East Valley restaurants: Italian/Pizza - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Guide

East Valley restaurants: Italian/Pizza

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Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 12:52 pm, Mon Oct 29, 2012.

Alessia’s Ristorante Italiano (5251 E. Brown Road, Mesa [480] 396-2888). Unassuming from the outside, this authentic Italian gem offers a cozy, romantic setting on the inside, and it recently expanded into the former insurance suite next door to create a new entrance, bar and waiting area. Owners Jonathan and Shari Carr prepare every dish from scratch, making the food the true star here. $$

Anzio Landing Italian Restaurant (2831 N. Power Road, Mesa [480] 832-1188). This Italian eatery, known as much for its location at the end of the runway at Falcon Field Airport as its food, relocated in September 2012 to the upscale Village at Las Sendas shopping plaza, giving its long list of pasta specialties an ambience upgrade to match. $$$

Arrivederci Trattoria (4221 E. Chandler Blvd., Ahwatukee Foothills [480] 759-9292). Highly recommended Italian specialties include the cannelloni de carne (beef-and-veal-stuffed pasta tubes with melted cheese and tomato cream sauce), chocomisu and cannoli. Oh, and don’t be surprised if the staff greets you with a double-cheek kiss. Additional location in Scottsdale. $$

Baci Italian Bistro (8830 E. Germann Road, Mesa [480] 988-1302). This out-of-the-way eatery, owned and operated by a family whose patriarch emigrated from Calabria, Italy, in 1967, is known for portions so big you can eat them again the next day. Don’t be surprised to meet the owner in the dining room, where he likes to say hello to customers. $$

Buca di Beppo (1730 S. Val Vista Drive, Mesa [480] 507-9463). Yes, it’s an over-the-top Italian behemoth, but it works well for celebrations, thanks to the lively atmosphere and family style servings. Try the garlic mashed potatoes, Caesar salad and nine-layer lasagna. Additional locations in Chandler (7111 W. Ray Road, [480] 785-7272) and Scottsdale. $$$

Classic Italian Pizza (1030 E. Baseline Road, Tempe [480] 345-8681). It doesn’t look like much from the parking lot, but inside the dimly lit cafe are the best gourmet wood-fired pizzas around. Great wines, salads and desserts, too. $$

Cucina di Vita Italian Deli (142 W. Main St., Mesa [480] 834-3898). The wait at this casual eatery is occasionally downright atrocious, and the service can be absentminded, but the perfect-every-time pizza keeps us coming back. It’s the true gem of the menu. Try the ’Schroom (portobello mushrooms, spinach, onions and thyme), Quatro Fromaggi (mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta and gorgonzola cheeses), D’avolo (spicy sausage, capicola, pepperoni and crushed red pepper) or Cappriccosa (capicola, salame, mushrooms, olives, artichoke hearts, red peppers and pepperoncini). $

Del Piero at Queen Creek Olive Mill (25062 S. Meridian Road, Queen Creek [480] 888-9290). Go for the fresh olives and cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil at this Tuscan-inspired eatery and boutique within an olive farm; stay for the artisan sandwiches and salads. Dining outside amid the olive trees, often with live music and wine tastings, is nice, too. $$

Floridino’s (590 N. Alma School Road, Chandler [480] 812-8433). Don’t calzones look like pizzas dressed up as Hot Pockets for Halloween? Here, for $7 and change, you get a two-item calzone nearly as big as a football. The pizzas and pastas are tops as well. $

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (2168 E. Williams Field Road, No. 102, Gilbert [480] 814-7722). This New York-based eatery has been making pizza in coal-fired brick ovens for generations — and after the first bite you’ll know why. The menu is basic, but the taste is anything but. Not in the mood for a pie? Try the antipasto, which features mozzarella, oven-roasted sweet red peppers, Genoa salami, olives and fresh baked bread. Additional locations in Chandler (1035 W. Queen Creek Road, [480] 812-2100) and Scottsdale. $$

Jimmy & Joe’s Pizzeria (3950 W. Ray Road, Chandler [480] 963-6633). Tucked away behind a CVS store, this unassuming strip-mall eatery was voted Best Pizzeria in the East Valley Tribune’s 2011 Best of East Valley reader poll. Daily lunch specials include a gigantic slice and drink for $5. $

