Finding myself hanging around an empty campus on a lazy first Saturday of the schoolyear, I decided to head over to the University Mall, hoping that the lack of populace would widen my choices. Thankfuly, I was right, finding a blank canvas of culinary options, with no queues as far as the eye could see. With this new found freedom, I discovered Goodles, a pasta store that was reviewed to me by a fellow classmate who couldn’t get enough of the place. It was time to see if my first recommendation would be as good as it seemed.
- Goodles Classic – P125
- Sausage Arrabiata – P140
- 7-Layer Lasagna™ – P150
- Moroccan Beef Nachos – P65
Goodles is located near the back of the second floor of the University Mall. It seats 40-50 students with 12 four-top tables. Although its gastronomic specialty lies in pasta and noodles, it looks like it would be more suited serving frozen yogurts and the like. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very light and colorful, much like you would find at a Golden Spoon or a California Berry. This is a plus for me, as it gives me the happy demeanor of getting dessert, but the savory satisfaction of eating lunch.
Other features of the restaurant include fast Wi-Fi access for 2 hours with each receipt, and a playfully designed bathroom door that leads (or misleads) to a less than playful looking bathroom. I guess, though, that if you’re playing in the bathroom, you might be the one with problems.
Overall, I enjoyed just being in the restaurant, as it makes me feel a bit uppity, like I’m in the fancy fro-yo store in a strip mall.
In line with their “yogurt store” look and feel, Goodles serves their meals in tall, slightly narrow bowls, much like any of the aforementioned fro-yo places would do. Although it seems like you could be ripped off by that, as it is easy to make a narrow bowl of pasta look full, the servings are still pretty substantial. They may not give you the Italian feast that they advertise on their fliers, but
it’s enough. For each order made (save the side of nachos), one person with a regular appetite could be satisfied for one meal. If it’s just merienda, two people sharing one bowl isn’t out of the question either.
As an appetizer, I ordered what seemed to be their only appetizer on the menu: the Moroccan Beef Nachos. At first, it seemed like a lazy dish put together out of necessity for an appetizer. The fact that they had a Moroccan Beef Pasta only heightened my suspicions. When I tried it, though, I felt like they had actually done a bit of homework on the nachos. The nachos came with a Middle Eastern-spiced ground beef, a dark tomato sauce in place of salsa, and a light sour cream sauce instead of cheese. It tasted like a shawarma and a plate of nachos got together and had a baby. I don’t know exactly how appetizing that sounds to you, but I like both shawarmas and nachos, so I wouldn’t turn down any of their children’s wishes to get in my belly.
After the Moroccan Nachos, I moved on to our first pasta dish: the “Goodles Classic”. Seems like it got the name by being the bestseller, right? I beg to differ. The classic seems to be nothing more than an inexpensive order of simply pasta, prepared in a basic manner. That’s not a knock on it though; classic fresh pastas are delicious, with plenty of garlic, olive oil, fresh tomatoes, and white cheese, each of which tasted fresh and unpretentious. The cheese on this one is especially good.
Sausage Arrabiata was the next on the chopping board, offering a spicy serving of spaghetti noodles with a light tomato-based sauce and small pieces of eggplant and Hungarian sausages dispersed throughout the dish. Or bowl, if you will. This dish was very pleasant on the palate, giving a rich, meaty flavor, with savory tomatoes, and a small kick of spice as it goes down. My only complaint, however, would be more sausage, as I found myself excavating the bowl for porky treasure more than actually eating.
Last on the menu, but not least, was Goodles’ trademark 7-Layer Lasagna™. Now, I’m not sure how high 7 layers should look, but their claims seemed a bit spurious. It only reached about halfway up the bowl. But if that’s 7 layers already, then I guess I can’t really complain. The lasagna was still quite an experience, as it was exactly the flavors you’d expect from Italy: rich tomatoes, gooey cheese, and well-browned beef. My only issue with it was that it was a tad too salty. Still, it tasted good enough to copyright.
On a side note, each pasta dish was served with a thick slice of garlic bread, which had enough butter and garlic flavor to make it a viable side dish on its own. We didn’t buy any drinks, either, as the only ones they advertised were expensive bottles of VitaminWater and imported iced teas. No doubt it would be to make the upscale vibe of the place be felt, but it didn’t agree with my wallet. Instead, I got a cup of water in a container that looked just like the one you would see when you’re sitting in a dentist’s chair. But I guess that’s what’s cool with the kids these days.
In line with Goodles’ attempt to emulate a Fro-Yo restaurant or a Starbuck’s, the staff operated similarly to what you could expect from either of the two businesses. The staff on hand at Goodles is sparse, and all of them are located behind the counter. Instead of actually bringing the food to your table, they will instead shout out “Customer name: Jeremy!” (that is, if your name is Jeremy), forcing you to get off your comfy chair and do some exercise before you get to eat. This would usually be a demerit in my book, as I hate to move or exercise if I can help it. However, the “servers” at Goodles are amiable enough, both at the cashier and at the service counter, so it’s a pleasant enough experience approaching and talking to them. They are also quick to move when a customer leaves to bus tables, which lets me know that they know how to move when they need to. Or maybe they were just Saturday bored.
Restaurant: If I had no idea what Goodles was and what was being served the first time I stepped into the restaurant, I would’ve thought I was getting a frozen yogurt. The noodle house does a great job of making a spacious area with wide tables, easy-on-the-bottom seats, a 2 hour Wi-Fi pass, and a restroom. Rating for the restaurant: 8.5/10.
Food: The noodles were al dente, the sauces were well-seasoned (overseasoned in some cases), and the servings were on par for their price. However, Goodles seems to lact that X-Factor that some foods have that reels you into the store everytime you’re in the area. They did everything pretty well, but didn’t astound as much as I would have liked. Still, with their interesting range of choices, I would definitely go back to try something new. Rating for the food: 8/10.
Staff: As nice and casual as the staff were, they couldn’t save themselves from the wrath that builds up inside me when my buttocks has just built a deep groove in my chair and I have to stand to get to my food. Still, aside from that, I had no complaints. Maybe if I weren’t so lazy, they could’ve moved up the points ladder. Rating for the staff: 7.5/10.
For a first recommendation of where to blog, I’d say that it was pretty successful. I got a good meal at a semi-reasonable price, at a great location with fun company. If you’re a fan of noodles (and good ones. hehe), then Goodles is a must-try destination for you. Even if you’re not a pastahead, it’s a fun place to order an inexpensive bowl of nachos, kick back in a comfy couch, and spend two hours exploiting their wireless fidelity.
Until next time, stay hungry!