The Old Spaghetti Factory, a chain with locations mostly in California and the West, offers cool semi-elegant/medieval/cartoonish surroundings, rock-bottom prices and terrible food. I guess the first two must trump the third because the restaurants always seem to be quite busy.
We first went to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Oakland's Jack London Square. I had seen the ads for it at the Jack London movie theater many times, and had gotten the impression that this was a nice, family-friendly restaurant. Family-friendly it was, but lord, we could not believe how bad the food was. I mean, how hard is it to make simple Italian-American food? Needless to say, we weren't planning to go back but circumstances took us to the Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland, OR.
We had the exact same experience. We liked the surroundings, the service was fine, but the food was quite bad. Mike had the chicken fettuccine alfredo, which was quite bland (he said the chicken was the best part). Michaela, who is no gourmet, enjoyed eating the noodles, however. I had the lasagna, made from some kind of mystery meat. The pasta was a tad undercooked, but it was much better than the fettuccine. Other members of the party had the spaghetti with meat sauce and were even less impressed.
I hope I won't have to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory again, but if I do, I'll order the lasagna again.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
715 S.W. Bancroft St.