By Jessica Doran
If you haven’t yet had a chance to visit lower Union Street, it’s about time you get there. In addition to the Schenectady staples that have been there for years, (Café NOLA, Manhattan Exchange and the Union Inn) there are now some new restaurants and places to hang out that are in desperate need of some Union College attention.
Marotta’s is the newest Italian spot. It is hands down some of the best Italian food I’ve ever had. Coming from an Italian family, I have always been lucky enough to be privy to the best Italian staples: meatballs, pasta and saucy dishes galore.
That being said, I usually like to stay away from typical Italian places with fake, tomato-covered meats that leave you feeling too full but unsatisfied.
When I first sought out Marotta’s in the spring, I had heard very good things about it, but was still interested to see if it was up to my standards.
We went for a friend’s twenty-first birthday, and were seated in an outdoor patio area with a tent overhead for protection from the sun and/or rain. I looked immediately at the prices on the menu. I thought they were a little steep.
She ordered a drink that was seven dollars, and when it came out, I thought it was a little on the small side for what she had paid. Still, she said it was delicious.
Deciding what to order at an Italian restaurant is always the hardest for me. When I was in Italy with my family on vacation, I switched off between pizza and pasta for each meal. And while I had heard great things about Marottas’ pizza, I figured I could get a decent pizza at a lot of places in town.
Marotta’s has two variations of their menu: a normal paper menu and heir menu with pictures on an iPad at each table.
The pictures offered a different way to choose your dinner. Being able to see what you would be eating is a great advantage for those, who like me, find it very difficult to choose.
I opted for a pasta dish, the rigatoni alla vodka. Rigatoni is my favorite type of pasta because it’s large enough to hold all of the sauce in the noodle. I was more than excited for a good meal.
I was not disappointed in the slightest. The rigatoni was cooked perfectly al dente (which means “to the bite” in Italian) and the sauce was unique. It was cooked with red pepper flakes, making it both spicy and sweet in the cream sauce. This was a welcome surprise, heightening my dining experience.
My friends’ dishes were equally as pleasing to them, and in the months since my first visit, I have gotten great feedback from all of my friends on their dishes. One friend got a fish dish that she raved about and another friend got a chicken dish, which although she thought would be different from the description she read, was greatly enjoyable.
Sometimes, however, Marotta’s can be a little too popular. There have been instances in which I have had to wait a long time, or have been turned away because they have too many people who want to get into the restaurant.
“I went to Marotta’s on a Saturday night last week. The wait was two hours long, and their only option was for me and my friend to sit at the bar and wait. It was pouring rain outside, so I had to leave. It was a dissapointment because I love Marotta’s,” said Samantha Tyler ‘14.
I’ve never ordered dessert at Marotta’s. The meals are just so large that it’s impossible for me to imagine eating dessert afterwards!
Although on the pricier side for a college student’s budget, I would recommend Marotta’s to any student who is in the mood for a truly delicious and homemade meal.