Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Southwest >
Dec 28, 2007 05:12 AM

Aiello's Phoenix, Has anyone tried it yet?

Aiello's Fine Italian Dining took over the spot vacated by Panino on Central. My SO and I will be trying Aiello's out sometime this weekend. Has anyone else tried it yet?
Aiello's is located at 5202 N Central Ave, just north of Camelback.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just got back from dinner at Aiello's. This was our first visit, but it definitely won't be our last. Aiello's is off to a great start. We walked in without a reservation but were seated promptly. I wouldn't count on this being possible for long, though. Even though it was a Sunday night, the restaurant was 2/3 full; that's pretty impressive for such a new place.

    The meal started with a bread basket that contained a mixture of baguette slices and focaccia. Both were impressive, but what really stole the show was a spread of roasted spicy red peppers in oil. It added a nice spark to the bread basket. For those who are spice-averse, an herb butter was also provided.

    As appetizers we ordered two classics that we use to benchmark Italian restaurants: minestrone soup and caprese salad. Both were excellent. The soup had a thick tomato base with al dente pasta, cannellini beans, and vegetables mixed in. The caprese featured fresh mozzarella that our server said was made daily on the premises.

    Our entrees were two pasta dishes. My wife's was a classic dish of ricotta ravioli with pomodoro sauce. This is a simple dish. In fact, I make it every few weeks with frozen ravioli I buy at Trader Joe's. Nevertheless, Aiello's executed the dish with elan. The tomato sauce brought out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes in a way that reminded me of the excellent sauces at Marcellino. My entree was orechiette pasta with cannellini beans and escarole. This dish featured al dente pasta with beans and greens -- a delicious, albeit filling, combination. I took half home.

    We did not sample any of the meat or fish entrees, but if they're as well executed as the pastas, they should be quite good. I heard rave reviews of pork and beef dishes emanating from nearby tables.

    Dessert was a combination of housemade gelatos: dark chocolate and vanilla. It was a simple dessert, but an effective end to the meal. Aiello's seems to have a good wine program. The list is only one page, but it is 100% Italian and features many interesting choices. There is also a full bar available for those who prefer cocktails.

    Service was generally good. Our server was prompt and polite. He was a little uncertain on some aspects of the menu, but any gaps in the server's knowledge were filled in when the chef/proprietor Joe Aiello stopped by our table -- not once, but twice -- to check on our meals and answer any questions we had.

    Given that the old Panino struggled in this location, it's good to see Aiello's off to such a strong start. We overheard someone mentioning some recent TV coverage. I found the story online. Here's a link:

    Restaurant Web site:

    2 Replies
    1. re: silverbear

      Thanks for the review - I work nearby and see they are open for lunch so I will have to give it a try soon.

      1. re: silverbear

        Thanks for your review! My SO,his parents and I went last night and we had an excellent time, especially since SO's mother is EXTREMELY hard to please.

        Our server, Denise, was so polite and had no trouble making suggestions. We started with cocktails and yes, the wine list is Italian and at fair prices. During cocktails the bread was served, piping hot. The herb butter was very good and the pepper mix was tasty and spicy. SO's mother ordered a caeser salad and SO and I split a house salad. She said her caeser was "okay" which for the rest of us would mean "very good" LOL. Our house salad was mixed greens, red onion, small squares of parmesean in a nice balsamic vinaigrette. It was light and tasty.

        Our entrees were served nicely timed after salads, the service was flawless. I had Veal Saltimbocca, it was delicous. The marsala wine sauce had loads of mushrooms, carmelized onions and whole pieces of roasted garlic. It was very good. SO had Aiellos's "famous" Spaghetti with Meatballs, he said the spaghetti was very good and the meatballs were delicious. I tasted one, they were really good, very moist, not over cooked and not full of filler. I never order meatballs because for me they are never that great and these are really delicious. SO's dad has veal scaloppini and he loved it. He kept quiet through his meal, never offered to anyone and ate the whole thing. SO's mother had the rigatoni with wild mushrooms and shallots in olive oil. It was "okay" LOL Although she ate 90% of it! "This is too much pasta for me, rigatoni is just too big" LOL You get my drift I am sure. Hers looked great and she didn't offer to share with anyone either! ;)

        Joe came to our table after dinner. He is a very nice man and handled the SO's mom well when she asked if he needed Gordon Ramsey to help him?! What did she just say?? LOL He was very gracious. We were so full we didn't have desert, next time I would love to try the gelatos. I was throughly impressed with service, food and prices. I look forward to going there again.

