This entry refers to a departed business that has closed or left town. All information here is for historical reference only.


1411 West Covell Blvd. #111 (In The Marketplace)
Mon-Sat: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
Sun: 4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
(530) 753-1313
Online Menu

It is reported that the space formerly occupied by Strings will soon become Rostini Italian Kitchen.

Strings Italian Cafe is a California chain restaurant (29 locations) that serves pasta. On Wednesdays after 4PM they offer an all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinner including bread, and soup or salad for $7.99. Your choice of Marinara, Meat, or Cacciatore (slightly spicy) sauces. For pasta refills, each subsequent plate is smaller than the previous. The servers are friendly, so make it evident to them that you're gonna need frequent refills if you're that kind of eater.

Most evenings you'll find a normal restaurant, but if you go on a Wednesday night, be prepared to wait. It's not terribly bad during the summer, but the place is usually packed full of people eating and waiting to sit, drawn by the allure of limitless noodles and sauce. On those days, showing up early is a good idea, and bring a book or someone to chat with.

They also offer catering.

There are three Strings in Sacramento as well: on Madison, Watts and in Natomas. Hopefully they have better health records than the Davis location had.

The last day of operation was actually on a Sunday, 8/16/09. It was closed as of the 17th. There's a small sign that says that the rent was too high ($10,000).


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At any other time, their food is overpriced. Service is good, but the food isn't high quality enough for the money. I would highly recommend Caffe Italia in South Davis over StringsCaptainRush

The salad is quite good and very cheap and can make a meal of itself, especially if you don't like pasta all that much.JabberWokky

Lets face it— pasta is cheap and easy to make. String's pasta is completely run of the mill, but the all you can eat salad and bread make it well worth the $7.59 all you can eat price.CraigBrozinsky

2005-08-13 11:06:54   Strings is HORRIBLE. I've been here four or five times, and outside of the bread, the food was uniformly awful. This is the one place in Davis that I will not eat at. Cafe Italia is better, or if you have the time, go to Casa De Sapore (formerly Pietro's) in Woodland. —AlexPomeranz

2005-11-16 17:10:17   The Cafe Combo all you can eat soup, salad, and bread is good for a reasonable price. The pasta isn't all that great. Not worth how much they charge. Go to Pasta Q instead for better pasta with tasty sauces. —MarianneDominguez

2006-03-29 10:32:24   My boyfriend and I decided to go for their Wednesday unlimited pasta meal. If you have a cavernous belly like my boyfriend does, you can polish off an entire colander of pasta. He ultimately got like, 8 plates of pasta, but the server started ignoring our table at like, 3 plates. She was mean, rude, and the saucy Italian manager was crass to us too. For the same money, you can get real pasta at Caffe Italia. Seriously, Strings pasta tastes like Chef Boyardee made it. Bland sauce, overcooked noodles that have been sitting around precooked, and poor service leads me to think that it's better to crack open a can of Spaghettios than to go there. —QuynhNhuNguyen

2006-04-13 19:27:10   Maybe I need a taste bud transplant, but methinks Strings is the yummiest pasta in town. Especially the lasagne pastry thing. —KaiTing

2006-07-26 00:26:21   I've been to strings a few times and have enjoyed it, particularly because they have gorgonzola dishes, :q which I find lacking at Cafe Italia. However, I just went to Cafe Italia for the first time, and I liked it so well that I would go back. Plus you can draw crazy things on the table. Also, Cafe Italia is more intimate. But no one in town beats fresh home-made pesto with pine nuts. mmmmm..... —KarlMogel

2006-07-30 22:46:35   This is one of my favorite places to eat in Davis. I love the bread especially. I recommend the Pasta Sienna or the Milano. Very tasty, in my opinion. I've never dealt with rude people either, the waitresses are all really nice. —ChristyMarsden

2006-07-31 21:52:34   I like the lasagna pastry here. It's pretty much the only thing that I ever get. I'm a big fan of the free salads here and a HUGE fan of the bread. Excellent, excellent bread. —LiRic

