Reservations for a Restaurant Chain?!
Yesterday, Leslie and I finally got in at the Old Spaghetti Factory restaurant in Kelowna. Planning to go on a Saturday, and having heard how it’s been super busy ever since it opened on February 6, 2012 (in the former Kelsey’s location at 1755 Capri Street off Harvey Avenue), I jokingly said to Leslie, “maybe we should make reservations”.
I called on the Wednesday, and after a long pause, was told they had one slot for 8pm. I hesitated, then she said she also had one for 4pm. I grabbed that. I couldn’t help but gossip about this astonishing story: having to make reservations for a chain restaurant!
We got there on time and were seated straight away. I was miffed to see the restaurant half empty. (What’s this about being fully booked?!) There was a typical menu card, and an old-fashioned style large-sheet-of-paper menu with lots of choice.
The Old Spaghetti Factory is one of Leslie’s favourite chain restaurants and she gets to the Winnipeg one a few times a year on her travels. Their pasta dishes come with soup or garden salad, sourdough bread with whipped garlic butter, and spumoni ice cream for dessert. Leslie ordered her favourite: Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese, a la Homer. (A bit messy with the breadcrumbs there, Leslie!)
I haven’t been to an Old Spaghetti Factory since I was a kid in Toronto; so I stuck to what I know and like: Lasagna – Mama Pulosi’s secret homemade recipe. I was able to substitute a caesar salad (you can also get a spinach salad) for an extra $1.75. Those who don’t like pasta, can get Baby Back Ribs! (I was surprised to see that option there.)
The Dining Experience
Quality of food
The starter salads were a fair size and fresh. The caesar salad was garlicky enough and had a good salad-to-dressing-to-crouton ratio. The pastas were piping hot, and large portions. We were both happy with the amount of cheese on both dishes.
The service was very quick and efficient. Not overly attentive, but there when needed.
The decor was generally rather old-fashioned European-style with textured wallpaper, light fixtures, patterned crockery and a family atmosphere. There are plenty of booths, but many of the tables are just in rows, making for quite a noisy space. There are old photographs and interesting objects which give the place a something-to-talk-about character.
No complaints there. The cleanliness was as you would expect.
Value for Money
Our dinner for two came to a total of $35. This included 2 pasta meals with salads, 2 spumoni ice creams, 2 iced teas, and tax. (Tip on top.)
Half of my lasagna portion filled me up. I took the rest home to eat for my lunch today (which was still just as tasty!). We noticed most people were taking home leftovers. That’s always a sign of good value.
Generally, we had a great experience. We were out before 5pm. By then, the parking lot had filled up and new arrivals were finding it a bit challenging to grab a space. Then I understood why the reservation was necessary.
My only low score was the washroom. For the size of restaurant, it was quite tiny and cramped; that is, the 2 regular stalls. (There was, of course, a wheelchair accessible stall, too.) Small mirrors above the washing basins were mounted so high, with my height being 5’4″, I could only see the top half of my head (certainly not appropriate for wheelchair users). Even on tiptoes, the low lighting made me resort to putting on lipstick with my own compact mirror. Also, I understand the use of a light room fragrance, but the scent was a strong chemical perfume which in my opinion was overkill for the small space. I’d warn those with fragrance sensitivity to avoid going in there.
But overall, our early dinner was a yummy experience at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Kelowna. We left feeling happily well-fed and already planning to try their “OSF to Go!” take out service sometime soon!
How About You?
Have you been to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Kelowna? Or another Canadian city? What was your experience? Feel free to leave your comments below.