Although not unique to the area, The Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland Oregon is one of my favorite places to eat.
My wife and I have enjoyed it for years and have no problem waiting in the sometimes long lines to dine there.
Like I said, although this wonderful Portland restaurant now has numerous locations around the country, the first one started right here in Portland in 1969.
The building, situated along the Willamette River, is a real treat, all by itself, and really adds to the dining experience. Walk through the large stained-glass-filled doors into the almost ominous sitting room.
On weekends, you will definitely grow accustomed to the sitting room! It's very popular place to eat in Portland and, being that they do not take reservations, you'll want to get there early to avoid the usual long line.
Parents Magazine named The Old Spaghetti Factory one of the top 10 best family restaurants. Quite the accolade, eh?
If you do find that you hit one of the busier times, you can always relax in the bar area upstairs and wait for the host to call your name.
The interior is made up of dark woods, stained glass and cool antiques. There is a old-fashioned trolley that sits in the middle of the main dining area, allowing visitors to dine right inside if they choose.
When you order from their luscious menu, you're going to end up with a full meal that is Old Spaghetti Factory dinnersure to satisfy you. For example, my wife and I always order our favorite, which is called "The Manager's Favorite."
You can choose from any two sauces and we both always select the combination of the White Clam Sauce and Mizithra Cheese and Browned Butter (my mouth is watering just writing about it!). The sauces are poured over a large mound of spaghetti noodles. It's soooooo good! ;)
As a matter of fact, I am so in love with the food here, that I started combing the Internet to see if I could find some recipes.
One place I found a few, plus hundreds of other mock-recipes (or are they?) from more of my favorite restaurants, was in the virtual book, Copycat Recipes Cookbook. I love this thing! ;)
Here is the Clam Sauce and the Browned Butter recipes. These are copy-cat recipes, but are very close to the real thing.
Old Spaghetti Factory Original Clam Sauce
Serving Size: 6
3 ounces butter
2 cloves garlic -- finely chopped
1/2 medium onion -- finely chopped
3 stalks celery -- finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
2 6 oz cans clams -- chopped
1 quart half and half
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Combine butter, garlic, onion and celery in a saucepan. Braise over medium-low heat until tender but not brown. Add the flour, and mix to make a roux.
Drain clams, reserving juice. In a separate saucepan, combine clam juice, half-and-half, thyme and salt. Heat until just below boiling. Add to roux, and cook until sauce thickens. Add clams, stirring gently to mix through out the sauce. Serve over noodles.
Old Spaghetti Factory's Spaghetti with Browned Butter
This Old Spaghetti Factory favorite is topped with Mizithra cheese and is one of my favorites!
1 cup butter
1 cup Mizithra cheese
pasta of choice
Browned Butter Procedure: Cut 2 sticks of butter into 8 pieces and place in a 2-quart sauce pan. Place the pan of butter on a burner on medium heat. Bring butter to a slow boil (about 5 minutes).
Once the butter begins to boil, stir constantly to prevent residue from sticking to the bottom of the pan. As the butter cooks, it will start to foam and rise. Continue stirring, otherwise the butter foam could overflow (about 5 minutes) and catch fire.
Once the butter stops foaming and rising, cook until amber in color (about 1 to 2 minutes). It will have a pleasant caramel aroma.
Turn off the heat and remove pan from burner. Let the sediment settle to the bottom of the pan for a few minutes.
Pour the brown butter through a strainer into a small bowl. Do not disturb the residue at the bottom of the pan.
The brown butter can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in a microwave as needed.
Boil the pasta of choice until Al Dente. Drain pasta and divide into four servings. Spread 1/4 cup of Mizithra over each pasta serving. Top with 1/4 cup of hot brown butter.
Along with your main course, you'll get warmed bread and flavored butters, a salad or soup, your drink and spumoni ice cream for dessert. Old Spaghetti Factory trolley. It's all included in the very-reasonable price.
For a terrific meal that you may easily be packing home the leftovers, awesome surroundings and very good service, This is a Portland restaurant not to be missed.
The Old Spaghetti Factory, Portland
0715 S.W. Bancroft St.
Portland, OR 97239