Sherman's Food Adventures: Anton`s Pasta Bar

Anton`s Pasta Bar

If you ever hear any conversation about Anton's, there are 2 things that will always come up - big portions and lineups. There has been a constant lineup on Hastings Street in Burnaby since Anton's moved here in 1989. I remember visiting Anton's for the first time in the early 90's and was overwhelmed by the amount of food on my plate. However, since that first time and subsequent visits, I have not been convinced that I actually enjoy Anton's pasta.

Well, I paid another visit today with the family for lunch. I can't really go with the family during dinner since the kids would protest waiting in the cold for an hour. We arrived just as it opened at 11:30am and got seated right next to the front window. I was quite pleased since it is the perfect spot to take good photos (lots of light). Looking over the lunch menu, you'll find that most of the pastas are $10.95. You'd think that it was a killer deal since it is cheaper than dinner prices; sadly, the portions are not remotely close to dinner size. I've had the dinner size before and there was no way I could finish it. Although there was no lineup, lunch is still quite busy at Anton's. We decided to order some garlic bread (it's more like garlic toast) to go with our pasta, despite the fact you get complimentary Portuguese buns as a starter.

After some indecisiveness (too many choices!), I chose the Linguine Alla Vongole, which is essentially linguine with clams. You can choose cream, tomato or clear white wine sauce for the pasta. I opted for a creamy tomato sauce. Viv decided on the Penne Alla Calabrese, which is penne with Italian sausage in a tomato sauce. Despite what I said about the lunch portions, it is still a decent amount of food. However, I can't seem to understand why they put so much sauce with their pasta. I remember that to be the case in the past, and this time was no exception. If you had placed all the pasta and sauce in a larger bowl, it could pass for Chunky soup. When I had finished my pasta, there was so much sauce left in the bowl, that it could have been mistakened for Manhattan clam chowder. That was not the only issue with the pasta. The pasta itself is homemade and it has a rustic feel to it; but it was a bit too doughy and mushy for my liking. Moreover, I could see the clams; but, curiously there was little clam taste (maybe they needed more clam juice in the sauce?).

I honestly didn't really enjoy my pasta. I kept longing for the pastas on Commercial Drive. Viv had somewhat of the same problem with her pasta as well. The penne wasn't too bad; however, her pasta was swimming in sauce which was quite salty. I guess if you like sauce, then Anton's is your restaurant of choice. The one positive was the service, it was pretty good. Our server was always available and refilled our drinks expeditiously. However, this visit to Anton's confirms my previous thoughts about the place. It is overrated and I'm not sure if the portion size can mask the fact that it's mediocre food.

The Good:
- Large portions
- Lots of selection
- Service is good

The Bad:
- Food is mediocre at best
- Long lineups

Anton's Pasta Bar
4260 Hastings Street
Burnaby, B.C.

Business Hours:
11:30am - 10:30pm (Mon - Thu)
11:30am - 11:00pm (Fri & Sat)
4:00pm - 10:00pm (Sun)

Anton's Pasta Bar on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

I still have not been to Anton's...seems like I'm the only one in my group of friends that's never been.

I've known about it since bout that's..5-6 years ago. Jeez...did you ever get the pen for finishing dinner?

Sherman Chan said...

What? I get a pen??? I guess I don't get one, cuz it was lunch... I couldn't finish dinner anyways. LOL.

Jon said...

You wrote that you "kept longing for the pastas on Commercial Drive". Are there any particular pasta restaurants on the Drive that you are fond of?

Sherman Chan said...

As much I loathe their service and small portions, I like the pastas at Marcello.

Anonymous said...

God, I totally agree! What is the hype?! I remember when I was a teenager, Anton's was a place to try out. But now having a little bit more life experience, why would you want to stand in the elements for pasta mush?! Did the chefs miss the lesson in cooking pasta till it is al dente?

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