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Neighborhood Italian - Chandler/Tempe/Ahwatukee

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So...after my Papa Razzini question I guess I should go at this from teh other angle as well...

What are folk's recommendation for a good neighborhood italian place on this side of town?

We like Tutti Santi up at Dobson/Guadalupe a lot...but it's bit more than we like to spend if we're just in the mood for a casual plate of pasta so don't go as often as we might like. I really like the Linguine alle Vongole here but..again at $23 it's not necessarily a drop in when i don't feel like cooking kind of dinner.

I have to admit we eat at Pasta Pomodoro a lot since we live so close...it used to be a good reliable, quick and inexpensive option. But the last year seems to have gone downhill and we've been disappointed the last few times we've gone. They made some changes a while back...and we've noticed the manager that originally opened the restaurant is gone so assume that's why. So it's not a neighborhood favorite anymore.

we've tried Marcello's at McClintock and Warner. i've always like the pasta with the calamari here...but that's all I've found I really like on the menu.

So...any suggestions on something tasty, casual and inexpensive that we may be missing?

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  1. Have you tried Venice Ristorante -- 48th St. and Elliott? I have had some good lunches there recently, but have never been for dinner. I'd say it's definitely tasty and casual, although the dinner prices may be in the Tutti Santi range.

    Also, there was some recent dicussion on this board of Riazzi's Italian Garden in Tempe. I've not been there in over a decade, but it definitely met your criteria back when I did go.

    1. A friend of mine recommended Ruffino's Restaurant, 4902 E Warner Rd, Phoenix, AZ. She also recommended Tutti Santi, FWIW. I think Ruffino's is cheaper, but, I haven't made it to either.

      1 Reply
      1. re: johnseberg

        I found a website for Ruffino's.
        http://www.ruffinoahwatukee.com

      2. We haven't been in awhile, since we moved from Ahwatukee to Gilbert three years ago, but my family used to enjoy Chrisdees in Tempe. It is easy to miss in an industrial complex. It is just north of Broadway. Make the first left off of Broadway going east after getting off 10.

        I also noticed someone mentioned Ruffino below. Although it is very good food, it is more high end then I would normally want to spend at a nieghborhood Italian rest. My kids used it as a place to take dates before the prom.

        My two cents

        1. try vincitorio's on the southeast corner of elliot and mcclintock, near tempe cinemas. they have great homemade pasta for reasonable prices.

          1. I haven't been yet, but several people I know talk fairly highly of Brunello's in Mesa (NE corner of Dobson/ Baseline). It's been around for a long time.

            Their website: http://www.brunellorestaurant.net

            1. Try Miele's in the same shopping center as Papa Razzini (in between Fry's & Petco). We've been regulars since they opened and we feel it is very good neighborhood place. The pizzas are excellent, and the pasta dishes and salads are good. Sometimes I'll just grab a side order of meatballs and sausage with sauce and take it home and boil up some pasta. The place is owned by two brothers from Napoli and they're very nice and service is great. I haven't been to Papa Razzini's since we tend to stick with Miele's & Classic Italian Pizza.

              1. I am enamoured of the pizza at La Stalla in downtown Chandler. Also very fond of the pasta's - esp. those with cream sauces - and the calamari.

                1. Not sure of the price point these days - but Naples NEC Alma School and Warner has always been a pretty nice place. Rigatony's SWC Knox and Arizona Ave is definitely a family style - consistent place and Floridino's SWC Galveston and Alma Schools may all be a good option. While I have limited myself to pizza and salad at Floridino's, they're pasta dishes look good too. And oh, how about Pesto's NEC Dobson and Ray and there was a place on the SWC of Arizona Ave and Warner that was always a small family run place that just changed owners - now called Neapolis (I think) - may be worth a try.

                  BZ

                  1. How about Caruso's at Baseline & Greenfield???

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Alice Letseat

                      Mm, I haven't been to Caruso's for over a year now, but I've had some great meals there. It's a bit far, and more expensive than the poster was looking for, I think, but It's a great option for those of us in the Gilbert area! thanks for the reminder.

                    2. Rigatony's (http://www.rigatonys.com/) is a great neighborhood place with some excellent appetizers, a great antipasto salad, and some very good entrees (like the shrimp scampi and the grilled chicken linguine).

