Central PHX Italian places
I am new to Phoenix and live downtown. I am searching for a good Italian place in the central area and would appreciate any suggestions. I prefer ma and pa joints and enjoy a place that seems stuck in the 70's, but doesn't care. So ideally it would be a hole in the wall that that is reasonably priced. Also prefer a good bottle of Chianti so a decent, even if small, wine list would be a bonus. I am one of those foodies who DOES order spaghetti and considers your marinara the defining statement for your restaurant.
Ok, those are the guidelines. I will enjoy your discussion
A lot depends on how strict your definition of "Central Phoenix" is. I can't think of much in the way of Italian south of Camelback and west of the 51 Freeway, although I'm probably forgetting one or two good places. If you use an expanded definition that includes North Central Phoenix and Arcadia, then there are more options.
I like Marcellino at 12th and Northern: http://www.marcellinoristorante.com/ It is ma-and-pa, but definitely not hole-in-the-wall.
Other possibilities include Tutti Santi, also in North Central; La Fontanella in Arcadia; and Daniel's, also in Arcadia. My experiences at those places are not current, however.
I really like Marcellino. It's ma-and-pa if your ma and pa are a sexy continental couple. Marcellino knows how to cook and Sima knows how to work/run the room.
There's also Harley's Italian Bistro on 7AV/Indian School(just north of). It used to be The Roman Table and was known for the old school stuff. I haven't been to it since Harley's took it over.
Do yourself a favor and include Northern and 13th St in your def. of Central Phoenix. Marcellino's is well worth a few extra blocks of driving. I've done Tutti Santi (16th St) and was underwhelmed. About the same for Christo's (7th St), but Marcellino's IS good. Wine list is limited, but very fairly priced and suited to the menu. I'm not sure that I could do "better" from my cellar, only more expensive.
Here are a few more suggestions....
An old favorite of ours is Christo's on 7th st just north of Bethany Home...it is classic old time Italian. Wondeful red sauce and 'classic' entrees....
Low ceilings give it a homey feel. Still family owned and operated. Great warm bread and attentive service.
Also L'Amore restaurant on 32nd street and Lincoln.....is another favorite.....
Avanti on Thomas and 28th street is an institution...just celebrated 30 years....you can't get more classic than that!
I think it also depends on what your definition of Italian is. If you are looking for hearty New York style Italian i.e. good pizza, calzone and basic pastas, I think Pat's at 12th and Glendale is fantastic. And there is no question it meets your hole in the wall requirement.
For more fancy Italian I have always liked Michelina's at 32nd and the 51 freeway.