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Jan 6, 2014 01:15 PM

Old-School Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

This may sound like a strange question for a foodie's board, but I am seeking a place that has basic, fairly inexpensive spaghetti with meat sauce or meat balls in the Hillcrest/North Park/Bankers Hill etc. area. My grandmother just moved into the St. Paul's Senior place on 4th and Juniper from Temecula, and when we go out, this is what she wants.

After an expensive and not so great pasta with meat sauce at Sammy's Woodfired Pizza (because it was lunchtime, we were hungry and I had absolutely no idea where to take her for what she wanted) I thought I would call on the experienced folks here. Does anyone have a recommendation for a low-key and homey, not too expensive Italian American eatery somewhere around town? (Like "nine or ten bucks for a plate of pasta" not expensive.)

Molto Grazie in advance. I need to get some fat onto her bones and I'd rather avoid the Sizzler now that she is living in San Diego.

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  1. If you are willing to drive a little north to University City, Lorna's might fit your bill:

    1. It's a little far for 4th & Juniper but Nicolosi's in San Carlos would probably be what you're looking for.

      This is probably a wild card, but it's a heck of a lot closer to you than Nicolosi's. That would be Osteria Origano on 5th between Pennsylvania and ??? Same owner as Trattoria Anitca in La Mesa. Not sure they'll have spaghetti & meat sauce but my guess is if they don't, they've probably got something pretty darn close.

      There is always Arreviderci in Hillcrest on 4th . There menu doesn't list spaghetti with meat sauce (bolagnese) but their sister restaurant il Postino on 30th does.

      Good luck on the weight thing.

      3 Replies
      1. re: DiningDiva

        In the same area as Origano and Arrivederci (Hillcrest), Charisma Cucina Italiana has tagliatelle Bolognese ($14.50) on the menu. It's a cozy little spot with good pastas. Parking can be tricky in that area, however, which might not be good with a grandmother in tow.

        1. re: Katherine H

          What's your opinion of their red sauce. Is the tag homemade.

          1. re: Katherine H

            That's the old Chilango's space. I'd forgotten all about Charisma. Good call.

        2. Spaghetti Factory

          Soup or salad, spaghetti with meat sauce, bread, ice cream $11 plus tax and tip

          1. Di Mille on Adams is for me old school American-Italian food and worth a try

            1. She might also like the spaghetti ragu at Monello in Little Italy, next to Bencotto.

              4 Replies
              1. re: DoctorChow

                The vibe at Monello is anything but "old school".

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Agree. Mea upscrew. I didn't read the original post slowly enough to get the concept straight. But the spaghetti ragu is good there and not too expensive.

                2. re: DoctorChow

                  I have to be honest--I like Bencotto but am not that crazy about Monello--(not that Bencotto is old school either).

                  1. re: El Chevere

                    I was originally also suggesting the Bolognese or the marinara + added meatballs at Bencotto, but they don't offer spaghetti. And with meatballs added it would come to almost $20. So I edited it out.

                    Neither restaurant is old school, of course. Like I said to ipse, looks like I mis-fired. Should have picked up on it when I got to the "homey" part.

                    On quick read I thought "old school" was referring to the dish, not the restaurant.

                    Later I added a +1 to your suggestion as well as Alan408's and DougOLis'.