All-In one of my previous posts I just realized I was asked for more info on Pasta Fair by another Chowhounder but I never followed up (apologies). This was my "guilty pleasure" restaurant. Which, apparently, either confused or offended the Chowhound moderators who felt the topic belonged on another board devoted to chain restaurants.
Anyway. Pasta Fair is a family friendly Italian restaurant in Norwalk on the Post Rd (right off exit 13) in the shopping center with Wal Mart and Home Goods. My family thinks Im insane for how much I love this place. But I do. When I want fine dining, or fancy upscale italian food, I know where to find it. But sometimes I just want NO FRILLS. Pasta Fair is my refuge. This is one of the few sit-down italian joints where my husband and I can leave completely stuffed for under $40.
The decor is that of a cheesy Italian restaurant. Lots of red and green, complete with life size statues of grinning Italian chefs. They have a nice outdoor patio in summer with lots of greenery which helps cut down some of the noise on Post Rd. The upstairs seating area is a little cozier than downstairs. They have a very high ceiling with a giant ficus tree in the middle with little lights on it.
First, they bring you the bread they make there. Its not a crusty ciabatta or Italian country bread. Its just a loaf of gooey white bread with a crumbly crust, perfect for sopping up sauce or salad dressing.
Their house sauce is our favorite. It has a meat flavor but it is not a meat sauce. I usually get gnocci with house sauce and hubby gets chicken parm. All entrees come with salad (iceberg with shredded carrot and an olive and tomato slice) and their house dressing is really vinegary and sharp. ALWAYS ask for it on the side or your salad with be floating. Chicken/seafood entrees come with a side of pasta, you choose the pasta and the sauce. No stink is made if you ask for substitutions. Most entrees are in the $16 range for chicken or seafood, less for pasta. I saw someone order a pasta dish with mussels the other day and it looked like something you'd expect at a fancier place.Portions are large and I usually end up bringing 1/3 of it home.
If youre daring enough to order wine ($6/glass) youre likely getting that stuff from the giant jug which costs about what youre paying for a glass. Ceretto, it ain't.
The servers are mostly high school age girls but there are 2 waitresses who have been there for as long as I can remember. They work really hard, and we take care of them :)
Thursday night special is beef bracioles. Its really pretty darn good. Tender slices of beef, stuffed with garlic, ricotta, pine nuts and maybe 1 or 2 other things and simmered in tomato sauce, served with a side of pasta for 8.95. You cant go wrong!
So thats my take on Pasta Fair. Its just casual, no fuss, no frills, affordable, and the food is very good. Think "Johns Best" only better food.