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Uh Oh, Is The End Now Nigh for Pasta Mia?

by Prince Of Petworth March 8, 2016 at 10:30 am 26 Comments

1790 Columbia Road, NW

Back in February of 2014 there was a one year reprieve after Pasta Mia almost permanently closed in January 2014. Then in January of 2015 a ten year lease was signed. I don’t think anyone thought they’d actually stay the whole ten years but it looks like it’s gonna be sooner rather than later. Stay tuned. And go get some while you still can.

pasta mia

  • andy

    My impression when we lived close by was that this place was out of sync with what a lot of people want, in that it was a line out the door for suburban-size plates of pasta. Was it ever not that?

    • Christopher Lee

      Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded. – Yogi Berra

    • MtP

      Yes, it was (and is) not that. It is run by an amazing older Italian couple and is the type of hole in the wall place that is so rare here. I go there only about two or three times a year, but the woman always remembers me and take the time to talk. The homemade sauces are delicious, and you get a TON of food, which is great for leftovers. No, it isn’t gourmet, the service is surly, and it is packed and loud, but it is really a one-of-a-kind place in the city. It will be missed.

      • Agreed. I’ll miss this place when it’s gone.

    • neighbor

      It was a treasure about 15-20 years. They had decent hand made pasta for a reasonable price, and at that time food options in the city were pretty limited. Over time their prices have risen, quality has diminished, and a ton of alternatives have popped up.
      It was once an Adams Morgan institution, but like their late neighbor Mixtec, Pasta Mia got ahead of itself in terms of pricing and behind in the times in food.

      • Another neighbor

        I completely agree. They used to make their mozzarella cheese in house and it was fantastic. Now it’s just the same stuff you can get anywhere. I used to go all the time, but haven’t been in years. I suppose I already miss the old Pasta Mia, but won’t miss the current one quite as much.

  • AnonMD

    Ugh, Greenhill is the worst! They own a good portion of Wheaton MD and many of their storefronts are vacant b/c small businesses can’t afford the rent. Lots of businesses that make a go for it don’t end up making it very long unless they are a 7-11 or a mattress store.

  • anon

    I love Pasta Mia! I’ve always gone when they open and have never had to wait in line. The food is fresh, delicious, and an awesome value – one bowl of pasta can feed me for 2 days!

  • “And go get some while you still can.”
    When we’ve gone the pasta has been worse than what you could get by simply going to Harris Teeter and getting a box of Bertolli and jar of Classico and warming them up. It’s only saving grace is that the portions have always been large, but if it’s no good who cares how much they give you?

    • anon

      That’s pretty crazy. The pasta is very good. Maybe not Fiola or Italy but to compare it to supermarket pasta is ludicrous.

      • It’s too often overcooked and gummy, and the sauces are bland beyond recognition to their namesakes. Of the top 5 worst pastas I’ve had in DC I would be surprised if at least 3 didn’t come from Pasta Mia. There are almost no herbs or spices added to any of the dishes.

        • dcd

          I used to live 2 blocks away, and sadly I have to agree with Justin. It’s just not good. Now, back in the day when we had no money and pasta was $10 per plate, combined with the not good but cheap, house wine, we went a fair bit. But I have not been in years, and if I’m driving somewhere and fighting for parking for dinner, it likely isn’t there. That said, we’ll go once before it closes for nostalgia’s sake. My daughter will get a kick out of it (though not waiting in line).

    • MtP

      This is very surprising for me. I’ll give you that the pasta itself might not always be perfect, but every sauce I have had there has been amazing, and I always find it very flavorful. Somewhat related, worst pasta dish I have had in DC was probably at La Tomate. Now THAT is one “local gem” that we can do without.

      • AMDCer

        Agreed – La Tomate is awful. I’ve always assumed that it’s only business from the Hilton that keeps it open.

        • Hill Denizen

          Agree. La Tomate is terrible. I have no idea how it’s lasted this long.

        • AG

          It has to be the Hilton. I staffed a big association meeting last year and all these out-of-T owners were talking about going to La Tomate. I was like, “Noooo! Why didn’t you ask me????”

      • Thankfully I’ve not had the displeasure of dining there. It looked like all the execution woes of Pasta Mia without the at least added charm of being owned by a nice charming bitter old lady.

        • OGR

          Yes, I give thanks for this, as well.

      • dcd

        Really? Any one of my red sauces is orders of magnitude better than any red sauce at Pasta Mia. I don’t often make cream-based sauce at home, but I’m pretty sure I could do better than the grease-laden mushroom sauce they serve, for instance.

    • artemis

      I have to agree with you, Justin. I always thought Pasta Mia was extremently overrated.

  • HiItsNino

    I’ve eaten at Pasta Mia just about once a month or more for about 15 years and never had a bad meal. Its as authentic as you will get in the US without going to Italy. They are closing at the end of the month, and few restaurants can claim they have had as long a run as they have while maintaining standing room only. This gem will be sorely missed.

    • neighbor

      “Its as authentic as you will get in the US without going to Italy”
      That is demonstrably and obviously false. They are fine, but they were much better fifteen years ago.

  • Emily

    I only ate there once, and the food was delicious! However, I also saw a roach moseying along on the wall, so that was interesting.

  • Rufus

    I really want to like this place. I lived around the corner for about five years and only went a handful of times. I’m from a small, western town, so large portion sizes are the way to my heart. But still, the food was just okay. The pasta is not made in-house, and they were really weird about it when I asked. That, coupled with the line and cash only policy, just doesn’t do it for me. That said, DC seriously needs some more low-key Italian places.

  • Nancy

    Only partially related to this – I see the MixTex sign in the background of one pic. I thought they’d closed (and I never go by there everyday anymore, having moved downtown)

    • Yes, Mixtec has been closed for a while.


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