Wednesday, February 29, 2012


I recently revisited the venerable Victoria institution that is Pagliacci's restaurant after a too long hiatus.  In rainy February I start jonesing for rib sticking comfort which can only be sated by hearty New York style Italian American cuisine just like mama used to make. Pagliacci’s satisfies my carb cravings admirably. The lively atmosphere and friendly servers never fail to lift my spirits in the dreary winter months.

Many of Pag's lunch and dinner offerings include your choice of starter salad or homemade soup.  Their foccacia bread is justifiably famous.  I could go for the bread alone which arrives at the table slightly warm.  The crumb is moist and tender and the chewy crust is dusted with coarse salt and herbs.  Absolutely to die for!  This is nothing like the dreary slabs of dry foccacia you find at the supermarket.

Pagliacci’s has consistently kept their menu items affordable over the years. With many entrees you may choose between either a half or a full order.  Wth the bread and starter salad or soup a half order may be more than enough, particularly if you are saving room for dessert! This is one restaurant where it is impossible to walk away hungry.

Noteworthy classic dishes include Mama's meatball sandwich, for me a lunch time winter staple and the Ravioli Paradiso which consists of plump pillows of ravioli stuffed with spinach and bathed with a walnut and Gorgonzola cream sauce.  It is unusual and delicious. Desserts are served in old fashioned greed satisfying portions. New York deli fans will appreciate the classic cheesecake, smooth creamy and slightly lemony just like you'd get in a real Jewish deli.  I am obsessed by the turtle pie, a dessert classic which contains a healthy amount of gooey caramel and pecans.  This is old school at its best!  One piece of cake at Pag's could easily serve three.  Share with a pal or two or take leftovers in a doggy bag to enjoy later.

To drink, try a New York egg creme or imbibe one of Pag’s cocktails such as The Virgin Suicide or a Jackie Brown.  Pag’s menu and drink items are all playfully named after iconic movies. There is also a decent selection of wines by the glass.  Locals visit Pag’s time and time again for the cheery atmosphere, affordable prices, and homey comfort food.  Visitors to Victoria shouldn’t miss a visit to this iconic eatery, recently featured on Food Network’s program You Gotta Eat Here!.

<a href=""><img alt="Big Bad Johns on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>

Pagliacci's on Urbanspoon

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