The Old Spaghetti Factory in Fullerton still awakens fond childhood memories for me. Walking by the train station to the old brick building just makes a kid feel important, like you’re stepping into a piece of history. This image is heightened by the old manor style, dark wood thrones in the waiting area. When the time arrives for you to be taken to your seat, you have about a 50/50 chance of sitting in an old caboose, elevated for a classy yet fun dining experience.
It’s a kid’s dream. Well, this kid anyway.
At the same time, the decor is tasteful as is the food so that this restaurant is fully palatable for both kids and adults.
There is a Spaghetti Factory in San Jose too, and I have been wanting to visit it for ages. This week, I finally got around to it.
I was not sure what to expect when I did. The only Spaghetti Factory I have been to is the one in Fullerton, and I know that my feelings about it are strongly rooted in childhood nostalgia. What would this new one be like? Would I arrive just to find that I was completely blinded by my childhood memories? Would it fail to live up to the (for me) original?
Fortunately, no. The Old Spaghetti Factory in San Jose met my every expectation.
Within and without, this restaurant is amazingly similar to the one in Fullerton. With the old brick walls and antique decor, I assumed the feel would be the same but the look a bit different. It really wasn’t. The chairs, the couches, the decorations, and even the dining caboose were all very much like what I remembered from Fullerton.
So was the food. What I like most about the Spaghetti Factory is that the food is good without being pretentious. It is really hard to find a sit-down Italian restaurant in the Bay Area, and particularly in the South Bay, with entrees starting at less than $13. At the Spaghetti Factory, it’s more like $10, and I appreciate that. But it gets better because that price gets you a full meal. All entrees come with bread, soup or salad, a drink, AND spumoni ice cream. I can’t believe that you can get all of that for $10 or $11.
And the amazing thing is that you don’t have to sacrifice quality. There are many great options. The meat sauce is rich and flavorful without overdoing it. True to its name, Spaghetti Vesuvius is a spicy concoction with a cajun flavor that diverges from tradition but is still delicious. Topped with satisfactory amounts of garlic and a large helping of cheese, the garlic bread is sure to satisfy. We got the Bay Shrimp Crostini this time which was particularly impressive because I enjoyed it even though I don’t generally eat shrimp. The cheesy goodness made the shrimp more of an afterthought which was fine by me. And at the end, you get the spumoni too which is without contest the best spumoni I have ever had (granted, there has not been a lot of competition). Each flavor is good on its own, but they also work well as a unit, something I have not found to be true in most spumonis.
If you can stomach anything else after all of the food they already bring you, try the homemade Italian cream sodas. Unlike most American versions, they actually combine soda, cream, and flavoring to make this soda, and it is so good. They ruined all other cream sodas for me for life (but I don’t mind).
I was very happy with my experience at San Jose’s Old Spaghetti Factory. Too often, we revisit places we loved as children only to find them lacking as adults. It was encouraging to find somewhere that is just as good as I remember.