as my dad touches pasta with a ten-foot pole, my brother is apathetic towards it, and my best friend does not like spaghetti *cue incredulous, confused look from me*. That leaves only my mum and me. And my honey Richard.
After years and years of hearing about The Old Spaghetti Factory (located at 54 The Esplanade, south of Front St.E, in between Yonge and Church St.), I finally skipped on over for the first time this past August for my birthday and was I ever brimming with excitement! And it did not disappoint in the least. I can’t even begin to tell you what a nutcase I looked like as soon as Richard and I were shown to our table, which by the way was the cozy, private, romantic vintage elevator booth with actual buttons inside!! Oh my word. Talk about cute. Oh right, back to me looking like a nutcase. This restaurant is BEAUTIFUL. Up high are stained glass light fixtures, a gorgeous chandelier in the front foyer, and each section of the restaurant has its own “theme” and decor. There’s a section where you can be seated in an old-fashioned streetcar, an an Amsterdam bicycle club, in a library-like space, and much more. At the centre of it all is an elevated carousel with beautifully painted horses and I ran around the perimeter of the restaurant snapping pictures like I was part of a brigade of paparazzi. That, or an over-eager tourist with a forefinger spasm.
If you’re a pasta head like me, the menu is heaven. Besides the appetizers such as salads and soups, the first portion is dedicated to 9 spaghetti dishes with different sauces and meat, and the rest of the menu is dedicated to lots and lots of pasta! Penne, lasagna, manicotti, linguine, fettuccine, cannelloni, the list goes on and I could seriously eat here for the rest of my life. There are 6 vegetarian dishes and you can substitute for whole wheat spaghetti and gluten-free.
Not only is the pasta so yummy, their drinks are fantastic. Seriously, how many places do you know of that serve flavoured Italian soda, flavoured lemonade, and drinks like iced cappuccino? I love lemonade and wish so many other places served it. And to make things even sweeter, The Old Spaghetti Factory has a daily price fixe menu that you can order from, as well as a separate dessert menu if you wish to forgo the spumoni icecream that is included at the end of your meal.
Wait, end of your meal? Included? Yet another wonderful thing that I love about this place is that all main dishes include an appetizer (your choice between a green salad or bowl of minestrone soup; if you want clam chowder, spinach salad, or Caesar salad instead, you can upgrade for an extra $1.29) and icecream for dessert! They normally serve their special Spumoni icecream (a mix of pistachio, chocolate, and vanilla), but you can order plain chocolate or vanilla icecream as well. Oh! As well, a nice warm loaf of crusty bread is served with your meal with regular butter and garlic butter and let me tell you, the garlic butter is delicious. It’s a yummy, comforting, well-rounded meal and it’s great because a lot of the time want you go out for a meal, you want to try an appetizer or you want to order a dessert but the prices for both are just out of your range sometimes, so this is really fab as you’re looking at an average $20 dinner.
I had myself a jolly good time sipping my bowl of minestrone soup (which by the way is very good as they put lots of vegetables, beans, and little pastas in it; they do not skimp on ingredients), slurping my beer mug of flavoured mango lemonade (ignore my scrapbook page that says peach, I made a boo-boo), stuffing my face with delicious clam spaghetti, with butter clams and white béchamel cream sauce and LOTS of freshly cracked black pepper! I am a fiend for cracked black pepper and this is the scene that usually plays out when the waiter or waitress comes back with the grinder. Waiter/waitress: “say when” *starts twisting the grinder*. Me: *watches for 5 minutes*. Just kidding! I’m exaggerating, but really, I do love it when places offer the cracked pepper, and if it suits your fancy, you can also ask for some parmesean cheese or chili flakes too. To end off the meal, I had the special Spumoni icecream. It was a fantastic meal and the atmosphere was fun, the food was delicious, and the service was super friendly. Especially as I ran around like a monkey with my camera. Staff just looked on amusingly.
Scrapbooking materials used: forest green, goldenrod, red, and pink cardstock (Recollections), Purple Daze patterned paper (Recollections), pasta stickers and carousel embellishment (Jolee’s), adhesive gems.