La Stalla Cucina Rustica (68 W. Buffalo St., Chandler [480] 855-9990). With a bubbling fountain, wood ceiling beams, iron chandeliers and stone walls, this Chandler pasta and pizza place exudes Old World charm. The Rustico (enormous focaccia sandwich with grilled chicken, avocado, sautéed spinach and tomato) is a good bet. $$

Nello’s (2950 S. Alma School Road, Mesa [480] 820-5995). If deep-dish Chicago-style pizza is what you crave, Nello’s pizzerias are where to go. The salads are scrumptious as well, especially if they’re topped with the thick house dressing. Additional locations in Ahwatukee Foothills (4710 E. Warner Road, [480] 893-8930), Tempe (1806 E. Southern Ave., [480] 897-2060) and Scottsdale. $-$$

New York Pizza Department (2580 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler, [480] 722-0898). Authentic, mouthwatering New York-style specialty pizzas and pasta dishes are on the menu at this local chain. Specialties include Broadway bruschetta, Da Works pizza, Al Capone calzone and New York’s Finest Cookie ’N’ Cream dessert. Additional locations in Gilbert (2743 S. Market St., [480] 782-6973) and Tempe (9845 S. Priest Drive, [480] 705-6973). $$

Oregano’s Pizza Bistro (328 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert [480] 882-9336). Waiting for a table is the norm on a busy night at Oregano’s, where the pizza is worth the wait. Choose a specialty pie or build your own on a thin crust or decadent, gooey pan crust. Any meal at Oregano’s should be followed by the Original Pizza Cookie (partially baked cookie dough topped with vanilla ice cream — the ultimate chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream). Additional locations in Tempe (523 W. University Drive, [480] 858-0501 and 1475 W. Elliot Road, [480] 966-0401), Mesa (1130 S. Dobson Road, [480] 962-0036) and Scottsdale. $$

Queen’s Pizzeria (125 W. Main St., Mesa [480] 964-1609). This family run joint is housed in an historic building, which they’ve quirked-up with video-game tables and local art on the brick walls. The pizza’s not bad, but the surprise standouts are the sandwiches, piled high on hoagie rolls made fresh in the restaurant daily. The Atlantic City (ham, cappi, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, provolone, tomatoes, spinach, oil and vinegar) gets us every time. $

Sauce (3426 E. Baseline Road, Mesa [480] 497-3500) One of the best order-at-the-counter concepts around — the thin, crisp individual pies are crowd-pleasers as are the paninis. Salads are very good and served with a sourdough roll. The tiramisu is tasty, too. Additional locations in Chandler (2551 W. Queen Creek Road, [480] 388-3640) and Scottsdale. $

Urban Legends PizzaWorks (894 E. Warner Road, Suite B-101, Gilbert [480] 525-7044) Pizza is still king, but today’s great pizzerias are much more than just a good round disc. Diners consistently rave about the massive wings and carnival-esque fried desserts (Twinkies, Oreos and more) at this still new Gilbert spot, in addition to creative pies like the Ma’Halo — with barbecued pork, pineapple, cilantro. But it’s the atmosphere that may top the list here. Area teens are welcome to perform their own music (Thursday is open mic night), catch the game, or just hang out in this safe, family-friendly spot operated by an area non-profit devoted to at-risk teens.

Venezia’s Pizzeria (33 East Southern Ave., Tempe [480] 858-1660). A favorite of ASU students as well as the 9-to-5 crowd. Get two giant slices and a drink for $6 and change, or try one of their overstuffed subs. In the mood for a pie with a little kick? Bring home the Italian Stallion, made with Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions and jalapeños. Additional locations in Gilbert (744 W. Ray Road, [480] 786-3200) and Mesa (2721 S. Ellsworth Road, [480] 380-1111 and 5057 E. McKellips Road, [480] 396-2000). $

Vito’s Pizza & Italian Ristorante (1947 N. Lindsay Road, Mesa [480] 832-3311). This southern Italian family eatery offers something to satisfy every appetite. From veal parmigiana to homemade lasagna, every dish is hearty and baked with love. $$

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