Looking for an old school red-checkered tablecloth Italian restaurant, pizzeria?

There was a time in our country's history where the red-checkered tablecloth Italian restaurant was a familiar eatery in every city of any size, especially back east. Sadly, as American's tastes became more sophisticated - some might say snooty - this type of restaurant has fallen out of favor.

It's too bad because these traditional red sauce Italian joints served good, hearty food. In my native home of Detroit, these places were common. 

They always had good pizzas and a menu featuring standards like lasagna, ravioli, spaghetti and meatballs, and some veal choices. Some of these places still exist, but they are becoming hard to find.

Luckily for us, some friends of ours - native Californians no less who may not have seen as many of these types of places - took us to their favorite restaurant in Northern California, Filippi's Pizza Grotto. Located just outside downtown Napa, you know the international renown city with high priced wine tastings and higher-priced trendy restaurants, is this branch of the family-owned California chain was like taking a step back into one of those old places of a bygone era.

The tables had the standard red-checkered tablecloths and empty bottles of chianti hanging from the ceiling. I knew our hosts' assessment was correct, and we were about to have some great pies.

We ordered two pizzas - a large with extra cheese and a small garlic and olive oil pizza also with extra cheese. When the pizzas arrived, we thought we would be taking some home, but they were so good there was no need for a to-go box.

Like many places, Filippi's placed our pepperoni (and other toppings) under the cheese. The crust on both pies was crispy on the bottom and nice traditional pizza dough. The pizzas, which we enjoyed with a couple of pitchers of ice-cold Peroni beer were nothing short of exceptional.

Our visit was on a Saturday afternoon, so our service was speedy, and our server was friendly and efficient. We couldn't have asked for more from our server, and the meal was worth the drive from Elk Grove. 

As noted earlier, we only had pizza, but the menu is full of old-school Italian favorites. We'll be back, and if we can get past the pizzas, we'll try one or two of these entrees. If they are anything like the pizzas, we'll be in for a real treat.

Filippi's Pizza Grotto's location information and menu can be viewed here. 

Copyright by Elk Grove News © 2019. All right reserved.


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Capt. Benjamin Willard said...

Now if someone could replicate a Tony Packo's!

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