      2. Geez, I hope they make it -- it's one of those doomed locations, a black hole ... I love to see when a good restaurant breaks the spell. Here's hoping Dragonfly (had a fantastic lunch there last week!) gets it done in Tempe, and as for Chelsea's Kitchen, perhaps they've broken the spell of the mother of all doomed locations by bulldozong it and starting over -- is it too soon for them to declare victory?

        1. Went to Aiello's on Saturday for dinner and what a dissapointment. We started with the bread basket and the homemade bread which is wonderful. The roasted red pepper spread is very spice and no one warned us about that. Was rather shocking at first bite. The staff needs to inform the patrons of the heat factor.

          We had the portbello mushroom and mussels as appetizer. Both were ok but nothing special.

          For the entree, I was torn between the the chicken milano and the spaghetti with meatballs. After discussing the selections with the waiter I opted for the meatballs, not something I would normally order. The meatballs were good but the sauce was beyond bland. I only ate a small portion since it just was not that appealing. There were 5 in our party and everyone agreed that their food was bland. Some garlic and seasoning are needed. I tried the Veal Marsla and that too was bland.

          No one ordered dessert since I think we were all disappointed in the food.

          On the postive side, our waiter was wonderful, service great. The best food of the evening was the bread. A huge dissapointment and will not be returning.

          10 Replies
          1. re: bartles

            You didn't like the spice in the red pepper spread but found the food too bland? That seems a bit contradictory to me. The items you ordered seem, frankly, like rather ordinary crowd-pleaser dishes. I wouldn't expect them to be overly flavorful in any restaurant. Why not give Aiello's another try and focus on some of the more interesting dishes or the daily specials?

            1. re: bartles

              I am from NY and dined there on my husband's birthday in Feb. It was excellent. I am shocked with your review. I had a side of meatballs which was perfection. He had chicken Parm or Lasgana can't remember and I had The artichoke starter which was a little on the rich side for me and my main was a chicken dish very good.

              What Italian do u like in Phoenix? Just curious.

              1. re: drewb123

                I thought the meatballs by themselves were good. It was the sauce that had no flavor thus detraction from the entire dish. Another person in our group who ordered the same dish felt the same way. There were 5 of us in our party no one felt the entrees had much flavor. I did sample all the choices which included: lobster ravioli, saltimbocca and the veal marsla. Of all the choices, I would suggests the saltimbocca. I normally would not order spaghetti and meatballs but the waiter was raving about them so went with his suggestions. Maybe the chef was having an off night?

                They do get point for the dice game (forget the name) they play at the end of the meal. Thought it was a clever idea.

                I am not sure I have a favorite Italian restaurant in the area yet. Lived in NYC for 10 years and Chicago for 7. In Phoenix 1/1/2 years so checking out the scene. Been to Giuseppe's and recall it not being bad and L'amore, but not a fan. On my to try list are Ninetta's, LaBella and That's Italiano.

                1. re: bartles

                  If you try Ninetta's, be sure to get the lobster ravioli. I had it the first time we went there and I was swooning! Subsequent visits proved to be "eh", but I'm still dreaming about that lobster ravioli.

                  1. re: bartles

                    I would try La Fontanella and Marcellino's haven't heard of Ninettas where is it? I HATE giuseppe's have no idae how they are in business Sorry

                    1. re: drewb123

                      I agree with the negative review. Can't remember what we ordered but both myself and my wife were unimpressed. We have not been excited by most Italian in Phoenix. If we had to pick favorites they would probably be Daniel's and Venneto Tratoria.

                      1. re: avandelay

                        Negative review of Giuseppe's or Aiello's?

                        1. re: silverbear

                          I'll throw out a few opinions having tired most of the places:

                          Giusseppes - Food OK, not great, seemed pre-prepared
                          Daniels - Loved it, elegant, and a little decadent
                          Marcellinos- loved it, spicy, rich and wonderful presentation
                          Aiellos - very respectable, good sauce, nice pasta
                          can't speak to others mentioned here but will throw in two adds:
                          Un Bacio- best thing ever since Brioni chef moved there ,try it!
                          Italian Grotto - mixed reviews on the board, but always solid for me in Old Scottsdale

                          1. re: silverbear

                            Aiello's Don't think I've ever been to Giseppe's

                        2. re: drewb123

                          Ninetta's is at 8th St. and Union Hills, in a strip mall.

                          814 E Union Hills Dr, Phoenix, AZ