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San Diego's Filippi's Pizza Grotto

Hounds,
I will be going to San Diego for a weekend. I heard Filippi's Pizza Grotto is great. What is so great about it? What should I order? What should I stay away from?

Thanks in advance

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  1. What is so great about it? I'd like to know the same thing myself, and I live here!

    I wouldn't waste one of your few weekend meals there. It's average red-checkered-tablecloth Americanized Italian food.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Josh

      What is good near the Sheraton on Harbor View?

      1. re: CHEFBUCK

        Hm, well there's not much precisely near that hotel - you'll need to cab/drive from there. I don't know that area too well, so others will have to chime in. You're kind of near downtown, and I like Cafe Chloe a lot. That's definitely a good choice. They do brunch on the weekends and that's really good, though the dinner is good too.

        1. re: CHEFBUCK

          Do you have a type of cuisine that appeals to you, and/or a target price range? As Josh said, you are not that far from downtown (and the Gaslamp District - search for that if you want to see a lot of disagreement) and a lot of places, so knowing your preferences might help people tailor their suggestions.

          1. re: CHEFBUCK

            Walk down to C Level Lounge (East end of Harbor Dr., about a 5-10 minute walk from your hotel). Ask to sit out on the patio, have a drink or two and an appetizer. Watch the boats, look at the naval vessels across the bay, and simply chill. This is one of the best views in town. The food can be wildly inconsistent, but drinks are usually pretty good. Island Prime, the other half of this restaurant, is an upscale and very expensive restaurant, which, IIRC from your previous posts, is not what you're particularly interested in. C Level won't break your budget and if the weather is nice, it's a very pleasant way to recover from jet lag.

          2. re: Josh

            I'll agree that it is average red-checkered-tablecloth Americanized Italian food but the one in Little Italy does at least have a nice deli.

          3. If you select the "Search this board" link above, and type in "Filippi", you'll get a few recent threads that discuss their pizza and other items. You'll find a few fans, and more non-fans, mostly having a problem with the "Americanized" aspect of their food (though IMO you can still be Americanized and pretty good - not sure if they fit that category). I do think that even the people that are pretty pro-Filippi's would say that it is not a destination restaurant, especially for somebody here only a few days.

            There are quite a few old-time San Diegans, when suggesting restaurants, throw out what I call the "F twins" - Fillipi's (a local chain, though many claim that the Little Italy one is better) and Fidel's (an old-time Cal-Mex in south Solana Beach, a bit north of the Del Mar racetrack and fairgrounds). I guess a while back, it was difficult to do a lot better than those places in a reasonable price range, so I could see fondness developing, but there are so many other options now...

            1. In defense of Fillipi's. Is it trendy, unique, light or bistro style? NO. But it is consistent fairly good "traditional" Italian. (I know for Italian purists it is traditional "American-Italian" but it is the red checkered type of place most Americans think of, if you say italian.) The thing is, it's not trying to be something it's not.

              If you like cheese on your pizza, you'll like Filippi's. I warn against ordering extra cheese on ANYTHING because it will be too much. As far as favorites, mine is the lasagna - a half order is definitely large enough. Be warned, the downtown location is the original and on weekends, there may be a line out the door. They do have other locations and I've eaten at the one in Chula Vista but not the others.

              1. I have to agree that Filippis isn't exactly destination eating. Its really a place for locals to sit back and eat relatively decent pizza and Southern Italian (albeit Americanized) food. The Italian population in San Diego originally came here to fish tuna, not cook, and it shows.

                As for what to order: the pizza is pretty good and somewhat unique. Its a dense pizza, heavy on the cheese, with an okay crust. The pasta is okay, and the sauce isn't bad. Really, there's nothing to avoid, but there aren't too many stand-outs either.

                Again, Filippis is really more for locals looking to eat Italian food after a long day at work. I had sports banquets there as a kid. I like it, but it isn't someplace I'd go out of my way for.

                1. Filippi's isn't going to blow any ones socks off. However, I enjoy the food that I eat there...that's limitted to their hot torpedos, meatball sandwich, pizzas, and a cold beer. I'm partial to the Mira Mesa/Scripps Ranch location too.