Southside Italian food: Pasta Bene vs. Gypsy’s

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We’re talking Southside: People’s Park, late-night, restaurants with diabetes-inducing food. Either you’re sane, or you’re like us and thinking about Pasta Bene and Gypsy’s. Sometimes, when we have those unnatural cravings for Italian food, we find ourselves stuck between the two — pondering which one will have the right dish for us right now and which one has the better atmosphere, along with other comparative thoughts that might somehow set these two restaurants apart. The price ranges might be similar, and the food technically falls under the same category of Italian cuisine — but what sets these two seemingly alike restaurants apart? The Clog investigated.

$$$ 

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Regardless of where you visit, you’re going to end up paying around the same (pay with cash for 10 percent off, pay with card for dirty looks). Pasta Bene pasta dishes range from $7.50 to around $9.95, while Gypsy’s pasta dishes are in the $7.99 to $8.99 arena — so depending on what you order, you’re looking at a difference of a couple of cents, so it’s not really negligible. Yes, we’re all poor college students, but the few cents worth of difference between pasta dishes at these two eateries won’t even be enough to run a load of mismatched laundry that inevitably bleeds color and ruins your whites. Separate your laundry into two piles, and don’t think too hard about price when considering Italian food options here.

Menu choices

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Well, they both serve Italian food. Both menus include pasta, salads, sandwiches and pizza, but Gypsy’s has the upper hand with a calzone included on their menu. So we guess if you’re looking for a calzone, you should stop reading this and just go to Gypsy’s, but for the rest of us, it’s not the biggest deal-breaker or deal-maker. Calzones are cool, but the rest of the menu for both is practically identical. It’s like they’re trying to make comparing tough. That — or capitalistic competition is forcing them to try not to miss out on a market (Pasta Bene, you ought to capture that fleeting calzone-eating market).

Ambiance (cue background music)

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So we suppose it boils down to where you want to sit down and eat. We’d say Pasta Bene has a more sterilized feel to it and has clean, long countertops — if you’re into that sort of thing. Gypsy’s is pretty cozy. With all the yelling, grease and cramped spaces, it’s far more reminiscent of home or Hell’s Kitchen or some place where nobody attended a kindergarten that reminded them of the importance of using “indoor voices.” But for us, it really depends on the mood. When we’re looking to have a relaxed conversation, we’re all for Pasta Bene, but when we’re feeling a bit rowdy, we head over to Gypsy’s.

Is it really fair to say that one place is better than the other? Probably not. They’re both more appealing in their own ways, and unless you’re calzone-obsessed or presumptuously far too good for Asian Ghetto food, the choice is not easy to make. We’re not eager to chalk this up as a tie, but Pasta Bene and Gypsy’s are both respectable in their own Italian food ways.

Image Sources: Sophie PurseigleHakan Dahlstrom, Sarah R, Mark Kortum via Creative Commons

Contact Uday Suresh at [email protected].