Dolce Vita Italian Grocer and Gelato

Good eating in the Valley of the Sun
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

Well we've been made... Walter recognized and thanked me (us) for the reviews immediately when I walked in this evening... So Dom, look out, he knows your name. :D The lovely young lady (Walter's daughter?) was fun to meet and they are both incredibly gracious and generous (not just to us but everyone who was in the restaurant this evening.) There were only a couple of other tables so seriously you guys, get out and support this place. The gelato side was doing a steady business, now we just need to get people to realize that there is great food on the other side. He was very proud to have received the New Times review.

And yes, he has Porchetta! I pulled right in front of the sign outside which had the wrapper (I assume) proudly advertising the meat. He's not kidding when he says that most things come directly from Italy. Here's where he's getting his porchetta. I gave him a hard time for the Rao's sauce from Brooklyn and he said that not everything from Italy is the best, he prefers the Rao's sauce over a few that he carries from Italy.
Porchetta!
Porchetta!
porchetta.JPG (64.81 KiB) Viewed 9567 times
We were greeted (as were other tables) with an amuse of sort of two pieces of bread, one topped with an olive tapenade and another with a sun dried tomato pesto tapenade. The olive was very briney and olivy (if that's a word). I'm not a big olive guy so it wasn't my favorite but it was good. The sun dried tomato was awesome. It hit all the right notes you would expect.
Olive and sun dried tomato pesto tapenade amuse.
Olive and sun dried tomato pesto tapenade amuse.
amuse.JPG (63.64 KiB) Viewed 9567 times
The house also sent out a very simple dish of prosciutto with olive oil, salt, and pepper. So simple yet so delicious. They also served it with their french bread. Mrs. Lunchbox loved the bread. The bread, olive oil, and balsamic on the table was quickly consumed by my wife and daughter.
Prosciutto with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Prosciutto with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
prosciutto.JPG (55.57 KiB) Viewed 9567 times
My 2 y/o daughter is kind of a picky eater but loved when we ordered her a plate of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. That's pretty much what she ate for dinner. (That, and gelato. :oops: ) They have such a killer selection of cheese. Yes it's not terribly extensive, but the quality is so good that it doesn't matter.

I'm such a sucker for arrancini and Dolce's did not disappoint. Mrs. Lunchbox didn't dig it (she was expecting it to be stuffed with cheese. Think Andreoli.)
Arrancini
Arrancini
arrancini.JPG (38.37 KiB) Viewed 9567 times
We also ordered the Ravioli di Zucca which was just as good as it was last time. (I should have gotten a picture of the filling, sorry Dom.) I wanted to try the bolognese but I was absent when ordering (chasing down said 2 y/o) so not knowing my preference, Mrs. Lunchbox also ordered the cavatelli with eggplant marinara (It's probably called something different on the menu, but again, I didn't order :mrgreen: ). I would have never probably ordered this but I'm glad she did (it came as a suggestion from our waitress). It was awesome. Perfectly acidic red sauce with small pieces of eggplant throughout, on top of perfectly al dente cavatelli. Noticeably finished with olive oil. Such a nice touch.
Cavatelli with eggplant marinara.
Cavatelli with eggplant marinara.
cavatelli.JPG (51.46 KiB) Viewed 9567 times
We finished by sharing a cup of chocolate and a cup of Madagascar vanilla gelato. If you're a fan of chocolate I recommend it. It's very chocolaty and just about perfect. I also walked out with some olive oil, pasta, and pancetta for Sunday's dinner. This place is a gem.
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

We set out to bring my mother in law for dinner tonight... I was excited all day at the prospect. Then my daughter took a really long nap so it looked like it wasn't going to work. But then my MIL offered for Mrs. Lunchbox and I to go by ourselves and we could bring something back for her. Well you don't have to tell me twice.

