18795 N. Reems Road
Surprise, AZ 85374
Phone: (623) 537-5900
I love good, mom and pop, family-style Italian restaurants with red checkered tablecloths, Chianti bottle candle holders dripping with wax, and reasonably priced food, not the foo-foo, overpriced places springing up all over with tiny portions that have no resemblance to authentic Italian dishes. Little Sicily belongs in the former category.
A tiny place packed with snowbirds, I walked in to find all of the tables full and a line of people winding through the dining room waiting to order at the cash register. Once I figured out the process, I too got in line after setting my things on an empty table, ensuring that I would have a place to sit after ordering.
The young lady at the counter was very friendly and helpful and the gaggle of people in the kitchen right behind her appeared to be the owners, who happen to be Sicilian, like my wife, and their extended family. Curious about a veal dinner that costs a little over $10, I ordered the Veal Parmigiana ($11.05), which came with soup or salad and bread sticks, and a fountain drink. I had hoped for a glass of wine because I saw several people drinking from wine glasses and an array of bottles across the room. I was told, however, that this is a BYOB establishment and that there is no corkage fee. Good to know for next time!
The nice young lady with reindeer antlers on her head found me thanks to the number on my table that was given at the counter after ordering, bringing me first my salad and bread sticks, then the veal parm dinner. The salad was small, but fresh, coming with sliced red onion and tomato, and a small cup of blue cheese dressing that was more than I could use. The two bread sticks were rather tiny, but obviously homemade and delicious. I wanted more.
The veal was of the pre-formed, processed type purchased from large wholesale food distributors, but that was clearly stated on the menu, so I was OK with it. After all, I was not expecting much from an $11 veal parm dinner. The veal patty was perched atop a bed of spaghetti marinara and covered with more of the sauce and mozzarella cheese, then baked in the oven until melted and gooey. The veal patty was nothing to write home about, but the flavors were good and it filled the empty spot in my tummy. I would not order it again, but it did the job.
Little Sicily's forte seems to be their pizzas, which most of the patrons had ordered. The pizzas looked quite tasty and apparently come in a regular, thin, Chicago-style crust, pan, or stuffed the Chicago way. I liked the experience and the service more than the food, but will return to try their pizza or one of their sandwiches, of which the Chicago Italian roast beef would be my first choice. If you have not had an Italian roast beef sandwich on a crusty roll with melted mozzarella, sweet and hot peppers, and au jus, you have not lived.
They need a bigger place, table service for those who want to eat-in, better quality (real) veal, for which I would be happy to pay extra, a website, and a better place to put the soda machine other than crammed in right next to the cash register where people are standing in line. Otherwise, I was quite happy with my experience.
CombatCriticitic Gives Little Sicily 7 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!
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Title: Surprise (Phoenix), AZ: This Mom & Pop Italian Restaurant Has Unlimited Potential
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