Everyday Italian – Leonoro’s Spaghetti House

Dan says…

Everybody needs a place like Leonoro’s on Washington Street. It is an old fashioned Italian restaurant where you are welcome to come in the back door and walk through the kitchen. The owner will greet you with a smile everytime. This place is full of familiar faces.

Their menu is simple especially for lunch. They have salads and sandwiches, but 90% of people order the “Lunch Special”. The special includes spaghetti, a house salad and Italian bread for $8.75 with meatballs and $7.50 without. You can also order from a variety of noodles including cheese ravioli. Drinks are a painful $1.75 and bring your total above $10 before tip. Ouch.

Tossed salad with Blue Cheese

The service is quick. Apparently once you start working at Leonoro’s you never quit, because the same servers have been there for years. The decor is simple with booths around the edge and tables in the center. You seat yourself and the regulars seem to have assigned tables. The place had cleared out after the lunch rush and I watched a couple wait for “their” table to be cleaned. The walls are covered with family photos from several generations.

Linguine and Meatballs with Parm added at the table.

I give Leonoro’s – Four Forks!

Phil’s Review

I have to say I normally don’t like tomato based sauces without a little meat put into the mix.  However, Leonoro’s is one exception to this rule.  I still supplement the sauce by ordering meatballs when I go, but I would still find the meal filling without the meatballs.  As for the meatballs, they are my favorite because they are never too bready, but neither are they too meaty, they’re just right.  I also think their thousand island is exceptional and even the salad is both consistent and fresh every time I go.  The service is fast (relatively speaking) and the restaurant is consistently clean.

The only thing remotely negative about the food, is that the spaghetti is served a little more than al dente, which would make the meal perfect.  Warning, you will leave this restaurant feeling full and as if you ate too much.  I rarely have room left for their bread, after devouring the plate full of spaghetti.

If you’re an amateur spaghetti spinner or you just like clean white shirts, you can even get a bib!  (or you can cheat like me and just slice the spaghetti to reduce the splash factor of the sauce!)  Although the cost is on the high side, I have to give Leonoro’s four forks.

I also recommend considering them for dinner as I’ve also called in a ‘to go’ order for pickup on my way home.  By the time I get there from the Capitol the order is waiting.

1507 Washington St E
Charleston, WV 25311
(304) 343-1851

Leonoro's Spaghetti House on Urbanspoon

14 responses to “Everyday Italian – Leonoro’s Spaghetti House

  1. “everyone needs a place like Lenoroe’s” yeah just like everyone needs a place like the Shoot-N-Go next door. This place is great if you like chipping your tooth on the stone like bread. It stinks

  2. Did you really chip a tooth?

  3. Best Italian food ever! The sauce is awesome. The meatball are awesome. I house salad dressing is awesome. And I even love the tooth-chipping bread. The lunch special has gotten a little pricey over the years, but it’s still worth it for me. I don’t eat pasta very often, so when I do, I go to Leonoro’s because it’s THAT GOOD!

  4. I love this place, and go there especially when I need some comfort food. The price is the only complaint; dinner for 2 (pasta, bread, salad and drink) is well over $30.

  5. I was not with the gang when they went to Leonoro’s so I didn’t get to put my two cent’s worth in. It’s been killing me.

    I agree with D. Mae – I like their food (and I like the crusty bread, Ron) I just think it’s too expensive. With the upcharge to get them to toast my bread (which is the only way I like my bread), my total is over $10 for lunch.

    The one time I went for dinner, I was with a group of dressed-up family members who had been there before. I felt like I had been transported into a maffia movie when I saw the waitress tying a bib around one of the men at the table. There’s service and then there’s just….weird.

    I like their sauce but the pasta is always overcooked. Once I got the “house” dressing and it was a strange tomato mixture so now I stick with Italian.

    I never suggest it as a lunch destination, but I never veto it, either.

  6. Our server tied big paper bibs around our necks which was great because I did not have to worry about getting sauce on my shirt.

