In March of 1970, the first Old Spaghetti Factory Restaurant in Canada was opened in the Gastown district of Vancouver, British Columbia. The concept was a very simple one; take an old warehouse in a historic part of town and fill it with antiques and artifacts, provide the finest pasta and superb service, to make an extremely unique dining experience.
I remember coming here as a kid, dining in the train car, and I just had to try it again.
Ambiance: It's like someone turned on a high pressure hose and blasted "ITALIAN" all over the place. It's not exactly a bad thing, as their manufactured decor of jarred tomatoes and olive oil cans on shelves in random places is actually quite nice.
Service: Our server was quite adept, so nothing to complain about - he obviously had a lot of people on his hands though, as he took away my pasta dish before I wanted him to (I wanted to dunk my bread in the sauce.). I find it odd that they have a section of the restaurant where there is a service station (where they keep cutlery and refill water) right next to everything. No screen or separation, just up against the wall - which we happened to be right next to. It was a little distracting having servers clunk around with ice and glasses just an arms length away. The servers also use this wooden stool to place trays of food on, then distribute them to the tables. I get that it's to help take the load off, but it was right next to the hallway that connects to the other part of the restaurant, and aside from the possibility of a clumsy person tipping it over while walking in, I kept thinking how easy it would be for someone just passing by (like a kid) to do something to the unattended food...
Value: It's a family restaurant, first and foremost, so the prices will be good. Almost everything is a combo, that comes with unlimited bread and butter, soup or salad, your main, ice cream and coffee or tea.
Food: We started with the mussels in a white wine sauce cream sauce. Not great quality mussels, but okay. We also had the deep fried shrimp that came with a dipping sauce. The shrimp were TINY. We could hardly taste it all, it was mostly just breading. They did deep fry it well though. The sourdough bread was fine, and it came with packaged butter and garlic butter. I had the salad, which was a sad affair, as it was mostly some very tired iceberg lettuce. I was afraid I would get a stomach ache from eating it. The Italian dressing seemed packaged to me, though they claim in their ads they make it from scratch. My sister had the minestrone soup - it wasn't to her taste. I had the lasagna, which was alright. Pretty boring, and not a whole lot of flavor, but fine nonetheless. My sister's stuffed rigatoni was reported to be gross though. The ice cream at the end was good. It was part chocolate, and part - blue. I think it was vanilla colored blue, though it might have been bubblegum or even pistachio. The blue part had a flavor I just couldn't put my finger on.
The summary of it is that, for a kid, getting ice cream and plain spaghetti with tomato sauce is pretty awesome for a meal. Though most of the menu is a good price, it's boring and uninspired food. Worth a visit maybe for the decor, history, or to eat in that train car, but you don't need to come back. I know I won't.
This food is always good when you want a quick and cheap meal. It is a chain and from what I gather they're the same everywhere but the service and value is always good. You can get a salad, entree and icecream for around $12. I don't have kids but if you're with a family it is family friendly, if you don't have kids then you needn't worry about families getting in your face.
Look it up: This is the 2nd most haunted place in North America
- had baby poop smell in different areas of the restaurant, even near the kitchen
- didn't give us the free ice cream at the end
- soup came cold and server spilled it
- server had bad attitude, bus boy was more helpful ( it wasn't even busy
- lots of hobos and creeps outside the restaurant and the area
- horrible steak
- spaghetti was bland
- my stomach felt queezy until I stepped out of the restaurant ( possible haunted effect?)
I have been to other locations and never thought they were very impressive either, but they were average and the same items that I got before was way better than here
I didn't complain to the servers because they didn't look like the type to care, but a tip to management is to do a performance assesment
I remember as a teen, the Spaghetti Factory was the place to be. My mouth would water just thinking of it! I'm a huge pasta fan & I believe you can't really wreck the sauce - or can you? Apparently it can be done! The Spaghetti Factory ain't what it used to be!
One year ago we visited the one in Victoria. When our pasta came, the sauce looked kinda funky. Somebody accidentally spilled the basil was my opinion. But it wasn't just the color, it was the TASTE too. I really thought it was just me, but as I looked over at my dinner companions I noticed they were salting, peppering & dumping the cheese on like I was doing, trying to get some sort of flavor out of it! I never use salt, and believe me I was using it! What was going on here? I figured it to be a bad day in the kitchen and left it at that.
One year later back in Gastown, we sit down for dinner. AND there was that damn sauce again, same color, same tasteless sauce!!! Coincidence? Can't be. To my dismay, there it was! What is going on here?
So after complaining on facebook, I got the same "yuk, yeah I know" response from other fb users and then, I got the real story from someone who delivers the sauce [ yep you heard me "he DELIVERS the sauce"]. This driver works in the food delivery service industry. Uh huh, now I know why the Spaghetti Factory restaurant on Vancouver Island has the same sauce as one on the mainland!
So it wasn't a bad day for the cook after all ~ it was a bad judgement from the franchise (?) owners! Please don't waste your time and hard earned money on CANNED SAUCE. Fresh is the only way to go! No more Spaghetti Factory for us, the word "FACTORY" is the biggest clue!
I had lunch with a friend today at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown and was very pleased with the excellent service and fantastic meal! Right from the beginning we were greeted by the friendly hostess at the front who then handed us off to our wonderful server who happily took our order, chatted with us for a bit and then carried on with the rest of her duties. Keep up the great work, see you again soon!
Ate here with a large group last summer - maybe because there were so many of us that was why the service was so bad? We were served by a high school kid who rolled his eyes at us the entire time he was taking our orders. My husband and I ordered a bottle of wine for ourselves, and we were lucky we did as we never saw our server again until he brought us our bill. Everyone else at our table went thirsty. My food and portions were good, but my husband ordered the lasagna and it was TINY - he was starving after he finished and ended up eating half of my meal as well. I went to use the bathroom only to discover an entire girl guide troop (and several annoyed customers) in line ahead of me. It was a lot like being at the playroom at McDonald's. Back at the table, a large, scary customer came over and screamed at my FIL for using flash photography - not the restaurant's fault, but it gives you an idea of the type of people that eat at this place. It was very tacky overall.
The Old Spaghetti Factory is the place to eat the WORST SPAGHETTI EVER IN GREATER VANCOUVER, or perhaps in the world!! All the food there really tastes HORRIBLE. Even if you buy a cheap spaghetti sauce from Costco, it tastes much better than this place.
The menu is just a joke! It seems they try to put the cheapest ingredients possible in all of their food. There is spaghetti with sauce ONLY, spaghetti with cheese ONLY. You don’t need to come here to eat this food like this, a 5 grader can also make this stuff.
My kid ordered spaghetti with meat ball. It has no taste whatsoever as if the cook forget to put spices, really bad. As such, he didn’t eat a single thing during the dinner. My order is also equally bad and tasteless, as well as for the entire group. So, ALL FOOD here is EXTREMELY BAD!!
The only good thing of this restaurant is the decoration. But, hello, don’t forget, we are here to eat, not to visit an art gallery. We are smart customers, we can’t be tricked to give you a good rating just because you put such a lavish decoration.
If I can offer one advice for this restaurant’s owner: don’t waste your money from putting excessive artwork, but instead, use this to train your chef to learn how to make spaghetti. If you want to know what a good spaghetti should be, try your Gastown neighbour: Incendio or Marcello in Commercial Drive. They really make the best spaghetti in town.