2006-08-04 11:03:12   Lets face it Davis has really bad Italian food. However, Strings is even bad for Davis. In fact, I will venture to say it is the worst place in Davis still open if you include quality and price. The dining commons make pasta dishes better than strings. To say strings over cooks there pasta is a huge understatement. A nice Italian place should serve all pasta al dente. This pasta is a pile of mush. I have never in my life made a batch of pasta even close to this over cooked. Frankly it was disgusting. I would not eat at their all you can eat dinner if it were $2.00. The only reason id eat there if it were under $2.00 is because their bread and salad are satisfactory —MattHh

2006-09-28 20:48:41   We eat there regularly but won't go back.We had our waitress move us to antoher table and we said the new table was fine.The manager then went up to her and belittled her in the middle of the restaurant for not putting us at a different table. When we told him the table was finea nd we asked her to move us in the first place. He was then rude telling us she should have put us at a table for four when there were only two of us. We decided we didn't want to eat there becauase of him and when we were leaving we told him he should treat his employees better. He then said that my boyfriend shoudl work there so he can be treated bad like that too. Well my boyfriend was mad and flipped him off adn said nothing. The manager then yelled "F*** You" as we walked out loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear. This guy was ridiculously inappropriate and I can't believe he is allowed to treat employees like that or that they put up with it. —KatieCortopassi

2006-10-09 16:43:52   Try their all you can eat nights. Their staff seem to be bad at math. They calculated wrong when we brought a coupon cut from somewhere. The price is okay. I really like their bread! —KiwiSelina

2007-02-09 13:07:54   DON’T EAT HERE! The manager is a jerk, the service isn’t very good, and they overcharge. I don't mean they charge too much money for what they give you, although that is definitely true, I mean that they will charge your card for more than you authorize. I got the feeling they were doing this so this last time I kept a copy of the receipt with the amount I authorized. I was with some friends so they gave me some cash and I used my card. I asked our waitress to take the cash and put the remaining amount on my card. So the bill I got in the restaurant was for about $10 and I gave her a decent tip of $5. I checked my bank statement and my card was charged for over $23!!! —BrianDuncan

2007-02-12 01:38:24   This place is just not worth it for the price. The quality wasn't what i expected for the chicken parmesan. i'd have to say thumbs down to this place —JasonKong

2007-04-19 21:02:56   I prefer Strings over Cafe Italia anyday, mainly because of the BREAD (Yum! Cafe Italia serves overbuttered bread on sliced sandwich rolls) and salad. I do admit it is slightly pricey but the pasta plates are good portions and fill you up quickly—usually everyone asks for a box. I like their portabella ravioli (seasonal special). I would avoid the all you can eat pasta nights because I felt like I could've made better pasta at home for the same price (the noodles ARE overcooked). Instead, I would highly recommend their all you can eat bread/soup or salad combo! :) —noahsark

2007-05-02 20:34:49   This place gets extra points for dealing gracefully with my large, somewhat disorganized group. They have a nice, tasty marinara, which goes pretty far in my book, because it's "make or break" for so many dishes. The artichoke ravioli were quite good. They need to switch to a "greens" salad, though — they're still serving the old-fashioned no-nutrition-here iceberg lettuce salad. —CovertProfessor

2007-05-24 23:12:44   This place is gives me the shits!! never again..poor quality of food. —gina

2007-05-27 15:02:04   This is from the strings employee face book group. "Oh yeah..Our bread is better than your mom's anyday so don't try to step.Both of our cooks are foreign and both of their names translate to 'GOD'...coincidence? i think not. STRINGS MAFIA will ELIMINATE your ass!

Our bosses are from Palestine and they will kill you.

Don't piss us off or we'll fuck with your food."

