How Far Would You Drive For Good Italian Food?

@BelleStarr (34874)
Portland, Connecticut
January 10, 2017 10:42am CST
Sunday afternoon I decided I wanted to have Italian food for lunch. We were both bored and wanted to get out. We have several Italian restaurants quite close to us here in Ocala. I asked hubs which one he wanted and he said he didn't care. I told him to pick an exit from our complex and that would determine it. He chose the main entrance so Little joey's it was. Well no it wasn't they were closed. Okay another 4 miles down the road is Sammy's nope they were closed as well. We had passed on Carmine's which is actually the closest and which was open but where I had once got a really bad meal so we kept driving thinking we would see something. We did see Olive Garden but that is not real Italian for a girl from Connecticut, not bad food but not really Italian. We ended up driving 18 miles and it was so worth it. We chose a restaurant called Pasta Faire and they have daily specials. On Sunday it is the Italian feast for two, you can choose an entree less than $12.50, (they give you two on one platter) we chose an Italian combo of Bolognese spaghetti, cheese ravioli, sausage, lasagna and chicken parm. It came with bread, soup or salad and a dessert to share as well as coffee or tea. All for $21. It was way too much food, we got a whole meal to bring home but it was also delicious. I can see this becoming a regular Sunday habit for us. It was well worth the long drive.
40 people like this
39 responses
@topffer (31748)
• France
10 Jan 17
The price is very cheap Thinking at it, what I prefer in Italian restaurants are giant desserts, and you do not tell what were the desserts?
7 people like this
@LadyDuck (130962)
• Switzerland
10 Jan 17
Surely not the spaghetti Bolognese, that are only made for tourists, we do not eat Bolognese sauce with durum wheat pasta in Italy.I know you serve spaghetti(s) Bolognese in France.
4 people like this
@topffer (31748)
• France
10 Jan 17
@LadyDuck I eat a lot of things with a Bolognese sauce. I am not sure if I can tell you that last Sunday I cooked a ratatouille Ni├žoise, and I added a ready made Bolognese sauce at the end.
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (130962)
• Switzerland
10 Jan 17
@topffer We have a friend who lives in Monte-Carlo who add a lot of ready made Bolognese sauce on everything he eats. He comes twice a year to stay a few days in our home as he says for "good company and good food".
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (88843)
• United States
10 Jan 17
You really did get a great deal on all that food!!! Making that drive a habit sounds like a great idea.
6 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
I think so, we can drive there after church for lunch and then have dinner for Monday as well.
4 people like this
• United States
10 Jan 17
I live in the country, so 18 miles is just a jaunt to the store for me. There are some small restaurants fairly close to home, but many restaurants are 3/4 to 1 1/4 hours away. I actually do not like eating in restaurants often (I much prefer take-out or homemade), but I do like it from time to time, especially when I get a craving for something special.
4 people like this
@topffer (31748)
• France
10 Jan 17
Come here and I will show you why it might be justified to do 100 miles for a restaurant. A good chef is an artist, and good restaurants are quite cheap when you realize that you are eating pieces of art.
3 people like this
• United States
10 Jan 17
@topffer I believe you, but I will not argue if you insist on showing me anyway. I actually had the experience of eating in a really fancy, expensive restaurant, and it was something that I enjoyed. It was like eating pieces of art with the way the food was presented and handled. The bad part, though, was that I had to go to a different restaurant afterwards to actually quench my appetite. Apparently art can only be enjoyed in very small portions.
1 person likes this
@topffer (31748)
• France
10 Jan 17
@purplealabaster I see, you are not a fan of "nouvelle cuisine" ; I also appreciate it moderately. Living in South-Western France, where the cuisine is not especially made for small appetites and oil is replaced by goose fat, I think you will not be able to end your dishes.