                      La Stalla makes an excellent margherita pizza (the signature version although I've never had their regular version) and killer risotto.

                      For New York style pizza, Sicilian crust, or stromboli La Famiglia is great.

                      Naples makes a great tomato cream sauce.

                      If you want to go a little more upscale then I'd suggest Va Bene, whose menu is full of great food.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: IamJacksBrain

                        You know, I had forgotten about La Famiglia. That is the place at Warner and Alma School, right? I think that is a perfect example of a "neighborhood" Italian place!

                        1. re: Billy Bob

                          That's the place.

                      2. They're (La Famiglia) a little bright and diner-like to be what I think of as a real "neighborhood Italian," I think. More along the lines of pizza joint, but that's pro'ly the South Philly tawkin'.

                        1. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I"m going to print this out and keep this so we can try these.

                          The only place suggested we've been to is Pesto's at Dobson/Ray...since we live right on that corner. WE ordered a pizza for take-out...it was good but expensive(I think it was right around $30 for a grilled eggplant pizza with a couple other veggies on it, no meat) so we haven't been back. My husband keeps suggesting we try the pasta over there anyhow so I"ll have to let him know it was suggested here.

                          1. If it's not too late, I would like to recommend Vincitorio's on the SE corner of Elliot and Mcclintock, near Tempe Cinemas. They make great homemade pasta and charge very reasonable prices. And they even have live entertainment on friday and saturday nights. So you can take in a cheap movie and dinner, all in one spot.

                            http://www.vincitoriosrestaurant.com/...

                            1. After several months of seeing "Venice Ristorante" locked and chained up I was very excited to see its re-opening.
                              Venice used to have the "BEST" spaghetti in life! We pysched outselves up for some spaghetti and walked into the restaurant immediately noticing a change.
                              It turns out the restaurant has changed hands for the 3rd time in less than a year.
                              The owner was very pleasant and made a point to visit with each table and we were told the spaghetti was basically the same recipe.
                              This was far from the truth! To start the cesar salad was DRENCHED in dressed and the lettuce was partially beginning to brown. We tried the soup which lacked any taste at all.
                              The main course was dissapointing and we ate very little of our meal.
                              As we were leaving we stopped by a table occupied by an elderly couple who were regular patrons of the "old" Venice. They had only gotten as far as some garlic toast which they were very dissapointed with. The french bread tasted very store bought, not crusty as a good french bread should be.
                              It looks like we will be going back to "Vincintorio's" which is always good and consistant with a lovely ambiance and "Mario".

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: breaknthegirl

                                Wow... I had dinner there (Venice) last week and it was really good -- had the swordfish, I'm not much for spaghetti, but the fish was excellent. The owner(?) was very friendly.

                              2. I think That Italian Place on Chandler Boulevard/32nd St. in Ahwatukee has the finest Italian food in the Southeast Valley. It got rave reviews under its former name, Mary Ann & Richie's. They sold it last year, but Mary Ann stayed on as chef. Now she solely concentrates on the food, and I think it's even better. Her bolognese is absolutely to die for, her gnocchi is top-rate and the salads are fantastic. It has a decent wine list, too. It's small and comfortable; I feel just as welcome there in jeans or a nice dress. Service is always warm, and though they know me now, it looks to me like everyone gets the same treatment.

                                (P.S. Miele's in Tempe is good, too. I've had terrible food at VinciTorio's and Riazzi's, and awful service at La Stalla, and won't go back to any of them. Venice "changed hands" the first time because the former owner, Lloyd Melton, was involved in that big international gambling case that will go to trial in September in Superior Court. I don't know why the woman who bought it sold it so quickly; she also owns (owned?) Baseline Sports Bar.)

                                1. The good stuff is at La Stalla, Va Bene, and Tomaso's, but when I just want some good basic pasta I find myself gravitating to the Macaroni Grill. Sure it's a big-box chain, but with the build-your-own menu you can get whatever you want and it's solid. Pomodoro is also good but again another uber-chain. People rave about Arrividerci but I only go there for the circus that suffices for service. Caffe Boa is also pretty good.