Carmella’s Cafe

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
Comments: No Comments
Published on: October 17, 2010

New Hartford is the original Carmella’s Cafe location. My fiancé recalls when there was a Carmella’s in North Syracuse, but it has since closed down. The website mentioned it was created as a chain. This restaurant is trying to hard to be an old time Italian restaurant, but it doesn’t have the authentic look and feel. They had classic music playing similar to Frank Sinatra and tables covered with red and white or green and white checkered table clothes. In the back of the restaurant the workers make the pasta fresh by hand; that’s about the only authentic feel this place has.

We were led to the back of the restaurant and seated right next to the computers the servers use to cash people out. It was somewhat awkward because there was always someone right behind us at the computers. I should have requested a different table, but there weren’t too many in this back section available. It seemed like they really wanted to keep the front of the store empty it seemed.

Our waiter was friendly enough, although overall I felt a little rushed with our meal. We got there for a late lunch and decided to go for the early bird special. This included an entrée, a house salad or soup, drink (soda, coffee or tea), and ice cream. There are about several options options for each price point of $8.99 (5 options), $10.99 (4 options), and $11.99 (3 options).

I went for chicken riggies, which I was told is a local dish (an $11.99 dish) with the house salad and tomato basil dressing. This dressing was similar to a vinaigrette, and was delicious. My fiancé got the cheddar cheese soup with oyster cracker and the baked lasagna (a $10.99 special).

The chicken riggies had a thick, creamy, red sauce similar to alfredo sauce. There were large pieces of sweet red peppers, tomatoes, onions, chicken, and olives. It had some kick to it from hot peppers mixed in. At one point I had a larger piece of hot pepper that threw me off, but overall the meal was pretty tasty.

My fiancé described the cheddar cheese soup as similar to fondue. He’s a cheese lover so that was a good thing in his book. He described his baked lasagna as good, but different. Instead of typical tomato sauce it was covered in what seemed more like tomato paste. It was just lasagna pasta, ricotta cheese, and meat. No vegetables, mozzarella, or parmesean cheese. We both agreed that we usually enjoy lasagna with more substance and cheese. In conclusion, he decided it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t like his mom’s.

Carmella’s Cafe serves fresh bread and garlic butter, both I believe are made at the restaurant. The bread was soft and delicious. The butter had some extra flavor with the garlic and was pretty tasty. The server kindly offered us second servings of the bread mid-meal, which ended up in our to-go boxes for later.

For dessert we had the option of two scoops of chocolate or vanilla ice cream. We both went for chocolate, which turned out to be a rich and creamy ice cream.

The portion sizes for the entrees are very large, especially for being specials. They included a lot for one price. I was pretty pleased with the meal, and we had leftovers for lunch the next day! If we are in the area again, I’d enjoy stopping for another meal.

Top Pro: Their pasta and bread is fresh, made from scratch!
Top Con: Where we were seated was awkward, and overall I felt the meal was rushed.

Restaurant: Carmella’s Cafe. 8530 Seneca Tpke, New Hartford, NY
Phone: (315) 797-3350


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