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jan 17
Not bad!! I'd drive that far for good food too :)
4 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
Yah some drives are just worth it lol
4 people like this
• United States
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr Yes indeed =)
3 people like this
• New Delhi, India
10 Jan 17
Wow..such things are always good for life attimes
4 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
10 Jan 17
I agree sometimes one just needs some really good Italian food!! lol
4 people like this
• New Delhi, India
10 Jan 17
@BelleStarr yes..good food can create wonders
2 people like this
@MALUSE (34482)
• Denmark
10 Jan 17
We walk *on foot* for about 50 m / ~55 yards to a very good, genuine Italian restaurant. The Italian combo sounds a bit odd to me. (@LadyDuck What do you say?) I wonder what the sausage is doing there. Maybe the cook is of German origin? :-)
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (130962)
• Switzerland
10 Jan 17
Yes the Italian combo is really odd, I have never seen in Italy a serving of lasagne, ravioli and spaghetti all together, but I know they serve those combos in some "Italian" restaurants in the States. I think that the owners are great grandson of Italian immigrants and they never put their foot in Italy. They usually do not even speak Italian.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (34482)
• Denmark
10 Jan 17
@LadyDuck I agree. One should always put "Italian" in quotation marks when speaking of Italian restaurants in the USA. Great Britain isn't better. My husband, who's a very polite guest and not someone who complains, once couldn't help himself and scolded the waiter in an Italian restaurant in London. He got soft, slimy pasta. He said that in Italy even a dog would refuse to eat this. The waiter didn't react at all. When he went back to the kitchen we heard him talk Serbian! So the only thing that was Italian was the name of the restaurant. This taught us never to trust an Italian restaurant abroad again. When in Great Britain, one must eat Indian food, of course.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (130962)
• Switzerland
10 Jan 17
@MALUSE I had the very bad idea to order a Carbonara in a so called "Italian" restaurant in Florida. I think that this was the worst thing I have ever been served in a restaurant. Well done for me, I know that an Italian should never eat Italian food outside Italy.
@LadyDuck (130962)
• Switzerland
10 Jan 17
You are right Olive Garden is NOT Italian at all. If I want real Italian I do it at home, or I cross the border (5 miles) and I go to Italy.
3 people like this
@PatZAnthony (11971)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
11 Jan 17
Getting to Italy is difficult for me now, but knowing how to cook my g'mother's way is not hard for me.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
@LadyDuck Yes well that really isn't an option here and the food was well cooked and quite delicious. It is what we are used to.
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
@PatZAnthony I don't have an Italian grandma but I do cook some Italian dishes myself.
@sabtraversa (10033)
• Italy
10 Jan 17
My father drives 50 km for some sushi. We don't have any real Japanese restaurant except in bigger cities (100 km away and very expensive), but we like that restaurant and we're loyal customers. They serve big portions and good food, that isn't easy to get elsewhere. That sounds like a lot of food, we Italians don't eat that much everyday, I swear. But Sundays are exceptions, I suppose. And some restaurants tend to be very generous. I would have to drive 20 km (12 miles) to reach grandma instead, probably the same thing. (And it's free)
2 people like this
@MALUSE (34482)
• Denmark
10 Jan 17
I'm not in favour of gigantic portions which nobody can finish. I find them obscene. I prefer smaller portions and lower prices.
1 person likes this
@sabtraversa (10033)
• Italy
10 Jan 17
@MALUSE I also don't enjoy huge portions because I like to taste a bit of everything, when it comes to sushi I can ask for half portion. And those who are new to that restaurant might have a bad time because they don't expect that much. As most Japanese restaurants offer the All You Can Eat deal, each dish is usually very small and unsatisfying, and if you ask for more it takes ages before they serve.
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
We didn't eat everything, we brought home half and the dessert so we had another meal with the leftovers.
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (107868)
• Bunbury, Australia
10 Jan 17
That sounds a lovely meal and very reasonable too - especially if you got a second meal out of it.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
I love eating out and getting to take home enough for another meal, two meals I don't have to cook lol
1 person likes this
@JudyEv (107868)
• Bunbury, Australia
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr It's all good. :)
@Brittnyrose (1457)
• Aberdeen, North Carolina
10 Jan 17
I would so travel the world for good Italian food.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
Hopefully, you won't have to lol BBut you are right, a good Italian meal is a thing of beauty!!
