I know you food snobs are thinking “REALLY?”, but hear me out:
Pasta Pomodoro is one of those chain restaurants that masquerades really well as a local spot. With locations all over California, it somehow manages to keep it’s cozy and one-of-a-kind feel. Having grown up in a small suburb in Los Angeles, I’ve eaten at many chain restaurants in my day and still get excited when I think of Red Lobster’s biscuits, McDonald’s fries, and Claim Jumper’s portions. That same familiar (and almost predictable) taste can also be found here–
Don’t get me wrong– Pasta Pomodoro is good. Their pastas are perfectly al dente, their veggies are cut fresh, and the meals themselves are satisfying. The food just isn’t amazing. This is the kind of place you go when you’re too lazy to cook at home and looking to eat something fresh, tasty, and just plain unadventurous. For that kind of food, this hits the spot every time.
But Pasta Pomodoro does do one thing far superior than any competitors: the brilliant (and free!) pesto dipping oil that accompanies their rosemary focaccia.
This pesto-like dipping oil is magical. It’s like a tart chimichurri with the fruitiness and fragrance of an Italian pesto. I’m sure it’s a simple recipe, but every time I eat here, I can never point my finger on exactly how they prepare it. Either way, I pretty regularly embarrass myself with the amount of times I ask to refill the sauce.
On a recent trip here, we decided to loosen our belts and order dessert. The Dolce Cioccolato sure was decadent. It was a rich and heavy bittersweet chocolate cake with a molten center. Although not the most memorable part of the meal, it was a perfect ending to our dinner.
Think what you will of this unassuming chain restaurant, but as simple or predictable as the food may be, I have never been let down.