  7. A third of a loaf of Wonder Bread, a limp salad from a bag, and sauce right out of a jar from the supermarket, and all for $28.00, with water to drink, excluding tip.

    Seriously, buy a can of Chef Boyardee, a bag of salad, and some white bread, and save yourself $24.00.

    It had been 20 years since I’d eaten at Leonoro’s even though I’ve lived in Charleston for 26, and now I remember why I never went back.

    My wife’s “meat sauce” was identical to my marinara with the exception of a teaspoon full of meat.

    Don’t waste your money.

    • This is true. I will not deny it, but I still like it. It’s just simple place to get fed.

    • I like Leonoro’s. The white clam sauce is great. I think your review tells me a lot more about you than the restaurant. For god sake don’t try the lasagna it’s great but it’s gooey. By the way what’s your favorite Italian restaurant locally?

  8. When I first moved to Charleston 3 years ago, I lived in the East End. I was so excited to find an Italian restaurant so close to home that I could walk there, drink as much wine as I wanted, and then walk home. One evening on my way home from work at 8 pm I exited I-64 at Exit 100 instead of my usual Exit 99 and drove down Washington St past Leonoro’s. The parking lot was empty, and the gang hanging out on Ruffner scared me. I guess I wasn’t going to be walking home with a belly full of wine in that neighborhood. And then I was disappointed to find out that the restaurant closes at 8:30! I rarely eat dinner before 8:30. And then I found a menu online–Spaghetti and Meatballs? No thanks, I can make that myself at home for a fraction of the cost.

    I’ve yet to have an excellent dining experience in Charleston of any type of cuisine. One group raves about a restaurant while another says it stinks. Are they any really great restaurants in Charleston?

  9. I discovered Leonoros on Broad street during my early 20s. Always enjoyed the food and service. Although I have not lived in Charleston since 1993 I always visit Leonoros when I am in town. They have been a favorite of mine for 40 years. The subject of food is a subjective one. I have been blessed with the fact that I have eaten in most parts of the world and Leonoros is still a favorite. Two years ago I was with 4 other couples from Cincinnati and all enjoyed our meal. I happen to like the crusty bread.

  10. First of all I am so glad I did not read the reviews before my wife and I decided on Leonoro’s for dinner. Lots of Chef Boyardee and out of the jar sauce comments. I happen to like Chef Boyardee, but I also appreciate it for what it is. A canned food product with a long shelf life that is fast in a pinch. Leonoro’s and the Chef are like comparing Pies and Pints to a Totino’s microwave pizza. OK on to the food. We split the large antipasto salad with the house dressing. Anchovies? yes please. They are definitely under utilized. Chopped up and mixed into the salad they make a great flavor enhancer and give it a richness that would be missed otherwise. We got the garlic bread basket and I got the ravioli with meatballs while my wife chose the linguine with marinara. Mine was slightly overcooked but was still delicious and I soaked up all the sauce with the tasty bread and was left with a clean plate. Chef Boyardee? I think not. I would give my visit four forks. The salad greens were not bad, but iceberg was not my expectation. The salad toppings though were good. The waiter kept us entertained and our glasses full.

  11. Wow, what a disappointment. Lasagna had hardly any cheese or meat in it -= was 95percent noodles and sauce – cheap to make yet still cost 13 bucks. worst lasagna ever, even worse than school lunch lasagna. it was similar in consistency and composition to the spaghetti, just with bigger noodles. 18 dollar chicken dish was a disappointment – and included only 1 small piece of potato and no peppers. was supposed to be a chix/vegetable dish. 10.50 for a small, forgettable spaghetti. And only italian restaurant i have ever been to that charges extra for garlic bread – on top of the high prices for meals. Think what keeps them going is the nostalga that some folks feel for the place as saw little else that would bring me back – and that is not enough.

  12. Our family likes the spaghetti here and my wife likes it that they put paper bibs on everyone. She likes it that my shirt and our sons shirts stay clean.
    Todd W.

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