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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!

            1 Reply
            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!

            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.

                  2. Nick's or Spinato's. Both family owned local "chains", if you can call 4 locations chains. They each have locations in Scottsdale and Spinato's has one in Tempe south of Arizona Mills. Nick's - www.nicks-italian.com/; Spinato's - www.spinatospizza.com/

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: RDBcooks

                      I believe that Spinato's location is actually just South of Tempe Marketplace, not AZ Mills. The Google Map seems to be mislabeled, in part, in this regard.

                      Edit: I *love* the signature spinach pizza at Spinato's (Midtown location).

                      1. re: RDBcooks

                        MUST like SWEET sauce if you go to spinato's, I'm not a fan!

                      2. That Italian Place is pretty decent.


                        That Italian Place
                        3941 E Chandler Blvd Ste 107, Phoenix, AZ 85048

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: AzDumpling

                          Your mention must have cursed them - they just closed.

                          I went once for lunch about eight months ago and found it pretty unremarkable, and empty on a Saturday afternoon.

                        2. Best Italian in metro Phoenix is Casa Mia on Via Linda in Scottsdale.

                          11219 East Vía Linda, Scottsdale

                          Food is terrific and the wines well chosen.

                          Casa Mia
                          11675 North 136th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: jock

                            Casa Mia is excellent. Tutti Santi is as well. I also like VinciTorio's in Tempe.

                            Casa Mia
                            11675 North 136th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

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

                            1. re: danieli10

                              Casa Mia is pretty far from "mom 'n pop" italian...at least my concept of it. I immediately think of something more along the lines of Ristorante Giuseppe, although this might be too far out from the OP's desired neck of the woods.

                              Casa Mia
                              11675 North 136th Street, Scottsdale, AZ 85259

                              Ristorante Giuseppe
                              13610 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ

                              1. re: crsin

                                Its family run, what more do you need? Unless something has changed that I don't know about.

                                1. re: danieli10

                                  My idea of "mom and pop" italian (at least for what the OP seems to be seeking) is more aligned with silverbear's description (see second response). I suppose being family owned does makes it *literally* "mom and pop".

                          2. La Famiglia Pizza & Pasta at Alma School and Warner is literally a mom&pop operation. WIth gramps and lots of the kids mixed in as well. www.lafamigliapizzanpasta.net

                            The menu is the basic italian you seem to be searching for- spaghetti, baked ziti, calzones, pizza, etc with reasonable prices.

                            Two caveats, though. First, its not quiet or romantic- there is quite a bit of to-go traffic, its in a strip mall, and the atmosphere is more family friendly than date night. Second, the service is erratic. I've alwalys gotten it to go, and sometimes they make my night with the care, and sometimes its just food to go.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: contemporaryscarlett

                              Thank you for this Post!!
                              La Famiglia was great!! just what the docter ordered. Simple no frills, good food.
                              The Garlic Knots were a hit!!
                              the Pizza was hot, tasty, delicious and had a great crust, not too thick soft and chewy.
                              The spaghetti had a sweeter sauce but all in all delicious.
                              The meatball sandwich was on soft crusty bread, hearty meatballs and slathered in cheese. It was the favorite!!
                              The canolis were even good. I will definetely hit this place again. The service was on, No frills, but fast friendly service.

                              1. re: azdevilz

                                Glad I could help you, and glad I could send some business to a local family.

                            2. Andiamo at Indian School and Hayden, very mom and pop and very good food, pretty good prices (15-20) for most main courses, drinks and sides can get expensive

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Dapuma

                                You're thinking of Andiamo Bistro at Indian Bend and Hayden.

                                Andiamo Bistro
                                6987 N Hayden Rd Ste A4, Scottsdale, AZ 85250

                              2. RigaTony's is quite good and is a real mom and pop - owners Mike and Chrissy Lopercio have had it since 1994. They just moved today (too new for a link) to a new building on the northeast corner of Warner and McClintock in Tempe and it's really nice; I was there for a sneak preview on Tuesday. Their antipasto salad is awesome; love their baked rigatoni.

                                Also, Jimmy's of Chicago on Gilbert Road just north of the Loop 202 has excellent Italian standards with all homemade pasta and sauces. Another mom and pop; husband and wife Zalena and Kerry Kersting opened it in Dec. 2008. Zalena's sister and brother-in-law own Jimmy's Place in Forest Park, IL, just outside Chicago.

                                Unlike some of the other restaurants mentioned here, the prices are really reasonable at both of these places. Service is great at both, too.

                                Jimmy's of Chicago
                                3107 S Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85295

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: 1wino

                                  I will definetely try La Famiglia, I do enjoy Rigatony's lunch they have great specials. They did however close the Mesa location and it was changed to Mardinely's (sp) It did not have the same love or attention that Rigatony's offered.
                                  I look forward to trying a variety of places suggested.

                                2. We tried Uncle Sal's on a recommendation last night and it was exactly what you're looking for Devilz. It reminds me of every neighborhood italian place my parents used to take me to in NY. I had the chicken picatta (with about a stick of butter in the sauce) and it came with salad and a little bowl of rigatoni. My gf had a stromboli that was very good. Those plus 2 glasses of wine came to just shy of $40.

                                  Uncle Sal's Italian Restauranti & Bar
                                  3370 N Hayden Rd Ste 120, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. How about Tiramisu Ristorante at Scottsdale and Shea! Not much to look at, but I have had wonderful seafood there.
                                    Tutti Santi is also an excellent choice. As is John Henry's in Tempe.

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

                                    John Henry's
                                    909 E Elliot Rd, Tempe, AZ 85284

                                    Tiramisu Ristorante
                                    10435 N Scottsdale Rd Ste 1, Scottsdale, AZ 85253