Do not eat here. The manager is an asshole, who belittles his female employees. The food is also overpriced. —dancohen

2007-07-19 16:10:28   Ok here is the deal i have eaten at strings for over 10 years in Davis vacaville ect... last 3 times i went to the market place food was so bad stale food salad limp bad, i am not a racist at all but i feel that if you are going to cook or own a Italian restaurant have a Italian there please..... the guy who is always there gets on his employee's kind of a jerk if going to treat your employee's like that do it in private i hope you sale so we can eat there with pride again instead of feeling ripped off and makes me wonder we already lost all gas stations now Italian restaurants whats next —dickjones

2007-08-03 14:36:52   well darn i use to like this place some how it has gone way down the salad always seems limp and food wad old or just plain bad last 3 times , sad to say i will not go back to the Davis location sorry we tried —Brians

2007-08-12 22:30:16   I happen to like strings and have not had a problem with the manager or the servers. I will admit they take a while getting the food out to you, but the bread is filling in the meantime(great bread) the soup is tasty as well. My server Jill filled up my basket of bread 3 times and was always there to see if I needed anything. I ordered the Cioppino for 20 dollars a fish stew derived from the various regional fish soups and stews of Italian cuisine. Strings Cioppino consists of a combination of clams, shrimp, scallops, mussels and white fish with fresh tomatoes in wine sauce with pasta shells and bread lining the plate. Very filling and good porportions. I also had the lava cake with icecream good as well ,although not as good as applebees. Strings also offers coupons for buy one get one free entrees with purchase of 2 drinks so look for those to cut down the price. I will be going back soon to sample their crab linguni and shrimp alfredo. There was a recent article written in the aggie about this place(good reviews try it, you will ike. I too have been to cafe italia ,but strings provides a unique dining experience)

2007-08-17 13:27:06   Can you say "Chef Boyardee"? —soda72

2007-10-04 19:58:43   This was perhaps my worst dining experience in 17 years living in Davis. Besides the fact that the food wasn't particularly good (wilted salad with store-bought croutons and raisins, and Sara Lee desserts???), the manager was rude and condescending. The plastic cups, mauve walls and vinyl seats were a nice addition, though ;-) When thinking of Strings, just say no and make it at home. It'll be better and cheaper. —AlexWright

2007-10-17 11:23:50   i liked it. —Chantal

2007-12-16 11:59:05   I went to strings yet again for another dining experience with my roomates. The bread was still great and my order came in a timely fashion. no complaints, I had the opportunity to try their shrimp risotto special, crab alfredo both of which had a lot of flavor. My rommates had the meatball sub and was quite impressed with that as well. The only one in our party that was not completely satisfied ordered the bake, it was just to greasy for her liking. Overall, will still continue to dine here —ElizabethBarthel

2007-12-31 16:58:27   The food is pretty good, but it's much more pricey than you expect from a strip-mall chain. If you can find one of their "buy one and drinks and get another 1/2 off" coupons, it will save you 10 bucks and make it more reasonable (the savings limit on the coupons is $10, which you always hit). If you go, I suggest the Pasta Siena. It's delicious. —dhsandler

2008-01-16 17:57:03   The bread is delicious, the salad is OK. The pasta is usually pretty good, although plain unless you pay the extra 1.50 or 2.00 to get creamy pesto sauce during all you can eat. The waiters/waitresses get super bitchy if you eat more than a few plates though. They will literally ignore you and avoid your half of the restaurant in order to keep you from ordering another plate. Once they even closed the kitchen 20 mins early just to keep us from eating. Granted, we eat like 6 or 7 plates each but still, its ALL YOU CAN EAT. They shouldn't be rude because we are fat asses. —William.Peacock

2008-03-06 01:47:22   I decided to go again to give it another shot due to peer pressure. The service was again ridiculously terrible. The waiter was never there, we had to wait an eternity for water refills, and it took us three hours to get 5 plates of pasta. Mind you that after the first plate, the serving size is cut in half. I understand that working in the service industry sucks... I did it for many years in high school (fast food) and college (movie theater and pizza delivery) but there's no excuse for 30 min per plate. The owner also kept staring us down while we were eating as did the staff. There were plenty of servers as well. If this was a one time thing, it would be cool, but its everytime. I have a feeling that the slow service is intentional to try to reduce the amount of food served. If the establishment has a problem with binge eating, why "all you can eat". Don't make it all you can eat if you are gonna get pissed that people eat a lot. —William.Peacock

