66 Comment

  • No, it’s not worth waiting even five minutes. I think the lines up the street cause an artificial demand for this place. It’s been going on for years. It’s a sort of tourist trap, but instead of families from Iowa, it’s pulling in kids from Fairfax and Gaithersburg who don’t know any better, and never really have a reason to return after they realize how dumb they were to wait an hour to get in.

  • my household is divided on the issue. my husband loves it and says it’s totally worth waiting an hour+. i disagree – i think it’s pretty good, but certainly not *that* good! maybe worth waiting 15 or 30 mins tops?

  • Ah, the haters. It’s worth to stand in line just to say that you’ve tried the place. Kind of like Mama’s in San Francisco. The food is incredibly simple, the price is unbeatable, and the experience is fun if you’re in line with good company.

  • Not worth the wait, never has been. The most irksome thing is that there are vacant tables in the back reserved for “family and friends” while the masses wait.


    the food is fine. but honestly, it’s pasta. you can make pasta at home.

    what is not fine is that they make the dining experience about as inhospitable as possible. you wait forever. when you get to the front of the line, they take their time seating you (while empty tables sit unused). the service is curt. they only take cash. they’re open 20 hours a week. everything about the place makes me feel like i’m a nuisance to them.

    honestly, i haven’t been in a few years, so maybe it’s gotten better. but i somehow doubt it.

  • Go to Olazzo’s in Silver Spring. Worth the time to make the trip for much better food.

  • Meh. We live right around the corner and avoid the place. Calling it “mediocre” would be generous; “sucks” would be about right. The food is so-so on a good day, as the taste and consistency suggest that the pasta is either frozen or out of a box. And the service is equally satisfying: customers are alternately rushed or ignored, and the snotty management can’t be bothered with niceties such as taking reservations or accepting credit cards (after all, if they had to pay the transaction fee for every purchase, they’d never be able to afford to use fresh pasta…oh, wait, they DON’T use fresh pasta, because according to our waiter it’s too much trouble). Getting picked out of the line to finally sit down will be the high point of your meal at Pasta Mia.

  • Adams Morgan’s absolute most inhospitable establishment.

    After treating their cash only paying customers so terribly, they have this haughty attitude that you should have to thank them for serving you at their leisure after only waiting an hour or two for over priced pasta and such awful service.

    I honestly cannot comprehend the long wait lines.

    Worthy of an episode on Seinfeld:

    Pasta Natzis ! Spaghetti Natzis !

    I cannot overstate how inhospitable both the help and the arrogant owners are, not only to their paying customers, but with their neighbors whom I know as well.

  • +1

    Masochists united.

  • I used to live two blocks from there, and we went every six months of so, usually when hosting visitors from out of town. I’d get in line 45 minutes before opening, and the rest of the party would show up as the doors opened. Yeah, service is what it is, but the food is good, the portions are HUGE, and the house wine is cheap. We always viewed it as an event, and we were never disappointed. It’s not fancy, but it hits the spot sometimes.

    I need to go back there again soon. At least I won’t have to stand in line with the people who post on this blog….

  • Is it worth standing in line for an hour at Olive Garden?

    Whatever the deal is, people have been standing in line there the entire time I’ve lived in D.C. So, my lack of regard notwithstanding, it is worth it to many people.

    Mostly makes me think a competing decent pasta place nearby could make some money.

    Somebody call the guys at Olive Garden.

  • +2

    Yes, it’s “Pasta Mia” alright.

    They make you feel like the pasta is all theirs even after you’ve paid cash for it and swallowed it.

    I don’t understand the draw or comprehend the lines either.

    They are tyrannical hosts of their domain there. It’s inexplicable given all the other choices in proximity.

    The long one to two hour wait, on weekends in particular, is made felt worse with added insult to injury when you see how as a cash paying customer you are so valued when once at long last seated there you see empty tables reserved for “relatives and special guests”.

    I will not share or join the masochists that frequent there at Pasta Mia for over priced pasta and awful service. No exaggeration either. It’s truly just awful.

    Yes, Pasta Nazis indeed.

    An excellent opportunity for another pasta restaurant to occupy one of the vacant spaces along that corridor and drive these people far away.

    Pasta Mia, yeah right.

  • I’ve been once–it was alright. The cash-only thing was a bit of a surprise to me, especially for “meh” service and basic gnocchi. We didn’t have to wait to get in, but we practically had to tackle our waiter to get our check.

    So, is there a place in DC with outta-this-world Italian food?

  • Absolutely worth the wait. I wouldn’t wait more than 45 minutes for a table – meaning you have to get there early, but it is amazing food. Not just “meh” as many people here are saying. I honeslty have not found any other Italian place in DC with the same quality of food and simplicity. I don’t want a gourmet bowl of pasta, but I also don’t want Olive Garden. This is legit, authentic fresh pasta served simply and abundantly. The experience is excellent as well – the wait staff will not pander to you and you can’t make any substitutions with things on the menu. I suppose this will inevitably turn some people off, but it makes me like the place more. It really is as good as those people waiting in line know it is.

