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“Hidden Gem”
Review of Spaghetti Jim's Market & Cafe - CLOSED

Spaghetti Jim's Market & Cafe
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: Fresh, housemade pasta served up the way you like it! Try our Spaghetti & Meatballs, Papardelle Bolognese, Eggplant Parmesan or any of our amazing made from scratch meals. Dine in, take out or take it home and make it yourself. We're not fine dining, we're just good eating. And... we cater! Menus change daily and are published on Spaghetti Jim's Facebook page or call us for today's mouth-watering specials!
Gaylord
Level Contributor
41 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem”
Reviewed May 19, 2013 via mobile

This restaurant is hidden in a strip mall, but the service and food are on par with any first class Italian eatery. The eggplant Parmesan is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure of eating. And the pasta is to die for. So fresh and truly artisan in it's presentation. Don't let the location scare you off. Wonderful food.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Sherrie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

87 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    46
    21
    9
    6
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Saginaw, Michigan
2 reviews
“Love this Place!!!”
Reviewed May 16, 2013

We made our first visit to Spaghetti Jim's on May 14, 2013. We loved the food, especially the vegetarian menu items! The waitress was super friendly and helpful, the food was delicious, and serving sizes were ample.

Yes it is a casual atmosphere, but that is part of the charm of this place. We will definitely return the next time we are in the Traverse City area.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank happydays82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Level Contributor
35 reviews
27 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Truly a diamond in the rough”
Reviewed May 10, 2013

Went for a midweek lunch based on the stellar reviews. We were in no way disappointed. Dishes were delicious (papardelle with sausage and sweet peppers and a daily special of linguine with pesto, tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella) - even the homemade Caesar dressing was above average. Save room for the tiramisu (or likely whatever they are featuring for desserts that day). Staff/owners could not have been more welcoming, and the fact that it's a bargain adds yet another reason to head out of downtown TC to find this little strip mall near the airport to discover this gem.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank lovestotravel616
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lake Leelanau, Michigan
Level Contributor
76 reviews
57 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Best Pasta in Traverse City”
Reviewed April 20, 2013

I first became familiar with Spaghetti Jim's when it was profiled in "edible Grand Traverse." I had never heard of it or of the pasta Jim makes there. Since, I've eaten there perhaps 10 times and the place just never fails to amaze.

The pasta, as advertised, is very, very good. I especially like the papardelle, although my wife is more fond of the spaghetti. It's impossible to choose a bad pasta here as they are all made by Jim and his staff.

There is no denying that part of the sheer pleasure of the restaurant is how thoroughly unpretentious it is. It's tiny! It has about 6 tables, but only one of them can seat more than 4 people and most are better for two. It is rustic enough to genuinely conjure memories or small family restaurants I frequented in visits to rural France or parts or South America. In Italy I suppose it would be referred to as an "osteria" although here the emphasis is all about the food rather than the wine. As my references imply, Jim's in not fine dining decor. If you are looking for something like that, try another place. Should you need a table for 5 or more be sure to call ahead and ask for a reservation. If you get one you'll sit, literally, in the kitchen!

Unlike high priced New York or Chicago restaurants, however, a kitchen table does not mean a high price tag. This is the other great feature of this restaurant. it is downright cheap! Most of their pasta plates, which contain huge portions by the way, are less than $10. You can't really even call the prices "reasonable." "Reasonable" would imply a much higher price given the quality and quantity of the food. It's just plain old "cheap!"

Never has price had less correlation to quality. The pasta has all the qualities that you associate with homemade. Artisinal is another word you could use to describe it. It is thick and rich and with that feel to the bite that evidences it is perfectly cooked. And did I mention that the sauces are all homemade also and equally good? Even the dressings for the salad (which comes as a side with each plate) are homemade.

A word about the service. Given the nature of the place, it feels more like you are being given food by a member of your family rather than traditional restaurant service. The waitresses are folksy and easy to talk with. It really helps if you come in the mood to do so.

Recommendations: I personally recommend the Papardella with Sausage and Sweet Peppers. My wife recommends the Spaghetti and Meatballs. I know the meatballs are homemade. I'm not sure about the sausage, but I really don't care since it has that kick of generous herbs that I love.

Do not miss the tiramisu or the key lime pie for dessert! Did I mention they are homemade?

Ok, now a few pieces of advice. This is a pasta and sandwich place. If you are looking for "fancy" Italian, this is not the place to go. It's best to go in the offseason if you are a local. The place gets crowded when all the visitors to the area show up in the summer. Remember, it is tiny. Because of its small size in the winter the tables by the door can get a bit chilly. If you come early you will probably be able to sit in the kitchen, which along with the one big table, has several small ones. The kitchen is always warm. There is no late night dining here - Jim closes the restaurant at 7pm. I recommend getting in by 5:30pm. I know that's a bit early, but that's my advice regardless. Always start your ordering by asking what dessert is available. If they have the tiramisu or the key lime pie, ask them to reserve you a piece! They only make a limited amount and it can be gone by the time you actually get to the dessert portion of your meal. You will note that I indicate in the ratings that the restaurant is "average" for families with children. I do so only because the restaurant is so small. There is no where for them to blow off steam and a screaming baby would affect everyone.

Finally, if you want to enjoy the original Spaghetti Jim's you should visit soon. Rumor has it that Jim is finally going to expand the restaurant to better accommodate the demand.

  • Visited April 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Robert A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Traverse City, Michigan
1 review
“Small Restaurant with Big Flavor”
Reviewed April 17, 2013

This is great tasting pasta with a home cooked feel. Definitely worth a second trip. The staff is warm and welcoming. This was a very pleasant surprise.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Justintraversecity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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