2008-04-06 20:58:34   Really tasty food, in my opinion. Their minestrone soup is DELICIOUS!!! The waiter was very courteous and swift. A very good experience! —CParker

2008-04-08 15:15:53   I have eaten there three times so far, and I noticed that most of the time the services was horrible. The food is fine, and their bread is good. I would not go there without a coupon unless it is Wednesday for their dinner buffet special. I love their seafood, they just really need to work on being polite and attentive. Ambiance is so so. —AnnaF

2008-06-14 18:56:21   Yummy bread (although not a great deal of it.) Pretty good salad (mostly lettuce, one small cherry tomato, and some onions). The salad is a bit larger than the side salads I've seen at most places. The pasta was very tasty. Good food, but definitely overpriced. The atmosphere is a bit gaudy unfortunately, although if you are very fond of the color pink, you will probably love this place, because it is overwhelmingly pink. Service was quick, although it was not crowded when I went. Note that the prices listed on their website are lower than the prices at the Covell Strings. —IDoNotExist

2008-06-30 19:45:00   This place is so blah. The bread was okay and the pasta wasn't anything special for the price. Service was bad. The waitress never refilled our drinks and we had to ask for utensils. I wouldn't eat here again. —sweetsoni

2008-09-21 13:27:37   My girlfriend and I recently ate dinner at this establishment, and I have to say it was perhaps the worst experience we have EVER had at a restaurant of any kind. After taking our order our waitress just sort of disappeared for the next 30 min, so we had to keep asking other servers to refill our waters. When she finally returned she informed us that another waiter had accidentally taken our food and that we would be waiting even longer. Another 15 min goes by and our food finally arrives after having obviously spent a good stint under a heat lamp. My flaccid chicken parmesan lacked any flavor save for an overabundance of salt crust. The accompanying pasta looked and tasted like an infant had vomited over my partially cooked noodles. Then I deigned to sample my girlfriend's food in hopes that it might be somewhat better, but was dismayed to find that her pasta milano tasted more like stale top ramen. As if the shitty service and disgusting food weren't enough the bill finally came to a whopping fifty some-odd dollars. Having grudgingly paid for the worst meal of our lives, rest assured that we will never be visiting strings again. —JeffKreis

2008-09-21 13:35:52   This place is only worth it for the "all you can eat pasta/salad or soup" on Wednesday nights for $8. Everything else is too over priced, including all drinks and specialty pasta dishes, given their portions. —MaxMikalonis

2008-10-01 00:51:25   I absolutely love this place. If you like seafood, I highly recommend the Frutti De Mare. —swtaznsmile8

2008-10-01 07:45:08   the only thing that strings really suffers from is that fact that you have to stare at a parking lot thru the glass, sit in the back and have a great time —StevenDaubert

2008-10-15 16:13:09   The soup is more than acceptable, the bread is certainly exceptional, and the calzone is both delicious and filling. The price issue can be avoided by using one of the easily-obtained coupons, but even without coupons I'd recommend Strings. —DerkB

2009-03-30 17:05:15   Best italian in davis. —piratechef

2009-06-01 05:40:48   This place has been a staple for my family for years. I'm pretty sure I've had everything on the menu at least once, but my favorite is their summertime special Caribbean chicken salad. It's definitely meal-sized, so that's a great start for me. Then you get this big pile of greens with fresh strawberries, mandarin oranges, nuts, and grilled chicken... Top it off with the cucumber dressing, which is both delicately sweet and with just a hint of spice... it's the most satisfying salad I've ever had. The usual dinner salad is great, too, and their dressing is one of my favorites. But none of it holds a candle to all that fresh fruit. My mouth is watering with memories. —KBathory

2009-08-23 21:04:12   Closed! NUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU —StevenDaubert

2009-08-23 21:19:40   I am sad that this place closed, although I almost never went there. Why do we have so few Italian places in Davis? —IDoNotExist

