Restaurant Review – February 2007

Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review February 2007

By “The Elusive Epicurean”

This is one girl in need of a budget. My parents first realized they’d created a monster when, in college, I took them to my favorite French bistro. The host knew me by name. As did our waiter. He sent us free desert.

In theory, I am still paying for that meal. Like the mythic Amish Bread Starter, which can be kept limping along indefinitely with periodic sugar infusions, there’s been a festering balance on my credit card ever since. So it is always nice to discover a restaurant where the menu is both kind to my pocketbook and yummy to my tummy. Filippi’s Pizza Grotto is such a place.

Complete with candles, checkered table cloths, and a sea of twine-wrapped wine bottles hanging from the ceiling, Filippi’s serves up traditional Italian fare in a casual and family friendly environment.

Tired of cooking for your brood? Head to Filippi’s. (The children’s menu has spaghetti, ravioli, and lasagna, and prices range from $4.95 to $6.05). Bring the kids, Uncle George, grandma, and Aunt Patty’s best friend’s second cousin’s pool boy, because you won’t break the bank, and, with a menu that includes pizza, sandwiches, veal scaloppini, macaroni, manicotti, and more, they’re all bound to find something they crave.

Taking your girl to the movies, and want to make a night of it? Head to Filippi’s. You don’t have to dress up extra special, and a proper meal really is so much better than a bucket of popcorn, don’t you think? Better yet, if you schedule your date Sunday through Thursday, you can take advantage of Filippi’s “The Feast” special, which includes a 10” pizza, Italian roll, two salads, and two spaghetti/lasagna combos for the – drum roll, please – unbelievably low price of $19.95. I feel like I’m hosting an infomercial!

Alas, I was not on a date, but I did have properly starved dining companions. Since I could afford it, I invited not one, but two of my coworkers to share in the Filippi’s dining experience. One of them, we’ll call her K, asked if I was going to write anything embarrassing about her. Well, of course not. Who does she think I am?

And then it was time to order and K gave me no choice. She ordered a cup of Minestrone ($3.25) and . . . a meatball. A meatball. Singular. One meatball. If you don’t want me to portray you as odd, you really shouldn’t act like a complete loon. At least that’s what I was thinking until the meatball actually arrived. It was massive. Others have likened it to a baseball. If we’d had the foresight to bring calipers, we’d have wagered on its size. It had to have been at least 4 inches round.

K’s Minestrone was chock full of vegetables. I’d been told that everything at Filippi’s was made there, using the freshest ingredients, and after seeing the Minestrone I believed it. I know what I’m doing the next time I have a cold: getting some takeaway Minestrone.

Coworker L had Cheese Ravioli with Marinara Sauce ($7.25), and you could have fed two off of the plate that came out. I had the Fettuccini with Chicken and Artichokes ($12.95 a la carte / $14.95 meal). The Fettuccini was creamy and satisfying, and there was such a shocking amount of chicken that I’m pretending this was a carb free meal. Allow me my little delusions.

So the next time you’re thinking about feeding your family something from the drive through, think twice. Feed them a real meal at Filippi’s. Oh, and what’s for lunch tomorrow? You guessed it. Leftovers. Yum.


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