To me -- and I don't think I'm alone in this assessment (or I wouldn't be nominating them) -- this is the kind of simple, satisfying, full-flavored but humble standard to which all neighborhood Italian restaurants should aspire.
I'm not knocking East Coast-style Italian-American. I love a good red sauce place as much as the next guy. Probably more. But restaurants like that are a dime a dozen. It's a rare thing to find an Italian restaurant in the States serving Italian food that Italians would recognize as Italian. It's rarer still when that food is made with top-flight ingredients, local or imported as quality dictates. It's rarer still when those ingredients are not only procured, but just as often skillfully handcrafted in-house by a culinary jack-of-all-trades who cures his own meats, bakes his own bread, produces his own fresh cheeses and does his own pastry. It's rarer still when that culinary jack-of-all-trades transforms those ingredients into a stunning and ever-changing array of perfectly crafted traditional Italian dishes that sing with the same joy that they do in la madrepatria. And it's rarer still when those dishes are served in a comfortable, casual place, free of unnecessary trappings, where the family behind the counter is as authentic -- both in bloodline and disposition -- as the foods they produce.
As such, it is my pleasure to submit Andreoli Italian Grocer for Food Nerd Approved consideration.
There are few at this point who would quibble, I think, with the truly exceptional quality of the food. From stunning whole grilled fish, to meltaway gnocchi, to hearty meat sauces, to simple and restrained pastas, to luscious cured meats, to fabulous marinated vegetables, to the crust of that bread -- I could go on. It embodies the soul of Italian cuisine, that of the best possible ingredients, simply but deftly prepared and allowed to speak for themselves without overcomplication. And more impressive, the white board is like an endless font of traditional Italian dishes, constantly changing, rarely a week that goes by without a few new items, always a fresh offering even for regular visitors. Giovanni Scorzo is a truly gifted cook with a keen sense for the very best ingredients and an encyclopedic knowledge of how to best bring out their inner beauty.
What's more, the character of Andreoli is decidedly unique, at once Arizona and old world Italy, a neighborhood fixture where there's almost always a table full of Italians sipping espresso and yelling at a soccer match on TV. It's a family business -- a family that came from abroad and has made Phoenix its home -- refreshingly genuine in an industry too often masked by a false, servile facade. And families are also their day-to-day audience, befriended and welcomed, seemingly comprising the bulk of the clientele on weeknights.
The excellence and character of Andreoli has not been lost on the PHXfoodnerds community. A lengthy thread has produced a substantial number of raves:
golbsalt wrote:Delicious bordering on ethereal - yes, especially if you have a soft spot for hand crafted Italian. Every time I stop here, this place takes me back to my earliest culinary roots as a 19 yr old learning to cook from the old Italian ladies in my Brooklyn neighborhood.
gritsnyc wrote:So I made it over to Andreoli's for a late lunch today. And I loved it before I even ordered my sandwich -- you can check my Twitter feed to see why. What I left out: the boys were trying to pair me off with the busboy by the time I left, despite my obvious pregnancy and wedding ring. Hilarious.
kennyz wrote:Andreoli's spaghetti alla vongole rivaled the best I've ever had. Pristine clams were plump and delicious, and their flavor fully permeated the otherwise simple butter sauce. A little garlic. A little parsley. Perfect balance. Mouth-watering perfection.
Dapuma wrote:[Regarding the sfogliatelle] Verdict: AWESOME - one of the best pasteries I have had outside of Paris, Very simple with the flavors but all done really well, lemon and orange zest light accents to the bread puddingish interior with a chewy bread wrapping and a crispy exterior...
BarbaraToombs wrote:I really enjoyed this one...everything we had was outstanding. Highlights in my book were the ravioli, the calamari, and, surprisingly, the potatoes and leeks. I could have easily eaten an entire plate of leeks prepared like that on their own!
uhockey wrote:...this place is doing things very right and deserves every bit of the praise they get here and elsewhere.
Pato wrote:As many posts have noted it is expensive, but as many posts have noted I cannot think of their equal in the valley.
...and recent outings have met with great success.ericeatsout wrote:I know you already said it, but Andreoli is *amazing.*
Andreoli is a true gem of the Phoenix food scene, with atmosphere and character, and no shortage of fans in our community. Should you agree, I urge you to voice your support.
Andreoli Italian Grocer Discussion Threads:
Andreoli Italian Grocer
North Scottsdale recs
Andreoli Italian Grocer
8880 E. Via Linda
Scottsdale, AZ 85258