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Como's No. 1 Italian Restaurant

4030 N. Mesa St.
El Paso, TX
(915) 533-0287

Como's Restaurant on Mesa Street

There used to be a "Como's No. 2" restaurant, but the owners probably found that their successful formula of having a family-run operation worked best with only one location. Como's serves the traditional red Italian sauces that are a throwback to the past when almost all Italian restaurants were "Italian American." There is a reason, though, that Como's has been around for as many years as it has.

For years I was a regular at Como's and for various reasons it began to drop off my radar screen. I will have to say, though, that it was never because I did not like the food. In fact, my recent visits have confirmed the reasons I used to go to Como's so often. The long time owners have kept the food consistent over the years, and it is as good as ever. Over the years my taste buds have outgrown some of the salty Mexican food and American style Chinese food found in some of the city's long time restaurants, but the fresh and vibrant flavors of Como's are as good as ever.

Spaghetti with marinera sauce
Spaghetti with a choice of sauces is served on the "Spaghetti Special"

For years one of the best deals at Como's has been the Spaghetti specials on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Those as old as I am can remember when it started out as "all you can eat spaghetti," but the plate that is now served is all that most normal people can eat. The spaghetti is not any different from the one served on the menu, but the "special" part is that you get soup, salad, and cheese slices added at no additional cost. The special comes with either meat sauce or marinara (I think additional sauces are available with the regular spaghetti served on the menu). I tried the meat sauce perhaps two or three times, but after ordering the marinara I have always preferred it. When I used to come to come to Como's specifically to eat vegetarian meals, I found the spaghetti special to be one of the most satisfying and delicous choices in town.

Como's also offers a pizza special on Thursdays with the same soup and salad. I never cared for the pizza as much as the spaghetti, but it was a good freshly cooked red sauce style pizza that I thought was a good deal.

Soup and salad
Soup and salad with complimentary cheese and crackers

The Minestrone Soup served with the specials would probably not be considered anything special in Italian enclaves such as Boston or Saint Louis, but by El Paso standards the version at Como's has always seemed to blow away many of the insipid soups I have had at other restaurants. I do not believe that the soup is totally vegetarian, but it provides a large portion of anyone's daily diet of vegetables. The soup is always available as an appetizer, but I always enjoy having it included in the meal at no extra cost when I go for the specials.

The Garden Salad tastes pretty fresh by El Paso standards, and as is the case in many "red sauce" restaurants, the dressing is more notable than the largely white to pale green colored lettuce. They do try to provide the best lettuce possible, but in the desert Southwest this is sometimes difficult. The best feature of the salad is the garbanzo beans, olives, and other assorted vegetables (although I would not include the frequently underripe tomato among them).

I used to like the Eggplant Parmigiana on the lunch special, but I haven't had it in a while. I believe this to be one of the restaurant's specialties. I do not believe, though, that I would rate it as high as the one at Il Posto or some other restaurants.

Como's serves a basket of garlic bread with each order that is so reminiscent of the ones I used to get in Italian restaurants growing up that it is worth coming here just for the nostalgia. I think, though, that Como's bread still tastes good because it is careful to cook it the right amount of time and apply the right amount of garlic.

I believe Como's strength is in serving everything freshly prepared, thus patrons should not expect everything to come out of the kitchen quickly. This is a comfortable restaurant that feels like home, and the prices are some of the most reasonable in the city. Whether the spaghetti here would be classified as "Italian" or "Italian American," it is still one of my favorites. The side dishes make the food even better.



Cuisine: Italian
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No Smoking
Alcohol: Beer, Wine

Most Recent Visit
Jan. 26, 2010

Number of Visits: 10+

Best Items
Spaghetti, Minestrone Soup

Special Ratings
Eggplant Parmigiana:
Minestrone Soup: