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Mar 26, 2010 05:48 PM

Mom and Pop Italian

I am searching for a mom and pop style of Italian place. I can't say i care for Bucco di Beppo. It isn't a great place for a simple quiet italian meal for 2.
Carrabas and Macaroni Grill do nothing for me. I am in search of a mom and pop spaghetti and Lasagna place that is reasonably prices with personal service.
IN the east Valley, Talianos used to fill the bill but it has been gone for ages. There was also a place called " The big Bowl" in Tempe that was simple and had great personality.
Any suggestions would be great. Just simple Italian food.

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  1. Well, not "mom & pop," but husband & wife - Marcellino's at 13th St. and Northern, is as good as it gets. It is anything but Carrabaas, in all respects. It is not super cheap, but well-priced and the service is personal and excellent, as is the food. If you do not see what you want on the menu, do ask, as there is more in the "back."

    My favorite Italian restaurant in the Valley,


    4 Replies
    1. re: Bill Hunt

      I love Marcellino, but I suspect it may be more upscale than what the OP is seeking. By the way, Marcellino is moving to the Southbride development in Scottsdale in a few weeks. I was in for lunch the other day ($40 for just me -- but well worth it) and my server told me that end of April was the projected move date.

      If I'm reading the OP's post correctly, it sounds like a quest for what is sometimes called "red sauce Italian." This phrase usually means comfort food based on the traditions of Italian-American immigrants with roots in southern Italy and Sicily. Entree prices rarely exceed $20.

      A few ideas of places that might fit the bill.

      Aiello's in Uptown
      Harley's in the Melrose area
      Riazzi's in Tempe

      Riazzi's Italian Gardens
      2700 S Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85282

      5202 North Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85012

      Harley's Italian Bistro
      4221 N 7th Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85013

      1. re: exit2lef

        Aiello's! Love That place! It's very inviting and the food is great! Haven't been to Harley's - strange cuz' it's in the 'hood. I like Christo's too - on 7th Street just N of Bethany. East side.

        1. re: exit2lef

          That was a concern, that I shared, as well.

          Thanks for the alternate choices,


        2. re: Bill Hunt

          I've been told by several people that Tutti Santi is fabulous. It is local, family-owned, and my Sicilian friend loves the place. He always tells me to get the Ravioli appetizer (and Osso Bucco, if they have it). I haven't been in yet, but will be going soon!

          Tutti Santi
          19420 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308

          1. re: ipsedixit

            No kidding, for me, mom & pop Italian begins and ends here with Cafe Roma. Because generally I don't open the menu, just ask the owners what they or the kitchen is eating tonight and have them bring me a bowl of that. With some wine and bread.

            (I mean the one way out in Alta Mesa, I see from searching there are several spots with that name; I don't know if they are affiliated.)

            Cafe Roma
            2011 N Recker Rd, Mesa, AZ 85215

          2. My son went to medical school in the area and he and his wife always went to Ralph's in Glendale. When I would visit, we'd always go there. Really good pizza, lasagna, spaghetti, Italian dishes, great salad, great salad dressing. I googled the place and will cut and paste a little info for you:

            Ralph's La Hacienda (Pizzeria & Italian Food)
            15236 N 59th Ave Glendale, AZ 85306 (near Bell)

            If you go, please report back, I am curious as to what you think!

            2 Replies
            1. re: cheri

              Here's a review of Ralph's: (and it definitely is a Mom & Pop kinda place, there actually is a Ralph and his family runs it):

              BEST PIZZA AND WINGS!!!
              by nicholio76 at Citysearch
              You can now get the best pizza and the best wings in one place; Ralph's Pizza has joined with Long Wong's Famous Wings. They have remodeled the restaurant; put in flat screen TV's and video games. They have added all kinds of new things to the menu, but the pizza is still the same. So, if you haven't been in awhile, you should go check out the new changes!

              1. re: cheri

                On a MISSION to duplicate that salad dressing- Even spoke to one of Ralph's daughters, a friend of my wife's- and she wasn't even sure what the recipe consisted of...Cheri, or ANYONE- Do you know? email me bk at blhannahco at yahoo....
                starting a small pizza delivery service in Kansas City, and I WANT THAT DRESSING SOOOO BAD! (Reward of free pizza/salad and nickel beer for the person that comes through for me! They have to pop into KC obviously!)
                thank you!!!

              2. I think what your seraching for is La Fontanella. It is extremely reasonble in price and it's a mom and pop.

                1 Reply
                1. re: drewb123

                  Here's the link...

                  La Fontanella Italian Rstrnt
                  4231 E Indian School Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018

                2. tommy v's at 32nd and camelback is my go-to place for red sauce italian in a casual setting. (i think that's what you meant by "mom and pop italian. ") tommy v's also serves excellent traditional brick oven pizzas -- think sausage and mushroom. It is an offshoot of the more formal Tomasso's next door. They are in the same mall as Tarbell's, another good choice but not italian.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: biga290

                    come to think of it though, Mark's spaghetti and meatballs are pretty darn good, even for an American menu ...

                    1. re: kmarg

                      Portofino Ristorante West is a great Mom and Pop in Surprise.
                      12851 Bell Rd. Suite 15 Surprise

                      Portofino Ristorante West
                      12851 W Bell Rd, Surprise, AZ 85374

                      1. re: kmarg

                        agreed the spaghetti and meatballs at tarbell's is excellent! also the calamari.