“Life is too short, and I’m Italian. I’d much rather eat pasta and drink wine than be a size 0.”

Sophia Bush

EDIT – Pettas is now closed.

I’ve found throughout writing this blog just how much Italian food I eat. If you haven’t noticed, I tend to make the titles of my blog entries a quote that has something to do with what I’m writing about with the person who said the quote written in italics below. Each time I write about an Italian restaurant, I type in “Italian food quotes” into Google to find a quote and I’ve almost used all the good ones. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the restaurants which the 518 offers us or the restaurants I tend to find myself, regardless, Italian food is great so I’m happy to offer you many options to fill that Italian food void.

One of my favorite Italian restaurants in the 518, in Schenectady is Pettas (134 Duane Avenue
Schenectady, NY 12307). I’ve been going to this restaurant since I was really little, it’s always been a favorite restaurant of my whole family and the food has always been fantastic. This isn’t your normal Italian restaurant. Many restaurants claim to have that family feel, such as Olive Garden where their tagline is “When you’re here, you’re family.” When was the last time you walked into an Olive Garden or a restaurant like that and felt like you were eating among family? The difference with Petta’s is that when you walk in, you genuinely are part of the family. The waiters as well as the atmosphere help in giving this restaurant a personal dining room feel. This family owned restaurant opened in 1951 has never lost that family style feel (Find the very interesting complete story of the restaurant on their website HERE).

To start off the meal, my Mom, her friend Pete and I got Fried Calamari ($7.95). The calamari were very good but the sauce they gave us was a cocktail sauce where I would have preferred to have had a marinara sauce. This was a perfect amount to be shared between the three of us since we had dinner on the way. Sometimes I’ve found that calamari sometimes has too much fried and not enough calamari but I love Petta’s calamari. An Italian classic done beautifully.

For dinner I decided to be a little healthy. As I mentioned, I eat quite a bit of Italian food and sometimes you just have to eat something a little healthy to balance out the pasta. This time, I ordered a Blackened Wild Alaskan Keta Salmon Fillet ($17.95) with a side of Italian Greens and Roasted Potatoes.

I love Salmon but I’ve never had blackened salmon before and it tasted very good. There’s a slight taste difference between blackened and what I would expect smoked to taste like in my opinion. This blackened salmon wasn’t very smoky but I liked it that way. This way I had more of an opportunity to focus on the real flavor of the salmon and the seasonings on it instead of it being hidden by the char-grilled flavor.

Paired with it is the option of pasta or Italian greens and various options of ways to have a potato and a salad. I chose the Italian greens and roasted potatoes. With all the food I ate that night, I had to hold off on the sides for the next night. Thankfully, all kept well and though it obviously wasn’t exactly the same the next night it still tasted pretty good!

The Italian greens, as my Mom told me, were supposed to taste like garlic but my taste buds need a lot of garlic to taste garlic and I didn’t really taste anything except for spinach. The potatoes were a little dry but ample amounts of butter and salt helped. Though it wasn’t an option, I think I would’ve asked if they could have made a baked potato or mashed potatoes because I don’t like twice baked potatoes (the only other option).

I think next time, even though I was trying to be healthy, I would get the pasta only because I assume it would end up as a left over and if I was to make dinner the next night I’d rather leftover pasta then leftover greens. For the side, think about what you want for dinner the next night because chances are that’s when you’re going to eat it. Make sure you take home the Italian bread too!!!

Petta’s offers difference specials every night, each one fantastic and anything they make “Parmesan” (Eggplant, Chicken, Veal, etc.) is worth a try. Also, while eating you can play Quick Draw and maybe win enough money to pay for your dinner! Good Luck!