(Pastamichi is now closed. This post was written in 2007.)
The best thing about Pastamichi in West Salem is it's location. When you cross over the Marion Street bridge into Polk County, Pastamichi is the first thing you see. Veer left at the bottom of the bridge and pull into the parking lot on the right. I say this because it's always difficult to figure out which way to go when you get to that intersection. Inside, Pastamichi is clean and modestly decorated with photographs for sale by local artists. When you first sit down, you feel like this could be a good experience. The menu has an array of modern Italian classics like pizza margherita, fettucini puttanesca, and chicken piccata along with a number of steak and veal entrees. On this visit I ordered the spinach tortellini with pesto sauce. It was a nice portion and cooked just slightly al dente but I wouldn't say it was mouth watering. This was the third time I've eaten here, each time thinking that I must be ordering the wrong thing. Now, I've concluded that the food is not worth driving over the bridge to eat. I feel bad about this place not being very good because the food looks right but it just doesn't taste authentic. I even tried a meatball from the kids meal and again was very disappointed in the flavor. The service is fine, but I've never eaten at this restaurant when there was more than a couple of tables. Another reason Pastamichi is having trouble attracting a crowd is while we were dining, they started mopping the floors so they could get out early. I may not have noticed but my wife and her super sensitive sniffer gagged at the smell of the chemicals in the industrial strength floor cleaner. She was so upset by this, she said I had to mention it in the blog. I don't want to say Pastamichi is bad but it's definitely not great.