  • Fazoli’s quality Italian without the convenience and low price.

    BTW, DC needs a Fazoli’s. Please. Please.

    That place would make a killing on downtown lunches.


    Put it right next to the Arby’s, Culver’s, and Taco Bell/Pizza Hut that we also need.

    • Holy Mother! Thank you for calling Culver’s!! We need one sooo bad, and it’s a franchise so it wouldn’t be difficult. Not quite Kopps in Milwaukee but still great frozen custard. Mmmmm, I’m hungry for a butter burger now!

  • Absolutely support what AW said near the top of this thread: Olazzo is an infinitely better experience, and I have never eaten at Olazzo and walked away feeling that service lacked.

    I’ve only been to the Olazzo in Bethesda, but it is good to know that they maintained the quality service after they went all Discovery Channel and moved to SS.

    • Note: inconsistent with my Discovery Channel comparison, I believe Olazzo has locations in both Bethesda and SS.

  • “Yogi Berra Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”

    Yogi Berra

  • Absolutely worth the wait. The only place you will find compatible pasta is in Napili, Italy. I get urges for Pasta Mia. I also go to Olazzo, but its an entirely different menu.

  • Never understood waiting in line to give people money, but I don’t understand half the $h!t that goes on in this town. More power to you if you think it’s worth the wait, but if I’m hungry, I want to eat, not stand in line for 45 minutes.

    There used to be some decent cheap Italian places downtown like Gusti’s, and that one up in Cleveland Park whose name escapes me. Now I usually end up at either Luigi’s or Bistro Italiano. It’s not Babbo, but there isn’t a line.

  • Italian food in general never seems worth a wait to me, it’s too simple to make at home. Went to Pasta Mia once and the food was, like a lot of people are saying, “ok.” I didn’t dislike the food, it was just that it was simply pasta, which I’ve had before. I had been told portions were huge but I ate my whole plate. Not worth the wait, ever.

  • I don’t consider the value of the pasta, wine or service to be worth the cost or the wait.

  • Not worth the wait. Pure hype on this place. And yeah the owners/servers are pretty obnoxious. Which is always fine if the product is amazing. But to me it was mediocre pasta and hideous ambiance. I can only assume that this place has so much hype around it that it’s new people in line each time. I don’t know many tried it and went back. And certainly don’t know of anyone who goes often. That says a lot considering there aren’t any other close by options for italian. I live a block away and wish there were.

  • Cliff- your knowledge of pasta autentica is pretty impressive. How was the pasta in Napili, Maui, Hawaii? Probably not as good as Naples or Napoli only if you actually speak Italian.

  • I tried it two or three times because it came so highly recommended by neighbors in AM. Every times, I was very disappointed, the sauce tasted like they had added way too much sugar. I did get to see them sneak Dick Gephardt in the back door to so he could avoid the line (ok, that gives away how long ago my last visit was, but the line was the same).

  • Surprised how many “no”s there are here… we really like PM and make a habit of going once every two months or so… with a group of four people, it’s great – they don’t rush you out of the tables, the food is decent and plentiful, and the carafes of wine are cheap. It’s a neat little place, and the slow service doesn’t bother us because we plan on it.

    Plus, I love the Pasta Mia lady with her little pink scarf. I want to be her when I grow up.

    PS – don’t wait for an hour. Even on weekends, having one person in line at 5:45 is usually sufficient. The rest just have to show up before 6:30.

  • This place makes me think of Thai X-ing. Another place that has decent food, but is nowhere near what you would expect from waiting that long. People in this city give into hype to much, or they just like lines. Just because you’re waiting forever for something doesn’t make it good.

  • Olive Garden is better, sadly!

  • When I first moved to the District, I asked friends and coworkers which restaurants I must try out. Many suggested Pasta Mia.

    However, I made the stupid mistake of checking this place out with a friend in the dead of winter. We thought we were being smart in choosing a time when people would not be willing to wait outside.

    Needless to say 90 minutes later, we were seated in the warm restaurant. But apparently, the owner’s good friends were also dining so it took them forever to serve our starving selves. And, when the food finally did arrive, it did not meet my expectations at all and wish I had gotten a jumbo slice.

    Disclaimer – I’ve only had a handful (not even) of bad experiences and this was one of them. But I think the circumstances of the night (freezing cold, focus of service on owner’s friends, etc.) attributed to it, meaning I could have visited on a unique night and therefore had a unique experience.

  • Long established Giovanni’s Trattu Italian Cuisine

    in South Dupont Circle at 1823 Jefferson Place, NW


  • I’ve always wondered, and maybe PoP can start a thread similar to this about places like this in DC that draw insanely huge crowds but a good part of that is a follow the crowd mentality…

    Just around the corner from Pasta Mia, “The Diner” always has huge crowds on weekends, when there are plenty of places around town that serve just as good if not better brunch with virtually no wait.

