Just had the chicken parmagiana at Arcata... I'm not a terribly fussy eater but I know when something is homemade or when the cook uses 'real' ingredients (i.e. tomatoes and not tomato paste). The sauce was overly sweet (corn syrup) and lacked flavour. My initial reaction was that it was bottled sauce. It's not difficult to make real spaghetti sauce - it just takes real tomatoes, some garlic and maybe a little onions, plus fresh seasonings. That's not what I tasted here.
The people in the pizzeria were very friendly, and the pasta itself was cooked 'al dente'. The chef made a point of letting me know the pasta was cooked 'fresh'. To me that means the pasta is homemade (it wasn't, but I guess that's asking too much of a fast-food Italian restaurant).
Also there could have been a lot more chicken in the dish, and I could hear that the breast was being deepfried (no self respecting Italian chef deep fries this - it should be gently pan fried - this isn't too complicated, either).
Anyway, my expectations were too high, obviously. I'll keep looking for a better Italian experience, I guess.
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