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“Gives Italian food a bad name”

Filippi's Pizza Grotto
Ranked #47 of 4,799 Restaurants in San Diego
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $10
Cuisines: Italian, Pizza
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations, Takeout
Neighborhood: Downtown
United States
Level 6 Contributor
171 reviews
129 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
“Gives Italian food a bad name”
Reviewed February 15, 2013

This place is crazy.
There is always a line, usually going outside the door, suggesting that it is something not to be missed.
I convinced our group to try it. Even our concierge mentioned it and I thought there has got to be something here we need to try. Depsite the fact that the little deli at the entrance was filthy, I went against my better judgement and I was soo wrong to do so.
The only thing Italian was the inexpensive Lambrusco wine, which at least gave us a sense of humor to deal with the situation at hand.
The lasagna was bland and so rubbery. I had to take minuscule bites just to avoid choking on the (poor quality) cheese. Ditto for the pizza.
I didn't expect this place to offer refined italian cuisine, but come on, this isn't even Italian American food. I think we were served on plastic dishes and my kids who are used to real Italian food weren't quite sure what to make of this place.
After one slice of pizza you are set for a week- way tooo heavy.
I can't believe the place manages to stay packed. Sad to think that people actually eat this way.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank LLELS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,472 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Korean first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Level 6 Contributor
128 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Quaint Setting”
Reviewed February 14, 2013

Friends took us to this quaint restaurant in Little Italy, San Diego. Our friends had lived in San Diego in the 1960's, and Flippi's Pizza Grotto was their favorite restaurant then. They were excited to return and share their special place with us. Immediately, when we entered the spot, we knew we were in for a special experience. The front of the restaurant is a market and deli, specializing in Italian foods. We were seated immediately. There was much to enjoy while we awaited our pizza. Empty wine bottles hung from the ceilings. The aromas were intoxicating, We watched as the waiters served others very large portions. We couldn't wait to be served, and we were not disappointed by our large and delicious pizzas. We could see why our friends love this Italian restaurant.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank Chrisannandroger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
222 reviews
155 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Little hole in the wall with excellent food”
Reviewed February 6, 2013

Wandered thru the grocery section in front to small restaurant in back which actually connects to two more eating spaces, not sure if they were differently named than Filippis. The small antipasto salad was large enough for two, filled with salami and olives and pepprocini and utterly delicious. The sandwich was also huge...easy to share both for lunch for two. Waitress was attentive and friendly. Value was superb for SanDiego. The lasagna and pizza served others looked to be as good as our sandwich and salad. Would definitely eat here again. Carpeting was worn and stained and bathroom was basic but nice murals on wall.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Sunny405
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
san diego
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
17 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed February 3, 2013

My husband I were visiting and hoped to have good pizza in Little Italy. You have to walk thru a deli which is confusing, congested and since we had never been there, we didn't know if we had to wait in the deli area or continue to the restaurant. An older, woman, when we asked if we can be seated said "you have to stand back there" and pointed. My husband, confused, said "where" and in a condescending and rude way said 'right there- behind the sign that says "wait here to be seated"'. What a JERK. Strike two in Little Italy. We left as I REFUSE to give my business to places that don't know how to treat people. She should be fired.

  • Visited February 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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1 Thank eliz45pghgal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Warwick, Rhode Island
Level 6 Contributor
108 reviews
70 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
“Where the locals go”
Reviewed January 30, 2013

Our hotel van driver said this is "the place locals go" and told us it was a short walk from the hotel. The next morning (Sunday) we took a quiet walk into Little Italy and found Filippi's. It was closed, but we were amused by the signs instructing patrons to enter through a grocery store. As we were looking the place over, an older gentleman passing by said "you better get there early. Sometimes the line goes down the block and around the corner!"

A few days later we went on a Tuesday at 5:45. No line, but the restaurant was already quite busy. We were seated right away. Service was prompt and attentive. Food was excellent with huge portions. My wife had eggplant parmesan and I had pasta with sausage and meatball. Both dishes were excellent. And I must say that I haven't seen a meatball that big since the early days of the Bucca di Beppo restaurants. Prices were very reasonable. When we left, the line in the grocery store stretched back nearly to the store entrance.

Our experience was so good that we returned that Thursday about 5:30. Again no line, but already getting busy. Again service was prompt and attentive. This time we tried their Signature pizza with "everything" on it along with a carafe of sangria. As before, food was excellent and prices were reasonable. And when we left the line again stretched back through the grocery store. I have little doubt that the line on the weekends very likely goes down the block and around the corner.

This is a "must visit" San Diego restaurant.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Skipper300
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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