Floridino’s

Floridino’s
590 N Alma School Rd
Chandler, AZ 85224
480-812-8433

Floridino’s used to be a neighborhood secret. The secret is pretty much out! During the off season it can be tough to get a seat at lunchtime. During the winter, the place is packed. There can even be a wait for dinner. That said, Floridinos is worth the usually brief wait. The prices are great, the food is great, the service is great and the redecorated dining room almost has a hint of ambiance.

This isn’t the place to go for cloth tablecloths and expensive food. If you want a great lunch special for $3.50, then this is the place. The individual lunch pizza is an unbeatable deal and there are about a half a dozen other specials that are too good to pass up.

If you are interested in a unique individual pizza, I strongly recommend the spicey chicken pizza. It’s an individual pizza topped with chunks of boneless chicken wing served with a side of creamy ranch dressing. It’s one of my favorites and it tastes even better than it sounds. You can choose what kind of meat, cheese and veggie fillings you would like in a freshly made giant calzone. You can get sausage, meatball, pepperoni, broccoli, garlic and about a dozen other things in your calzone or on a pizza. My personal preference is for the white calzone with no tomatoes.

The chicken parmigiana sandwiches are bursting with sauce and cheese. The pasta dishes are available with meat sauce or marinara and a very interesting take on garlic bread.

While I’m not a huge salad fan, the Chicken Ceaser salad is probably the best I’ve ever had. They put big chunks of lightly breaded chicken on a mound of fresh greens. If your tastes run to the garden salad with vinaigrette or the chef’s salad, they are all prepared equally as competently.

For a great appetizer, meal or quick snack the pizza muffins are a great choice that you won’t see anywhere else. Picture a sliced up Stromboli cooked with your choice of fillings and made fresh to order. Delicious!

Floridino’s is a must for great, inexpensive Italian food. They rate five stars.

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Picazzo’s

Picazzo’s
http://www.picazzos.com
440 West Warner rd.
Tempe, AZ
(480) 831-5823

Picazzos attempts to be a semi-upscale Italian restaurant. Here’s a hint. Start by learning to cook plain pasta. We started the meal with cheesy bread sticks. Not exactly upscale, but hey, they could do something interesting to the bread sticks. Well they didn’t. Not ony wasn’t it interesting, it was bad. They served floppy flavorless bread with a glop of flavorless cheese on top. It was greasy and bland. O.K. so far so bad.

Let’s see if it get’s any better. We decided to go simple. What could be simpler than lasagna? So, with great trepidation, we ordered the lasagna. There is only one rational explanation for the dish that arrived. They must have a flavor extractor! They must have some way to remove flavor from their food, because there was absolutely no flavor in the food that we received. The meat was bland and flavorless. The sauce had no flavor. I don’t think I have ever seen tomato sauce that didn’t at least taste like tomatoes!

Here’s the scary part. The lasagna was the culinary high point of the meal! Our companions ordered penne in a cream sauce. Needless to say the dish wasn’t bursting with flavor. As a matter of fact the flavor extractor was used at full force. Worse than even the flavor, the sauce had no texture. Believe me when I say NO texture. It literally ran like water. Their dish was so bad they traded it in for a lasagna.

Dinner was about $30 couple without alcohol. Service was O.K., but the food was just awful. I would never go back again. Any of the chain pizza places would be better and cheaper than this place.

Original Review: Thursday, October 22, 2009