Still looking for that traditional neighborhood Italian restaurant? Check out La Grotta in Yonkers.

I have to hand it to my folks for finding this awesome little Italian joint. It’s one of those restaurants that has a huge menu, homemade pastas and sauces, delicious meat and fish dishes and very reasonable prices to match. Plus it feels like you took a time machine back to the late 80’s….which I love. It’s so old school that it doesn’t even have a website for WWG to promote!

 As soon as you sit down not only is bread brought to the table, but also a plate of complimentary Bruschetta. It’s nice these days to get something for nothing! Then the server will typically let you know about a deal on one of the wines they are trying to move. The servers are fairly knowledgeable about the wine, but it’s not someplace I would trust them whole heartedly. So you may want to ask a question about the wine just to test them out a bit.

 As for the wine list, it’s small and all Italian. However, they do have some very good values. The wines change pretty frequently, but you can almost always find an inexpensive Chianti or Barbera D’Asti for around $30. They also carry the Villa Antinori for around $40. This is a very popular Super Tuscan (blend of Sangiovese, Cab and Merlot) that is really enjoyable each and every vintage. Considering it usually runs about $20 in most stores, they carry it at a good price.

 However, the best value on the wine list lies on the expensive side. They carry the Argiano Solengo which is a very high end Super Tuscan comparable to the best in all of Italy.  In most stores this wine will run around $50-75. I think I saw it on a crazy sale once for like $40, and that was a blowout. La Grotta is selling the 2002 vintage right now for $70!! That is cheaper than I have seen it in some stores!

 Because it’s the 2002, it is drinking beautifully right now. Lots of ripe berries with hints of chocolate and some spice.  I tried to talk my Pops out of spending so much on a bottle, but in the end I am still his son so he has the final say…and it was truly one of the best values I have ever seen on any wine list.

 Having eaten here many times I can’t remember ever having a bad meal. The mussels, both marinara and bianco, are the highlight of the appetizer menu. Although my mom would argue the stuffed artichoke tops the list. The pastas are all homemade, and the nightly special pastas are really something special. I had a black linguini with lobster meat in a vodka style sauce that was out of this world. Not only are all the pasta dishes quality, but none are over $18 and the portions are huge….enough that you almost always have to take some home with you.

 As for the meats, the Osso Bucco is definitely a fan favorite, as well as the veal saltimbocca. The steaks are pretty solid for an Italian place, but you’re better off going with a veal or chicken dish if you’re in the mood for meat. The fish is usually very fresh as well, and I know the Tilapia is one of their more popular dishes. Again, I don’t think there is a dish on the menu that is over $25, which makes it easy on the wallet.

 Like most traditional Italian places, they carry the standard desserts including homemade cannolis, biscuit tortoni, spumoni, tiramisu and a large selection of ice cream and sorbets. What they don’t carry is any hard alcohol or liqueur, so it is really just a wine and beer kinda place… which works for me! Hope it does for you too….enjoy!

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