  • I thought this before Strings closed and it's only more true now. How can a 60,000 person town be able to support over 10 sushi restaurants but not even three Italian restaurants? —jsogul

    • Pasta is very easy to prepare at home while sushi on the other hand requires a little more work, especially the cleaning that comes afterward. Also, Davis has some of the best sushi for the price buffets I've seen, which attracts a lot of people while places like Strings doesn't have anything special in terms of being a pasta restaurant. —hankim

    • Actually Strings had a very good all you can eat pasta special on Wednesday night. There are also still 3 Italian restaurants in Davis: Pasta Q, Osteria Fasulo, and Caffe Italia. The pasta may not be amazing but for all you can eat I think it was very decent. I think it was better than most of the all you can eat pizza buffets and cheaper than all the sushi buffets. —NickSchmalenberger

    • Italian isn't as trendy and cool as sushi, and this place wasn't exactly getting much love - re-read most of the above reviews. Most about the food aren't the best, and couple that with this places less than ideal location. -ES

    • Supposedly Davis Sushi Buffet is circling the drain. They lost several thousand last month. —OliviaY

2009-08-25 14:16:35   hankim- I don't know what kind of pasta you were cooking but most GOOD pasta dishes take some time to prepare save a few. Of course, nothing takes as much labor as Sushi but there are many popular italian dishes that take some time to prepare. I would know seeing as how I've worked for Strings for 3 years. —kuhlwhip

2009-08-25 14:20:55   ES- Those are just a couple of people who disliked the food, that happens EVERYWHERE. Cheesecake Factory, BJ's, and Outback aren't immune to this. Anyways, consumers that have negative experiences are more likely to leave feedback than people who have had positive experiences. Which, of course, is a shame because most customers walk out of the restaurant satisfied. —kuhlwhip

  • Of course, no place is ever immune to bad reviews. And sure, it happens "EVERYWHERE" - but a few things have to pile up to force a place to go out of business. In this case, as I suggested, I'd think it mainly has to do with the food reputation at Strings, and the location. I don't base that just off the above comments which seem split, or the 2.5/5 on Yelp, but from my own time in Davis and most of the people I knew over the years. -ES

2009-08-25 20:57:39   ES- The food reputation is the same as any other restaurant. Even if it was, that wasn't why it closed. If you want to talk, at least know what you are talking about instead of spreading false rumors. —kuhlwhip

2009-08-26 14:41:00   the buffet was only average at best not even really worth the money IMO... they take forever to bring out the plates and each plates gets smaller and smaller.. they just want you to feel full while waiting for next dish to come.. —Peco

2009-09-07 03:59:59   Now I feel bad that mine was the last comment left before closing. I was there the Tuesday before they closed and had no idea any of this was going on. I had just gotten back from being in Germany for a month and wanted my frickin' Caribbean chicken salad. What's worse is that I think I managed to lose my digital camera there, and when I went back to ask about it, I felt the distinct sense of double-fail. Not only did I lose it, but I lost it in a restaurant that closed right after. By the way, if anyone's spotted an orange digital camera full of shots of castles and Converse-clad feet, I'd be glad to have it back. D: —KBathory

2009-09-15 12:15:22   I always thought the food was okay. I liked the all you can eat soup + yummy bread enough that we'd visit regularly. But over the last 12 months, quality of service steadily declined. Ended up having a screaming session with a waitress a month or two before they closed, because we complained that we (+ hungry, young kids) hadn't had a glass of water or menu even after waiting quite a while.

Maybe they closed after they realized they had lost my business forever! —ChonT

2010-01-26 21:10:58   glad this placed closed! crappy food —davisGeek

2011-08-05 17:12:31   I took dates here in High School... thought it was cool then, guess I didn't really have much to compare it to. Interestingly, it looks like the neon "strings" are still up in the upper windows, even after it was replaced by Rostini. Not sure if they forgot about it, didn't care enough to take it down, or didn't have a tall enough ladder? Just one of those random thoughts/questions. —OldDavis73