Recommendation requested - La Pizza or Guiseppe's.
This out of state Hound is coming to visit friends in Carefree next week and would like to take them for an Italian meal sometime during my stay. I recall seeing two places featured on Guy Fieri's Diners Drive-Ins show that seemed interesting - La Pizza al Forno in Glendale and Guiseppe's on 28th in Phoenix. Is either (or both) place worth the trip from Carefree? If so, what should we be sure and order? Thanks in advance for your help.
I went to Giuseppe's three times, about three years ago, when it was getting good reviews, and I was disappointed. I don't know if they were experiencing a dip, or what, but, I haven't been back.
A recent visitor was happy with her meal at La Piazza Al Forno, but, I haven't been there, myself. It looks like they feature the wood oven pizza.
Both of these places would be way down my list. I don't know where Guy gets his tips. He's had some good places featured on triple D, but, I don't watch it anymore, pretty bored with his routine.
Amarone is a decent mid-priced option that is much closer to Carefree than either Giuseppe's or LPaF.
Aiello's in midtown Phoenix is, I think, in the category you're asking about, but I've yet to try it. You should be able to find reports here or on other sites.
For mid-priced Italian, I generally head to PastaBar in downtown Phoenix. Even though I really like PastaBar, I don't know that I would drive all the way from Carefree just to eat there, given all the interesting (non-Italian) options along the way.
5202 North Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012
Amarone Ristorante Italiano
9011 E Via Linda, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
705 N 1st Street 110, Phoenix, AZ 85004
My idea of a good Italian "dive" in Phoenix is Pizza A Metro. Amarone is probably a better choice (same owner, much less divey, closer to Carefree).
I've actually added La Piazza Al Forno to my list of places to try. The only reason it's lower on the list is that I tend to splurge on Italian. The menu reminds me of The Cove Trattoria, which is also in Scottsdale.
Pizza A Metro
2336 W Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85015
La Piazza Al Forno
5803 W Glendale Ave, Glendale, AZ 85301
The Cove Trattoria
7001 N Scottsdale Rd Ste 127, Scottsdale, AZ 85253
La Piazza makes a really fantastic pizza. The owner is always onsite, at least every time I've been there guiding people in the kitchen and making sure everything comes out right. Sitting at the counter I get to see him visually inspect the pizzas as they come out, hearing him tell the guy getting it out that that one corner is too black and he needs to make another because 'we can't serve that'. Heck, it was a bubble on a 2.5" edge of crust that was black, nothing traumatic, but to him, it wasn't good enough to serve to someone that is keeping his business alive.
The Marsala is wonderful and the other dishes I've had there have been really great as well. However I don't know that I would make the trek from Carefree however. Of course, as my family are either there or getting something to go once a week, maybe I just don't want you taking my table.
I hit La Piazza Al Forno, tonight, with the 'rents. It was a success. We shared a margherita pizza, which was very good. I'd rank it below Humble Pie, but it was high quality, everything fresh and wood-fired. We all had dinners. Nothing too fancy, but very solid comfort food. My Mom and Dad liked it better than Tutti Santi, but, I would say I like each for different reasons. My linguine with Clams (red sauce) was very good, and a steal for $11.
I agree with johnsberg..Giuseppe's is a STAY AWAY!!! La Fonatanella is pretty good, nice and homey also having specials $44 for two entrees, btl of wine and I believe appetizer.
Higher end faves with entrees closer to $30 range is Marcellino's.
I think what you are hearing is that the restaurants mentioned are generally very good but not destination restaurants worth the drive from Carefree. There are a couple of Italian places in Carefree that I have not tried but have heard they were good. Maybe somehow can provide first hand knowledge of Giordano's Trattoria or Alberto's. Ditto for Pane e Vino on Pinnacle Peak Rd. in Scottsdale which would be well within reasonable driving distance. There are some pretty interesting restaurants in Carefree that are not Italian including Binkley's, possibly the best restaurant in Arizona, Cafe Bink and Cartwrights. Certainly not Italian but very good and nearby.
I'm back from my visit to our Carefree friends and wanted to report that we tried Guiseppe's on 28th for a light lunch and LaFontenella for a Saturday evening dinner. Guiseppe's cold antipasto salad plus an order of brushetta with 4 different house-made toppings provided a most enjoyable lunch . LaFontenella was also enjoyable starting with a hearty welcome from the owner,and continuing with very professional dining service and delicious food at a most reasonable price. I'd be happy to return to both places. Also, in the Guiseppe shopping center at Indian School and 28th Street I stumbled onto the Sprouts market which, for me, resulted in a wonderful shopping experience! Wish we had a Sprouts in my neck of the woods.
Thanks Phoenix Hounds for your helpful comments. I plan to be back in April.