Spirito's in Carlsbad

First heard about this place from diners drive ins and dives show. I can hear the groans from here and agree that Fieri is pretty annoying but it’s not the restaurant’s fault so I decided to give it a shot. Got the spaghetti and meatballs and meatball sub. Really liked the gravy and the meatballs, but the noodles were overlooked and the sub bread was pretty mediocre. However, if any of you are transplanted east coasters, particularly from New Jersey or thereabouts, it reminded me a lot of the cheap mom and pop simple pizza and pasta places I grew up with and have a hard time finding in SoCal. Nostalgic and comforting for me and I’ll be back. If you’re hoping for Bencotto quality don’t go here but for a good neighborhood Jersey style red sauce joint check it out. Fieri knows his stuff, right?

Your remarks remind me that for the past five years or so, I’ve been meaning to hit up The Old Spaghetti Factory downtown. There’s something to be said for down-home comfort food.

Yep RD, good East Coast style Italian. I’ve been going since before it was ever on 3D. Which meatballs did you get? Both are very good, but I love their Roman Style Meatballs with golden raisins and pine nuts. Their cheese raviolis are great as well, but they sell out fast. Pretty decent cannoli too! Love the fact that its family run and the whole family contributes to the business.

Olive Garden is an improvment over OSF

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Hardly, and definitely not for character and atmosphere. Their (OSF) plain old Mizithra sauce is pretty good.

The Mizithra dish was actually the dish I had many years ago at OSF and it was horrible (and I wasn’t looking for authentic or upscale or home made Italian food). There are better options in SD for basic American-Italian cuisine

IDK, I probably haven’t been in over two decades (when they were at the old location on 5th st.), but I do remember enjoying the Mizithra dish as being very simple and satisfying at the time.

I unfortunately go to OSF not infrequently because of the kids and it is not good.

Spirito’s is a small mom and pop place with good cheap food that reminded me of New Jersey "eye"talian food. Please don’t equate Spirito’s with OSF.

I haven’t been to either place in decades, as well. I know there are of course far better options, but it’s a nostalgia sort of thing. Unless my memory is off, OSF was one of the first places I went to (downtown) after moving to SD, and I took my parents there once, in the same timeframe. No idea whatsoever as to what I (or they) had, just that it was indeed very basic and, at the time, I thought tasty – at least in the comfort-food category. I remember that my parents liked it.

As for Olive Garden, I have no such nostalgia and no interest in going.

Is OSF not still at its original location??

Definitely not a valid comparison. Spiritos, is a family owned and operated scratch made Italian place. And OSF is well, a corporate almost fast food Italian chain. Very different animals.

Nostalgia and food together is overrated. Never understood why people liked to eat crappy food now when they made the same mistake already many years ago.

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Your kids shouldn’t force you to OSF, that’s just cruel. If you want to involve them give them better options to decide between

My kids like OSF and every now and then I can sacrifice. Life is too short to take yourself so seriously. Lighten up.

Regular meatballs, didn’t know about the others

Nah, life is too short to eat bad food. Kids can only help with the selection of restaurants if the list is preselected to avoid complete disasters

The Roman style meatballs are delicious and tender, The raisins are largely broken down and add just a hint of sweetness with the savory. The pine nuts in them are also subtle creating a little added texture. The traditional meatballs at Spirito’s are great, but the Roman meatballs are also a delicious and unique family specialty!

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I look forward to hitting up Spirito’s during Pony season…

What no Tony’s for you? I thought they were open every day during racing season just for you.

Took the family this past weekend and while nothing blew me away, we liked everything we ate. Love having a place like this around. Will try the Roman meatballs soon, thanks!

I like how you think LS…
Tony’s only open up cuz of me…

I like to rotate the pony season bar and restaurant carousel to the beloved Bully’s, Brig, OB at the Fish, My fave, Red Tracton’s Baby!!!, Jake’s and Roberto’s PCH Solana or Carmel Valley Rd…