When I was a kid my Mom would take my brother and I out to dinner with her best friend and their kids. We used to go to Micelli’s pizza on La Cienaga in Los Angeles, for their spaghetti special night. Filippi’s is an upscale version of this memory. It really is an old fashion pizza joint, but has some added bonuses; really great Italian food at a very minimal price. I just stumbled in here one afternoon and asked owner Tom if I could do a tasting. He said all I have to do is feed you, well then come on down.
You’ve got your classic red and white checkered table clothes, café chairs, and Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling, what more could you ask for?
Here are my favorites:
Pizza – Pepperoni and Sausage, I have tried lots and lots of pizza, but this one stole my heart. It’s all about the crust done the right way, crispy and on the thicker side. The sausage is really outstanding, but don’t get me wrong, this is pizza done in the American way, or old school Italian. Truly one of my favorite pizzas ever!
Ravioli – Marinara Sauce, this is not your fluffy high-end Italian style ravioli, it’s the kind you would find in your local pizza joint. It’s done the right way and has all the great marinara sauce flavors.
Meatballs the size of California, the biggest I have ever eaten! Our waitress swears that this is her favorite thing on the menu; I can see why, they are not only big but delicious too.
Lasagna, this is old fashion lasagna at its best. With rich ripe tomatoes marinara sauce, lots of creamy layers and great juicy flavors, a real winner.
Salad – Antipasto with Garden fresh Vegetables plus Assorted Meats & Cheese, with Homemade Italian Dressing. The same kind of antipasto salad I remember when I was a kid at Michelli’s, but this one has a little more raw vegetables, still an excellent choice.
Sourdough Garlic Bread With Melted Mozzarella, the cheese is oozing off of the bread and it has the most amazing flavor, this one is a must have.
Linguini with Baby Clams, Olive Oil, Garlic, Clam juice and Spices. I like the fresh clams on this the best with all its hidden sauce on the inside of the shell, I would ask for more fresh then the mass amount of canned ones.
Fettuccini with Chicken, Artichokes, and Mushrooms in Alfredo Sauce. It’s kind of a tart flavor from the artichokes, but wonderful just the same. Try this instead of a typical Alfredo, it has a little more flavor as well as protein.
With their rich history, these restaurants do not get any more Italian. Vincent DePhilippis and Madeleine Stefani came to America in 1922, Vincent from Italy and Madeleine from France. They met in New York and married in 1925 and settled in Philadelphia. In 1950 they moved to San Diego where they opened a deli grocery on India Street, which was called Filippi’s Cash and Carry. Filippi’s has become a successful line of family owned restaurants. Today Filippi’s Pizza Grottos have many locations, and are owned and operated by family members of the original founders.
Come for the childhood memories of what a simple pizza joint used to be like, and for the true excitement of finding a rare treasure like this.
Filippi’s Pizza Grotto
645 First Street
Napa, California 94559