Tutti Santi - Pleasant Surprise (PHX)
I just wanted to report on an unexpectedly lovely dinner that I had at Tutti Santi (near Squaw Peak) last week. I was attending a meeting across the street at the Pointe Hilton and joined several colleagues. I have to say I didn't have high expectations of a strip mall Italian restaurant in the middle of Phoenix, but was proven wrong. It's a great little restaurant with a lot of character and the service and food were really outstanding. Everyone was raving at the end of the night. We ordered a bottle of Veuve to start, but the restaurant was out so they gave us a 1998 (I think) Dom Perignon at cost so things got off to a good start! For appetizers we had the homemade ravioli, carpaccio and calamari. The carpaccio and calamari were fine, but the ravioli was the standout. They were fantastic - melt in your mouth. For an entree, I had one of the specials - veal wrapped around a filling of sausage and eggplant served over delicious noodles. I can't recall exactly what the sauce was. It was lighter than I had anticipated, but worked very well with the dish, balancing the rich flavors. I finished with the mascarpone cheesecake, which was again quite delicious as were the other desserts I sampled. Loved the flaming sambuca shots at the end of the night!
Brian was our server and he truly went out of his way to make our meal successful. He was very engaging, yet professional.
I was bummed that I couldn't get to Pizzeria Bianco, but am quite happy to have discovered this gem.
Thanks for the report. This place is in my neighborhood, and I sometimes bypass it in favor of places farther away. This is a good reminder not to overlook it.
I can't say I'm thrilled about this statement, though: "I have to say I didn't have high expectations of a strip mall Italian restaurant in the middle of Phoenix..."
Phoenix has plenty of good Italian food.
Strip malls are the dominant form of neighborhood retail throughout much of the country. In fact, even in East Coast cities I've often had far better Italian in strip malls and storefronts than in touristy "Little Italy" neighborhoods.
Not trying to start a big debate -- just defending my home against stereotypes, which thankfully turned out to be wrong in your case.