Filone’s Pasta Kitchen meets USC Trojans

Person waits in line
Filones is the newest addition to the Ronald Tutor Campus Center. Traditional Italian food can be purchased with meal swipes. (Gina Nguyen | Daily Trojan)

The latest addition to the Tutor Campus Center is packed with flavorful Italian delights that would give even Chef Boyardee a run for his money. The menu offers a wide selection for students to choose from, including classic marinara spaghetti, creamy fettuccine alfredo with chicken, zesty limone penne and meaty bolognese pasta. Located within the TCC food court, Filone’s is positioned along the right wall and shares its kitchen utilities with Slice Shop, a pizza restaurant.

After a few soft openings in early January, Filone’s officially had its grand opening on Jan. 17, making itself available to the public for the start of the new semester.

Filone’s is outfitted with a modern kitchen and a window that opens outside to the plaza for mobile orders. The ordering kiosks nearest them inside the food court only provide service to Filone’s and Slice Shop. 

As debates and criticisms continue to roll in regarding the newest pasta kitchen at USC, here is a taste review of three of the most popular meal-swipe combinations at Filone’s.

Alfredo Pasta Combo

A traditional and well-known selection, the alfredo pasta is the first item listed on the kiosk’s meal-swipe combinations. This pasta is a classic take on the Italian dish with its fettuccine noodles, alfredo sauce, butter, parmesan cheese and parsley seasoning to top it off.

Cooked to al dente, the meal relies heavily on the cheese to add a creamy texture that makes it distinct from its distant relative, the limone pasta. There is an overall balance between ingredients, but the meager portions given to the customer equates it to the alfredo from any entree meal in the frozen aisle of a grocery store. While the alfredo overall lacks the luster it portrays on the kiosk, it still remains one of the top dishes for the kitchen due to its flavorful seasoning. 

The House Caesar Combo

By far this review’s most regrettable purchase, the house Caesar combo falls into the same category of appearing — and tasting — distinctively different than expected. 

Despite its straightforward construction of chopped romaine lettuce, parmesan cheese, crouton crumbles and Caesar dressing, the salad combo is a swipe that could be better used on another item.

Although the salad was far better than the selections offered at the residential dining halls, the Caesar dressing is just a close copy of those found at supermarkets. 

Despite being a healthier option than pasta, the salad shrinks in comparison to the value of a carb-heavy pasta dish and is difficult to finish without something to neutralize one’s palate. 

Marinara Pasta Combo

Where the alfredo falls short, the marinara makes up for the loss. The marinara pasta is a combination of spaghetti pasta served with slow-roasted tomato sauce and then topped with parmesan cheese and parsley. This entree delivers the delectable flavor often missing from meal-swipe offerings on campus.

From top to bottom, the al dente pasta is covered in marinara sauce, giving a forkful of ingredients with every bite. 

Its powerful sauce creates a wave of deliciousness that warms the taste buds and is a pleasant surprise for doubtful diners.

Compared to the other pasta offered by Filone’s, the marinara cements itself high above the rest of the offerings.

It still seems that USC has a long way to go in surpassing its rival, UCLA, in replacing it as the No. 1 in the nation for college dining. Yet, through these changes and inclusions of meals, USC is headed in the right direction to formulate an assortment of delicacies from all around the globe for a university made up of people from all around the globe.