It was hard at first to decide on a Recommended rating for Pastini. Then I realized I would only be docking them points because they're a chain restaurant, a tireless machine of pasta slinging bliss. Yet, they accomplish their mission with deft organization, varied dishes, and most of all low prices. My wife got a shrimp dish and I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara. The latter of which is a white sauce with peas, peppers, and bacon. This is where their value is, even though it was between 8 and 9 dollars for each of our plates they were hearty portions. Not just a plate full of pasta, I had a succulent mound of bacon with my creamy noodles. I ate every last bite so completely that the dish washer must have been beside himself pondering whether or not the plate had been used. The only fault on Pastini's part tonight was being a chain, they do seem to cater to the standard American palate. Entrees and salads are flavorful but devoid of any kind of spice. Caesar salad was lacking in any evident garlic or sardine aroma, and my pasta which boasted of pepper on the menu was sublime in heat. I'm a Thai food enthusiast by nature and love some soulful spice. The waitress was kind enough to bring me some crushed red pepper when queried and our food was relished. The value continues when you take a peak at the wine list. They have one of my favorites in the Cascina Castl'e --- a bottle that retails between 16-20 plus at your favorite grocery store, for a 23 dollars on the menu. Glasses range anywhere from a meager 5-6.5 and they usually do a pretty deep pour. Even with a packed house, we received a 10 minute wait. We'll definitely be going back, it's somewhere ahead of Olive Garden and Romano's--- yet not quite as polished as some of the ""real"" Italian food in town like Nostrana or Gino's. Then again, you're probably looking for Italian inspired on the cheap, and it doesn't get any better than this.
Pros: Good value for good pasta. Quick seating. Generous portions for the price
Cons: Italian food that hides in the closet from spice. Still retains flavor.