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Pasta Cafe Italian Bistro (Closed)
2331 Sudderth
Ruidoso, NM

Cost: $$$
Accessible: Yes
Additional Locations: Roswell, Carlsbad
Pasta Cafe web site
19 Italian Alcohol: Beer, Wine Best Items: Chicken Cacciatore, Salad, Wine
Chicken Cacciatore:
Mushroom Marsala:
Salad: House Dressing
2-Jun-04 1
Pasta Cafe is a New Mexico mini-chain of medium priced and quality Italian food. Actually if you order a salad (and especially if you order wine) it will fall in the expensive category, however these items are some of the best features of the restaurant.

The Salad was fresh with a delicious house dressing. It is actually rather difficult to find decent salads in the Southwest that live up to the quality routinely found in other parts of the country, but the one at Pasta Cafe fit the bill.

Some great wine is also served. The waiter suggested an Italian wine of which they had received a special shipment, and I will have to say that it was a special treat for me. Although it was not cheap, it seemed bargain priced considering its excellent flavor.

I sampled three entrées, with the Chicken Cacciatore being by far the best (and highly recommended).

The Ravioli was about average for good Italian restaurants, with a tomato sauce containing few spices.

My order of Mushroom Marsala was not what I had hoped or expected it to be. It had a strange flavor, and I just did not think it was good like the other two dishes. Since I was unfamiliar with marsala it was not clear how much was attributable to an error in preparation and how much would have occurred with any version of this dish. Other types of food cooked in wine, however, have not been as unappetizing to me as this one.

While the chicken was quite good, the other two entrées made me think that Pasta Cafe was a mid-range Italian restaurant with average food. The salad and wine, however, definitely seem to be worth seeking out. Service was good, and portion sizes were comfortable (not with over the top quantites of food that either make me uncomfortable or lead me to take some of it home as leftovers). I have thought many times about the Italian wine and wished I could find something of equal quality at other Italian restaurants.

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