Food Columnists find Pam Am Eatery as Dated as Its Name

Don't look for the charm and class of the 1950s PanAm Airline at this Fairfax Restaurant by the same name.

Name: Pan Am Restaurant

Cuisines: American, Greek, Italian

Payment: Cash, all major credit cards

Alcohol: Beer, Wine                                  

Price: $

Location: 3051 Nutley St. Fairfax, VA 22031

Hours of Operation: Monday-Thursday: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Fri: 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; Sun: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Salt Says:

When I walked in the door I was happy to see a sign that said, “please, seat yourself.”

Finally, no awkward moments of frustration and blank stares from wait staff who don’t want to explain the seating protocol.

The décor of the restaurant was a bit dated and reminded me a lot of . Fortunately that’s where the similarities ended. Whereas Havabite was cramped and unfriendly, Pan Am felt like I was sitting in my grandmother’s dining room.

It didn’t take long for my waitress to come to the table. She wasn’t overly friendly, but was quite attentive. I decided to order the lasagna; it didn’t take a long time for the food to come. 

When I cut into it, the only thing that came to my mind was cheese—lots and lots of cheese. The mozzarella tasted incredibly fresh, but the ricotta was just average.

Instead of ground beef, the lasagna was filled with chunks of Italian sausage. The sweetness of the sausage combined with the sweetness of the sauce was a bit much.  Plus, the sauce was a bit watery.

Overall, it was a pretty average dish. Word to the wise: if you should order the lasagna, wait a few minutes before you bite into it. The cheese was way too hot.  

While I would probably never order the lasagna again, I would definitely try something else. The restaurant specializes in standard Greek, Italian and American cuisine, so there are plenty of other dishes to choose from. Most of the dinner meals come with access to the salad bar.  

Pepper Says:

 I must admit I was not overly impressed by the décor, which seems to be a reoccuring theme with me lately. Feeling glad I didn’t have to wait to be seated by a hostess, I took a seat as close to the door as possible.

While the place had a homey relative’s house-type feeling, it also seemed a bit creepy for some reason. Like maybe it could belong to the crazy aunt of the family.  

About five  minutes or so after I sat down, a server came over to take my order. She was very blunt, no greeting or anything and just asked me if I was staying or leaving.  Uh, being that I'm sitting at a table I thought my intentions were pretty clear, I thought. 

 In all politeness, I replied to her inquiry with, “I would like to dine in, thank you”. She responds, “That’s fine.”  Ah. Crisis averted and I received permission to stay!  

Without sparing another second or another breath, she demands my order.  She asked, “what do you want?” I was starting to get the feeling she is not having a very good day.

I ordered the spaghetti and meatball for mains.  A few minutes after she took my order, she returned with water. When my food arrived, it was piping hot and looked pretty tasty. The meat was a little dry, the sauce was average and the noodles appeared to be reheated. All in all, the meal was mediocre, at best.

Needless to say, I was not all together thrilled with the experience. But like I said earlier, the waitress may have just been having a bad day. I didn't like my Italian dish, so maybe Greek food is more of the restaurant's forte. So if I am ever dragged back there, kicking and screaming, that’s what I will try.


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