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Head To Filippi’s For Comfort Food

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Posted: Friday, August 9, 2019 10:13 am

There is nothing like eating a plate of pasta or a slice of pizza when you crave comfort food. With that frame of mind, my husband Dan and I went to Filippi’s Pizza Grotto on Palm Avenue on a weeknight recently. The parking lot only had a few spaces left which meant the place already had many customers who had the same idea as us.

The friendly hostess took us to our table and on our way we noticed many groups and families engaged in conversation and enjoying their meals. We were hungry and we couldn’t wait to order but we took a few minutes to peruse the menu which has a fairly large amount of choices. Pasta, pizzas, sandwiches and dinners make up the bulk of the menu. I knew I wanted to eat a salad and ordered a small Caesar. It was actually pretty big and shared it with my husband. The salad had slivers of carrots and red cabbage and a tasty dressing.

For those who want a more filling appetizer, Filippi’s Antipasto Salad which features meats and cheeses is a good choice. This dish which comes in three sizes can be definitely shared. Our waitress Laura told us that’s one of the most popular appetizers at the restaurant. She would know of course since she has worked at Filippi’s in another location since she was 16 years old. Dan decided to order a pepperoni pizza while I chose ravioli with meat sauce.

Filippi’s is one of 15 locations owned by Filippi’s family members. Owner Michelle De Philippis opened the Imperial Beach restaurant eight years ago. She started in the business working in her dad’s restaurant in Escondido when she was 10 years old.

The Filippi’s Pizza Grotto restaurants started with Vincent de Philippis and his French wife Madeleine. They met in New York and married in 1925. The couple moved to San Diego in 1947 and first opened an Italian market in Little Italy and the first restaurant in 1950.

Filippi’s in Imperial Beach is a very large space which prominently features red, white and green - the colors of the Italian flag. It has an old fashioned feel with red and white checkered tablecloths and old photos and paintings of Italian landscapes on the walls including the De Philippis family tree. There is also an outdoor patio at Filippi’s - perfect for summer nights to enjoy the breeze off the ocean.

And one can’t help but notice the Chianti bottles hanging from the ceiling. We were told by our waitress that people decorate the bottles putting their own touches on them. Laura also informed us that although some of the dishes are the same at Filippi’s restaurants the recipes can vary and so does the taste, and the Alfredo sauce is very fresh and made to order for each customer.

If you feel like eating pasta, Filippi’s is definitely the place to go. Pasta dishes include Fettuccine Alfredo Cream Sauce, Linguine Clam Sauce with white or red sauce that come a la carte or dinner choices. Other pastas include Spaghetti with meat sauce or marinara, Ravioli filled with beef or cheese with a choice of meat sauce or marinara. Rigatoni, Shells, Mostaccioli come with a meatball or sausage.

There are a variety of choices for pizza lovers that range from pepperoni and mushrooms, sausage and bell pepper, pepperoni, and Canadian Style Bacon. Pizzas at dinner come in 12 1/2 inch or 16 1/2 inch sizes. At lunch you can chose a 9 inch size. Filippi’s Pizza Specials include Vegetarian Special, Lillian’s All White Pizza and Fit for A King with cheese, sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, black olives, bell pepper and onions. There is even a gluten free choice.

Manicotti are stuffed with three kinds of cheeses and are served with meat sauce or marinara and you can add meatball or sausage.

If you can’t decide which pasta you want there is the Half & Half menu where you get two choices: Spaghetti and Ravioli, Spaghetti and Lasagna or Ravioli and Lasagna. A meatball or sausage can be added for $3.65. Half orders are also on the menu.

Sandwiches feature the Torpedo, Super Torpedo, Eggplant Parmigiana, Italian Sausage or Meatball among the choices.

Our food arrived quickly and my ravioli were covered in a tasty meat sauce, Dan’s pizza was very cheesy and delicious. I had a slice and really liked the crispy crust. We finished our meal with a delightful cannolo filled with a ricotta cream and chocolate chips.

Because weekends are very busy the restaurant recommends diners make reservations.

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, 285 Palm Avenue. Hours: Everyday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Call 619-754-6650.

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