Once upon a time there was a sub-genre of movies called Spaghetti Westerns. They were Western movies that were produced by Italians, making them look and feel different from your more traditional Westerns. Old Town Scottsdale is kind of set up to look like the old west. And in Old Town Scottsdale is an old school Italian place called Italian Grotto. It’s like spaghetti in the west, but there is good, bad and ugly about it.
Let’s start with the good. I definitely liked the lasagna that I ordered. It was loaded with layers noodles, tomato sauce, ricotta and a meaty combination of beef and Italian sausage. It was what you expect from an old school lasagna.
The bad was the price. This slice of lasagna ran me $15. You go to an upscale place and that’s pretty expected, but you don’t expect it at a place like this. Of course, it must be understood that this lasagna is located in Old Town Scottsdale, which is essentially tourism central in Scottsdale. Yet, for a price like that in a place like that, I expect something a bit more special.
Then there’s the ugly. Something about Italian Grotto just kind of felt dirty. And not like the kind of dirty that adds character to the place. The kind of dirty that makes you question the tap water and cleanliness of the silverware. Perhaps that was why it was pretty empty during the daytime on a weekend. Places like this may just be meant for dinner because the darkness hides the ugly.
The Italian Grotto got the job done. It didn’t impress and at moments it did disappoint. Better Italian can certainly be found around Phoenix at a better price. But if you do find yourself craving Italian food while in Old Town Scottsdale, make sure it’s at night or come up with another craving.