Posted by: Nancy
September 30, 2013
Last week I had a craving for Nello’s pizza and salad that would not go away. I gathered up a two of my pizza-loving friends and left work promptly at quitting time and headed straight to the Nello’s in Tempe at McClintock and Southern.
As we approached Nello’s front door, we could smell the rich garlicky, tomatoey aroma of good things cooking inside. I could hardly contain my joy and anticipation of the wonderful meal I was about to enjoy.
Our very friendly server, Rich came right to our table, distributed the menus and took our drink orders. It took us no time to decide that we needed to a little something to get us started. We ordered the roasted eggplant bruschetta, which is, as the menu promised, a tasty mix of eggplant, tomatoes, fresh garlic and basil topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Unlike most bruschetta, which usually comes already assembled with the topping on baguette slices, Nello’s serves the topping separately in a bowl with lots of delicious toasted baguette slices on the side. We all really liked this system and enjoyed piling on as much topping as our little bread slices would hold. It was delicious and the generous portion was more than enough for the three of us.
We also ordered two salads–a spinach and a spring–and a thin crust Margarita pizza. Nello’s portions are substantial, so we knew that this would be plenty for the three of us.
The salads were enormous and delicious. The spring salad is a lovely mix of baby greens, fresh mushrooms, imported gorgonzola cheese and lightly roasted walnuts. The spinach salad is a hearty combination of fresh spinach topped with lots of hickory-smoked bacon, hard boiled eggs, scallions, radishes, mushrooms and tomatoes. Nello’s is as famous for its delicious home-made salad dressings as it is for its pizza. We wanted to try a couple and ordered the creamy balsamic vinaigrette and their house Italian dressing. Both were delicious and worked well on both salads. The house Italian is so popular they sell it by the bottle to go.
Now at this point we agreed that we could have been fine with just the bruschetta and salads. But, Nello’s is known for its pizza and our original mission to Nello’s included pizza, so how could we not have some? Our beautiful Margarita pizza arrived all hot and bubbly. The crispy thin crust was topped with garlic, tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, mozzarella, Romano and Fontinella cheese and was incredibly good. Nello’s takes great pride in their homemade crust–so proud that their slogan is “in crust we trust.” We ordered the 12” and it was plenty for the three of us with enough left over for each of us to take home.
Finally, even though we were plenty full with little room left to spare, the menu’s description of the World’s Greatest Cannolis–two cannolis filled with a sweet ricotta cheese and topped with a chocolate caramel sauce–made them just too irresistible. We figured the three of us could handily manage two cannolis and we did. They were everything the menu promised and more. The cannoli shells were crispy and the filling and chocolate caramel sauce perfectly lovely. We had no regrets.
As we rolled out the door, we were three happy campers, quite full and looking forward to enjoying leftover pizza for the next day’s lunch.
Nello’s is family-owned with roots that go back to Italy. The family started with one small restaurant in Tempe 25 years ago. Today they also have restaurants in Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale. In addition to the delicious specialty pizzas, the menu includes a nice variety of tasty sandwiches, pastas, salads and classic Italian desserts, cannolis and tiramisu.
For more information on Tempe restaurants, visit http://www.tempetourism.com/dining-nightlife/.