1 person likes this
• Aberdeen, North Carolina
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr I agree
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Jan 17
There are times when I'm tempted to drive from Pennsylvania back to New York to get some good Italian food.
2 people like this
@MALUSE (34482)
• Denmark
10 Jan 17
You should consider booking a flight to Italy! I can give you the name of the best pizzeria in Naples . . .
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
Yes they have very funky Italian food in our neck of the woods in PA. as well. Not very good I have to say. They put American cheese on a Hawaiian pizza, that is sacrilege. lol
@Asylum (48360)
• Manchester, England
10 Jan 17
I do like Italian food, but would not be inclined to travel very far.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
Of course, we are American's traveling 18 miles is just around the corner to us. lol
1 person likes this
@Asylum (48360)
• Manchester, England
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr That is a valid point.
1 person likes this
@just4him (99638)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
10 Jan 17
Wow! That made my mouth water. It sounds good too. I'm glad it was worth the drive.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
It was well worth the drive for both the quality and the quantity of the food.
1 person likes this
@just4him (99638)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr It sounds like it. You got quite a deal.
1 person likes this
@Happy2BeMe (70942)
• Canada
10 Jan 17
That sounds awesome. If the food is good I will travel whatever distance it takes to get there. That was a great deal for great food. Now I want Italian!
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
lol I have to admit just talking about it has put me in the mood to return there soon.
1 person likes this
@Happy2BeMe (70942)
• Canada
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr I can see that
@PatZAnthony (11971)
• Charlotte, North Carolina
10 Jan 17
No one in that area would have Italian food we would think is good. Being 'food snobs' we make our own. Pasta Faire is probably the one place that still actually cooks many items from scratch-although Joey's might too. Abio's on 200 made their own lasagna, eggplant, etc., but is now closed. Mike's on SE 36 is 'okay' but still not as good as ours. You know Olive Garden is jokingly where people say they go when they don't feel like nuking their own frozen dinners.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
I think Sammy's is pretty good, not everything but a few things are really good. I do like Little Joey's. I am not Italian and cooking Italian is not my favorite, I would much rather go out. I do like the soup and salad at Olive Garden lol
@amadeo (53895)
• United States
10 Jan 17
not me.No need to.We have Italian here.When we need it.cook it.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
Yes but you are Italian, I am Irish and French Canadian, no pasta in our cuisine lol
@Tampa_girl7 (22603)
• United States
10 Jan 17
I am making spaghetti and meatballs tonight.
2 people like this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
I am sure that it will be delicious, we will be there in 12 hours, hold our plates lol
1 person likes this
@shshiju (9805)
• Cochin, India
11 Jan 17
You get a great deal and treat. I am not familiar with Italian dishes.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
I do love Indian food but my hubs doesn't so we eat what he wants. lol
1 person likes this
@shshiju (9805)
• Cochin, India
12 Jan 17
@BelleStarr Our South Indian food is more spicy to other countries.
@fishtiger58 (30572)
• Momence, Illinois
11 Jan 17
that's nice you found a good restaurant, I would drive 18 miles for a good meal We get bored too, so what else do we have to do lol.
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
Yes that is what we thought, it was a fun ride too.
1 person likes this
@fishtiger58 (30572)
• Momence, Illinois
11 Jan 17
@BelleStarr There you go hubby and I went 25 miles the other day for hot dogs lol.
@SIMPLYD (76526)
• Philippines
11 Jan 17
My hubby and i would also take the time to drive to eat in a tested very good restaurant . Our reason , we should eat good because we spent good money also .
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (34874)
• Portland, Connecticut
11 Jan 17
I will try a new restaurant once or twice and if it isn't up to my standards I won't return.
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (76526)
• Philippines
12 Jan 17
@BelleStarr Same with us here .