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Ruffino's Spaghetti House, Low-Level Italian on Lee Highway in North Arlington - Open Anew


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I had not eaten here in a good 20 years, but I had it on my list of places to reconnect with and hopefully rave about. Looks like I'll have to wait until it reopens.

I used to be able to walk to this place nearly 30 years ago when I lived in Arlington. Same with the recently closed Alpine. Ruffino's was kid-friendly, in the sense that my son, who is now 27, could be strapped into a high chair and be allowed to cover himself with spaghetti and red sauce top-to-bottom. The meal here was good, hearty and inexpensive, and I suspect it hasn't changed much over the years.

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It's starting to look abandoned, as I have not seen work done on it for awhile and there is just a sign with a number on the door and no letter that I could see in a drive-by. Has anyone gotten a closer look or more details?

The front door was open and I saw someone working in there yesterday or today. I have been up and down that road so much I honestly cannot remember which day it was.

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I typically feel bad writing a bad review, especially in this economy, but this place deserves it. We've lived near Ruffinos for 10 years and just visited for the first time. We're talking lasagna with no-boil noodles and a piece of kraft cheese slapped on top, prepackaged mystery meatballs, garlic bread with absolutely no hint of garlic. The food was insulting and I got the impression that the staff knows it.

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I read your review (very interesting by the way) and now am curious as to what you saw in the kitchen that caused you to mutter?

The layout, the equipment, and some of the ingredients (cans, plastic jars, etc.). It wasn't enough to form anything but an initial harumph, but it proved to be pretty accurate.

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I have mixed feelings about this place.  I used to be a regular in the 70s/80s.  Remember the juke box that used to play Dean Martin's That's Amore.  To this day, when I hear that song, I always think of Spaghetti House.  I used to love their veal or chicken castellano.  Then I quit going for some reason, don't remember why.

A few years ago, I went back and ordered my beloved castellano for takeout.  It was one of the worst meals I have ever had - burnt, tasteless.  Had to throw it out.  Never been back since.  My nextdoor neighbor, who is very picky, however, loves their manicotti.  So I am torn, do I try their manicotti?  Did I come on a bad day?  Having a checkered tablecloth Italian place near me is great, but I am afraid to try it again.

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2 hours ago, hopsing said:

I have mixed feelings about this place.  I used to be a regular in the 70s/80s.  Remember the juke box that used to play Dean Martin's That's Amore.  To this day, when I hear that song, I always think of Spaghetti House.  I used to love their veal or chicken castellano.  Then I quit going for some reason, don't remember why.

A few years ago, I went back and ordered my beloved castellano for takeout.  It was one of the worst meals I have ever had - burnt, tasteless.  Had to throw it out.  Never been back since.  My nextdoor neighbor, who is very picky, however, loves their manicotti.  So I am torn, do I try their manicotti?  Did I come on a bad day?  Having a checkered tablecloth Italian place near me is great, but I am afraid to try it again.

I would dare it with you, I haven't been back in years, but have been wondering...

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Although I had a bad experience here some years back, I gave the new owners a try.  Verdict:  decent, good enough to be added to our rotation for weeknight carryout.  I had eggplant parmesan with linguini and that was pretty good.  Eggplant was homemade not frozen.  Husband had fried calamari and spaghetti with meatballs and meat sauce.  He also liked his meal.  We shared a tiramisu which was very good.  The spaghetti sauce is not super-garlicky like it was in the old days which is a relief.  The mom&pop owners are friendly and eager to make a success of this restaurant.  Inside is renovated and inviting - hope to eat inside one day.  I wish the new owners the best of luck and I will try to patronize them regularly (easily done as they are just up the road from us).

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