We started with the classic bruschetta. I love his bread. This was served on a more classic Italian style bread than the french style bread he serves. I would almost call it a ciabatta but only in the way it looked, the texture wasn't ciabatta. I wish the tomatoes were a little brighter but they're not in season right now so I can't complain. I got a nice piece of garlic on my piece that I cut up a little smaller and distributed on my piece. Delicious. Mrs. Lunchbox thought the addition of the balsamic on the table was just what it needed. I liked it either way...
Classic bruschetta.
Classic bruschetta.
bruschetta.JPG (54.7 KiB) Viewed 9496 times
First out came the ricotta and spinach ravioli. It was different than last time. A little lighter on the butter sauce maybe but slightly better overall. Super well balanced with a salty/nutty flavor.
Ricotta and spinach ravioli.
Ricotta and spinach ravioli.
spinach.JPG (49.51 KiB) Viewed 9496 times
The ricotta and spinach ravioli filling.
The ricotta and spinach ravioli filling.
spinachdetail.JPG (56.25 KiB) Viewed 9496 times
We also had the pumpkin and marscarpone ravioli again (the reason why we wanted to bring my mother in law) so I managed to snap a picture of the filling.
Pumpkin and mascarpone filling.
Pumpkin and mascarpone filling.
pumpkindetail.JPG (51.31 KiB) Viewed 9496 times
And then finally the lobster ravioli came out. Walter said this was a new menu item and this was literally the first time he had made it at the restaurant. He was funny, he went "shopping" in his store a few times to finish cooking this dish. The sauce was awesome. He said it's olive oil, garlic, Italian cooking cream (which I bought), tomato paste, and salt and pepper. So simple and full of flavor. The filling was chock-full of lobster. Great dish. My MIL was very happy with the bounty we brought her home. I'm so happy this place is so close to home.
Lobster ravioli.
Lobster ravioli.
lobster.JPG (49.23 KiB) Viewed 9496 times
Attachments
The lobster ravioli filling. That's real lobster!
The lobster ravioli filling. That's real lobster!
lobsterdetail.JPG (50.52 KiB) Viewed 9496 times
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

Here are some pictures from tonight's tasting... It was a little bit of a cluster f*ck because there were a lot of people there at about 6:30 when we arrived. But it was still nice... I'm anxious to talk to Walter to get his thoughts. We only stayed for about 10-15 minutes because Mrs. Lunchbox's unborn fetus needed a real dinner...
Attachments
Olive oil and honey tasting by the door. The guy playing the guitar was awesome.
Olive oil and honey tasting by the door. The guy playing the guitar was awesome.
photo 4.JPG (64.93 KiB) Viewed 9470 times
Some good looking gift baskets for Christmas.
Some good looking gift baskets for Christmas.
photo 3.JPG (74.16 KiB) Viewed 9470 times
It was a well attended event.
It was a well attended event.
photo 2.JPG (55.24 KiB) Viewed 9470 times
Salumi and cheese tasting.
Salumi and cheese tasting.
photo 1.JPG (68.74 KiB) Viewed 9470 times
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
ScottofStrand
Posts: 626
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post

I didn't get to the event until after 7, and it was even busier! I think maybe it was more than they were expecting, because they were certainly running around a lot. I really wanted to hop behind the counter and help out, but I restrained myself and just spent some time wandering and occasionally sampling cheese, olive oils and gelato to the sounds of the live music.
Dolce Vita
Dolce Vita
DV Crowd.jpg (62.81 KiB) Viewed 9441 times
Eventually, Walter was able to come by and we even ordered some pasta.
Taglietelle
Taglietelle
DV Taglietelle.jpg (43.36 KiB) Viewed 9441 times
Spinach Ricotta Ravioli
Spinach Ricotta Ravioli
DV Spinach Ricotta Ravioli.jpg (37.51 KiB) Viewed 9441 times
I took home a nice chunk of Piave, some Acacia Syrup and a really killer olive oil. Glad to see they are developing a nice following of loyal customers.
Olive Oils
Olive Oils
DV Oils.jpg (54.96 KiB) Viewed 9441 times
Three cheers for Dolce Vita!
User avatar
ScottofStrand
Posts: 626
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post

Quick note: Dolce Vita will be closed on Mondays now. Poor Walter needs a day off!

And a reminder... This place is amazing!
Dolce Vita Panini
Dolce Vita Panini
Fork-Vs-Food-Dolce-Vita-Grocer-Dolce-Vita.jpg (63.04 KiB) Viewed 9320 times
User avatar
ScottofStrand
Posts: 626
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post

Lunch today at Dolce Vita included sliced meats, Spaghetti with Clams and some Salatini on the house.
Assorted Salatini
Assorted Salatini
Salatini.jpg (44.67 KiB) Viewed 9279 times
The Salatini was nice and light. My favorites were the Tomato and Roasted Pepper. Good stuff!
Spaghetti alla Vongole
Spaghetti alla Vongole
Spaghetti.jpg (51.4 KiB) Viewed 9279 times
The Spaghetti was nice and simply prepared. I didn't get too much clam flavor, but there was a great taste from the olive oil. It was a bit mild after the assorted meats, but a little salt and it's a winner for sure.