    Is Lauriol Plaza worth the insane wait there?

    Where else?

  • Only went once, and didn’t hate it, but never felt the need to go back. The comments about the indifferent/rude service are spot on. But obviously they’ve hit a formula that works for a lot of people, so more power to them.

  • Used to be cheap if i recall correctly, now, not worth it.

  • I’m shocked by some of the reviews on here. I think this place is fantastic and a great value. Flavors are simple and delicate, price is extremely reasonable. An hour waiting in a line is pushing it but I’d wait a half hour no doubt.

  • I’m shocked you find $14 pasta and cheese entrees are extremely reasonable ?

  • Definitely awesome food! An hour wait is a bit much, but 30 to 45 is well worth it. You may want to consider bringing a road soda to help pass the time!

  • I love this restaurant, but I don’t have to wait in line as the owners are good friends of some of my friends. The owners are pretty nice. It’s completely a family run place. The son waits tables. The mom is the hostess. wells she’s more like a grandma. And her husband cooks everything.

    They no longer make the pasta fresh in-house; they get it somewhere else. I don’t remember. But they do make all the sauces.

    I think the food here is pretty good. Not as good as the food in Italy, but good nonetheless. I also like how the wine is decent and really cheap.

    That said, I would never wait 90 minutes for a place like this. But then again, I would not wait more than 15 minutes for any place.

  • I say absolutely. The owners are adorable and the food is delicious!

  • Agree with much of what was said: rude and slow service, great food (but this was several years ago when the pasta was homemade), cheap wine. Don’t think I would do it again though – not a big fan of waiting in line to eat OK food. Plus it seems like I was bothering them by being there…

  • i’ve been there a few times with no wait at all, then again i usually go when we are happening by around 6:30 and there is not much of a line. while i wouldn’t wait too long for pasta mia, i do think the portions are great and the house wine is a steal. not amazing food but pretty darn good. but yea, the “pasta nazi” element is no good.

  • Been twice in 15 years. Liking Pasta Mia is a bit like liking Barry Manilow. Just to be blunt: anyone who likes this place doesn’t like food.

    The sheer fact that this place has lines, when you could walk down the street and get a table at the late great San Marco down the street was Adams-Morgan’s longest running joke.

  • Definitely not worth it. Boil some barilla and throw some San Marzano canned tomatoes in a saucepan with garlic, salt and pepper. The quality is far better than Pasta Mia, and you will have paid about a tenth of the cost. I haven’t found any good Italian food in DC (will try Olazzo), but the relatively new Facci in Laurel is pretty terrific and inexpensive. It’s a trek, but at least you’re spending the time in transit instead of standing on the street waiting for a dramatically inferior product!

  • Meh is not a word. cut it out.

  • I’ve lived in Adams Morgan for 8 years and I’ve never understood the appeal of this place. The service is terrible, sometimes downright rude, you have to wait forever, the food is meh, loads of fat. Not fresh. Horrible wine. I’ve never not gotten indigestion and always feel annoyed after going here.

    If you want a big inexpensive italian meal and have family from out of town, go to Bucca Di Peppo down Conn Ave. They’ll treat you right, you can wait inside like a human (although there is loads of seating), and have a good drink. And pay with a credit card.

  • Definitely not worth the wait. The first and only time I went, I ordered a mushroom pasta–the grit in my teeth made it obvious the mushrooms had’t been washed.

    Rude waiters, nasty wine, bad food, long wait=waste of time.

  • Meh is too generous… deserves more of a grunt, snicker, snort or rolling of the eyes.

    C’mon PM apologists and defenders — don’t you have anything better to do with your time?

  • Sorry @JR — that wasn’t supposed to be a reply to you 🙂

  • Food is pretty good, for the portions if nothing else.
    Been there twice, second experience will probably keep me from going back. Waited in line for over an hour. When my roommate and I were amongst the first people seated, I watched a party of four seated at the same time order, eat, pay and leave before we had even gotten our salad (50 min). And I got the ‘theres nothing we can do, you just don’t understand’ look when I politely pointed out this fact.

    Food: 7/10
    Dining Experience: 0/10

  • These people are making money hand over fist.

  • i’ve been boycotting this place since 2000. wonder if they’ve noticed? it was decent in the mid-to-late 90s, but never worth an hour’s wait!

  • You gotta love the Goodfella comment on Pasta Mia by ZCF at 10:49 AM:

    “I love this restaurant, but I don’t have to wait in line as the owners are good friends of some of my friends. The owners are pretty nice.

    They do make all the sauces.

    I think the food here is pretty good. Not as good as the food in Italy, but good nonetheless. I also like the wine. That said, I would never wait 90 minutes for a place like this. But then again, I would not wait more than 15 minutes for any place.”

  • Worth the price? Sure. Worth the wait? Nope.

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