Yum.
User avatar
Tim H
Posts: 280
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert, AZ

Post

Looking through the FNA list, my wife and I decided to try out Dolce Vita yesterday. We started with the bruschetta, which was good but not great (not surprising this time of year); still I'd get them again. The spinach ricotta ravioli in butter blew me away. Delicate, perfectly seasoned, with just the right note of spinach. Best ravioli I've had in a long time. We also had tiramasu, which of course was delicious. Can't wait to go back and try the bolognese.
Spinach ravioli
Spinach ravioli
IMG_0506.JPG (42.46 KiB) Viewed 9201 times
Cappuccino and tiramasu
Cappuccino and tiramasu
IMG_0509.JPG (54.88 KiB) Viewed 9201 times
There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

Tim H wrote:We started with the bruschetta, which was good but not great (not surprising this time of year); still I'd get them again.
First off let me say that I love this place, but I agree on the bruschetta. It's good, but not great... I think if he sourced better produce it could be totally out of bounds good... The rest of the stuff he brings in (bread/Olive oil/etc.) is so good but when he uses the Sysco produce, or where ever he gets it, the dish suffers. I'm not saying it's bad, just that it could be better.
Tim H wrote: The spinach ricotta ravioli in butter blew me away. Delicate, perfectly seasoned, with just the right note of spinach. Best ravioli I've had in a long time.
The butter he uses is from Italy (which you can buy from the case) and it's totally different than our domestic butter. He does a great job with those rav.

Tim H wrote:Can't wait to go back and try the bolognese.
I thought the same thing but I'll warn you on this one, it's a bit of a let down. At least it was for me. It's nothing like the bolognese you posted about from the Mozza cookbook... It's the opposite of your recipe... When I think bolognese I think "meat sauce" and his is very saucy with not a whole lot of meat... The D.V. bolognese isn't bad but it wasn't what I was expecting to arrive at the table...
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Tim H
Posts: 280
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert, AZ

Post

Thanks for the tip, Lunchbox. I'd still like to try the bolognese, but maybe something else first.
There is nothing either good or bad but gravy makes it so. - Kevin Hearne
User avatar
MyLifeOnVacatio
Posts: 354
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post

We got a couple of orders of the bolognese to-go last weekend. The pasta was sauced very lightly and the sauce itself had a meat flavor and was very good, but hardly any actual meat (not a problem for me, but husband would have preferred a version like the one mentioned above from the Mozza cookbook). We added a bit more fresh grated parmesan at home, so it all worked out and was quite tasty. I love cavatelli, and theirs is very nice. Perfect for the cold rainy weather last weekend. Husband had his with pappardelle, which I didn't try.

There was one lonely sfogliatella at the counter, so I made sure to bring it home. I didn't get a taste of it (since I picked out some salted caramel gelato for myself), but other times I've had them at Dolce Vita, they have been stellar. Much smaller than the traditional (I'm looking at the photo Dom just posted from Andreoli), but to me that's a very manageable size with a perfect pastry to filling ratio. After writing this, I may just have to swing over there for lunch and do a taste test to confirm what I just stated. 8-)
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

Great dinner last night. The food was better than I remember...

Before I forget - Walter told me he was at Andreoli's a few days ago and he saw their FNA sticker! He wants his ASAP!!! So I don't know who has his award (Bill? Dom?) but he's getting antsy to display it... :lol: Dom I'd be happy to deliver it if Bill doesn't want to...

Back to the meal in question. Our friend is in town and he mentioned in the car on the ride over that he was in the mood for some wine. I told him they didn't have any but we could BYOB... A quick stop at our neighborhood liquor store, problem solved. We let Mrs. Lunchbox have her way with the menu and we ate family style... We ordered a couple of old standbys, the ricotta and spinach ravioli and the lobster ravioli in pink sauce as well as a few items pictured below. The ravioli, as I mentioned above, was better than I remember...

We also ate about a loaf of bread with olive oil and balsamic. So good. Babybox loves cheese so we ordered her a few big hunks of Parmesan and she was in heaven.

So here's a few pix...
Don't forget that DV is BYOB! We picked up this bottle for $15 and it was really good!
Don't forget that DV is BYOB! We picked up this bottle for $15 and it was really good!
wine2.JPG (42.44 KiB) Viewed 9058 times
Seriously, do yourself a favor and bring a bottle. We haven't done that before but we found a perfect compliment to the food.
We started with the brasiola app. The lemon woke everything up!
We started with the brasiola app. The lemon woke everything up!
Brasiola.JPG (48.43 KiB) Viewed 9059 times
This is a dish we've had in the past. But they've never served it with the lemon before. Took this from an 8 to a 10... Really delicious.
Parma Sandwich - Prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, tomatoes
Parma Sandwich - Prosciutto crudo, mozzarella, tomatoes
sammy2.JPG (61.44 KiB) Viewed 9058 times
The definition of simplicity at its absolute finest. 3 ingredients between two marvelous pieces of bread. Outstanding. I never thought I'd say that about a simple sandwich.
Housemade tiramisu.
Housemade tiramisu.
tiramisu2.JPG (56.76 KiB) Viewed 9058 times
Mrs. Lunchbox and my daughter opted for some gelato but Walter persuaded Troy and I to share a piece of their housemade tiramisu. He promised an extra big piece if I made sure to get him his award soon. He made good on his promise... :lol: This was a really well balanced dessert with no ingredient outshining each other. I'm not a huge coffee guy and I really enjoyed this. I'd order it again in a heartbeat...

We also ordered a dish for my daughter, tagliatelle in pink sauce (we figured since they were making it for our lobster ravioli it would be easy). She had a few bites but I ate most of it... Really good stuff.

This is the kind of place that serves the food I want to eat everyday... The kind of place that you just relax, enjoy your company and take your time... Slowing down feels really good every now and again...
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Site Admin
Posts: 3469
Joined: 9 years ago

Post

Lunchbox wrote:Before I forget - Walter told me he was at Andreoli's a few days ago and he saw their FNA sticker! He wants his ASAP!!! So I don't know who has his award (Bill? Dom?) but he's getting antsy to display it... Dom I'd be happy to deliver it if Bill doesn't want to...
Talk to Bill! I handed it off to him last weekend :-)
Dominic Armato
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Site Admin
Posts: 3469
Joined: 9 years ago

Post

So y'all are just going to wait for me, huh? :-)

We had a small crowd at Dolce Vita for the certificate presentation last week, and, hey, lunch!

Of course, I wasn't on the ball so I missed photos of the bresaola and cheese -- some type of pecorino, I think -- that was typically delicious for one of Walter's selections. He also brought out a couple of little baked items -- toasty pasty canape-type things. This was the main event for me, though:
Ravioli all'Astice
Ravioli all'Astice
dolcevitaravioliastice.jpg (62.46 KiB) Viewed 9007 times
A little lobster ravioli for your enjoyment, stuffed to the gills and tossed in a "pink" sauce that was just barely pinked. Very tasty, great bite on the pasta. While eating it, I thought he'd done more of a vodka sauce. I was getting a little boozy love. But afterwards, he said he's started using bourbon in the ravioli filling. "A little sweeter." I love this guy.

He was incredibly gracious, and that sticker went right in the window at eye level within two minutes of the presentation. This is another place where I think we've had a real effect in helping to get the word out, and it's so nice to see them succeeding and even expanding the menu. Speaking of which, there's now a much larger pasta menu that isn't on the website. I've attached it to the first post in the thread.
Dominic Armato
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

Skillet Doux wrote:So y'all are just going to wait for me, huh? :-)
I didn't take pix... But to pile on with everyone/thing else, we had a great lunch. I had the Parma Sandwich again and what with the groceries we brought home from a few days before, I was eating this combo practically all weekend long... His prosciutto crudo is outstanding.

I had a bite of Bill's amatriciana and that was tasty. I love his red sauce. It's acidic in the most perfect way.

I agree with you Dom, the pink sauce is better than before. That's what we ordered on the baby's pasta and we both couldn't get enough... I've been telling everyone I know to go in and see Walter...
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Site Admin
Posts: 3469
Joined: 9 years ago

Post

Nobody's written about poor Walter since March? That won't do! :-)

I went down to resupply this week -- got some olive oil (so hooked on that stuff), a little Acquarello rice to have on hand, a big can of salted anchovies I need to bone out and repack -- and the Doux Drop and I had a little lunch as well.
Operaio
Operaio
dolcevitaoperaio.jpg (71.96 KiB) Viewed 8710 times
It's not rocket science here, it's just good product treated with a little care. The Operaio's made with mortadella and a slightly pungent asiago -- big, thick slices of the latter -- and it's just so nicely assembled on carefully toasted fresh bread. I really wish Dolce Vita were a little closer for me.

Walter was preparing for a wedding reception they were hosting at the shop the next day, so it sounds like things are going well. And you can't beat a little tiramisu gelato to finish lunch. Unfortunately I ended up with the strawberry gelato, since the Doux Drop decided to "share" (translation : I take yours, you take mine). But they're all delicious.

Such a wonderful little neighborhood Italian grocery... love this place.
Dominic Armato
User avatar
ScottofStrand
Posts: 626
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post

I stopped by Dolce Vita yesterday for a sandwich and a bit of tasty meats and cheeses. Of course, the sandwich was amazing as always. Walter told me that yesterday was the last day open at the San Tan location and that he would have a bit more time now that he could focus on the Mesa location.

He also mentioned that he found a location near downtown Mesa that he will be using to do some larger import orders. He said he will become a supplier for Andreoli's and DeFalco's, and finally will be able to get all the product he wants in his store. Exciting news, imho, since he already gets such great stuff.
User avatar
ScottofStrand
Posts: 626
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Mesa, AZ

Post

Stopped by Dolce Vita for some soul satisfaction during my lunchbreak.
Classic Bruschetta
Classic Bruschetta
Bruschetta.jpg (69.02 KiB) Viewed 8297 times
Killer classic Bruschetta is basically the sandwich bread, open faced with Buffalo Mozzarella, Sweet tomatoes, Basil and Olive oil. Simple and awesome.
Strozzapreti All'arrabbiata
Strozzapreti All'arrabbiata
Strozzapreti All'Arrabbiata.jpg (63.66 KiB) Viewed 8297 times
I decided to try a pasta that I haven't had here before. Nice twisted up noodles with plenty of bite in a very light red sauce with lots of spicy kick. No frills, just tasty, just like everything else here.

Still one of my favorite places in the valley for a reason. Ciao!
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

This place is such a treasure. Mrs. Lunchbox and I popped in for dinner on Thanksgiving eve for dinner and antipasto provisions for the next day.


The Bresaola never disappoints. We always order this. And then we get some bresaola to recreate it at home. A very nice family (who were obviously regulars) brought in a bottle of wine and offered up a couple of glasses to us. So I sent them an order of this and they loved it. That's the kind of place this is, very communal and inviting. We had a nice time chatting with Willie and his family.


Surf and Turf ravioli. Lobster ravioli in pink sauce and beef ravioli in bolognese. (Keep in mind this was two separate dishes.) I ordered them this way from Walter and he had to ask his wife Marti for an Italian translation... :) The beef in bolognese might just be my new fav. Expertly done and perfectly seasoned. The lobster is nothing to turn your nose up at either.


Everyone seemed to be buying this cheese, an Italian cow's milk cheese called "stracchino". We're glad we brought some home as well. It's so creamy and delicious!

I normally use my AMEX for everything, but they don't take AMEX here so I use a Visa card that I only occasionally use. Mrs. Lunchbox told me that this last month's Visa statement was 85% Dolce Vita purchases... Is that a problem? I don't think so... :oops:
Last edited by Lunchbox 7 years ago, edited 1 time in total.
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Lunchbox
Posts: 1076
Joined: 9 years ago
Location: Gilbert

Post

ScottofStrand wrote:Quick note: Dolce Vita will be closed on Mondays now. Poor Walter needs a day off!
Walter told me that they are open on Mondays through the month of December!

We're planning dinner with Mrs. Lunchox's mom and dad next Monday night... ;)

Walter said he's also doing an oil and vinegar tasting on Saturday, December 7th. I don't know any details aside from that but his events are always tasty...
-- LBX

Instagram: @zachary.garcia

Twitter: @zach_garcia
User avatar
Skillet Doux
Site Admin
Posts: 3469
Joined: 9 years ago

Post

I stopped by Dolce Vita this afternoon to do a little shopping. Sadly, Walter was closing out my favorite olive oil. Looks like the distributor won't sell it in smaller quantities anymore :-/

Good news, though... while nothing is done, he said he's working on getting a baker friend from Sicily to come over so he can take over the vacant storefront to the west of the grocery and put in a bakery and pizzeria. He said if it happens, there's plenty of Neapolitan pizzas around town, so they'd do the thick, Sicilian sheet pan kind of pizza. So that's potentially exciting news!
Dominic Armato