>Tutto Famiglia — value for money family style Italian


**Version of article also in OC Register**

With the crazy amount of restaurants dotted around Orange County, it is hard to really pinpoint where to go when those crazy cravings hit. Some days, I want to stay close to home, I want value for money, I want good service but most of all I want something tasty!

I don’t go out for Italian often because I make a lot of it at home, but I won’t say no when a friend wants to go and try some place new. This was the case with Tutto Famiglia! I’ve seen Tutto Famiglia so many times while hitting up Pho Bo Vang next door.  I’d even gone up to read the menu posted outside, but never stepped inside until now.

Interestingly, the first thing that hits you when you are walking into the restaurant is the strong smell of pho wafting from next door, and I mean STRONG. Even when you are inside Tutto Famiglia, you are still getting a whiff or two of the beef broth. However, it only lasts a few moment until you catch the aromas wafting from the kitchen — that undeniable aromas of garlic and tomato.

The interior is simple, comfortable and cozy and it came as no surprise when I realized it is a family-run business. Mother and daughter were both taking orders and serving customers and you definitely feel that warm hospitable affinity when you are there.

The wondrous smell of aroma is continued when complimentary garlic bread is brought to the table — hot and buttery, perhaps not garlicky enough for me, and way too buttery, but a nice welcoming touch. It’s great to see that they didn’t just plonk some regular bread on the table with pats of butter like most places.

We ordered a small pizza with gorgonzola, eggplant and sausage. Three toppings come standard on the pizzas, $12 for the small, or $15 for the large. Additional toppings are $1.50 each.  — we opted for gorgonzola, eggplant and sausage — and linguine alla vongole (clam sauce) to share. I was surprised at how large the pizza was for a “small” and how generous the toppings were. The pizza was laden with toppings, which I know a lot of people love, but for me, I prefer less toppings and a sturdy crust, but it was a great tasting pizza regardless and such what value for money! But for me, the toppings bogged down the crust making the crust not crispy and too much toppings is more of an American style pizza rather than those pizzas I love so much from Naples.

Linguine alla vongole was also a hefty portion, way too much for me alone. I was very impressed that they used fresh clams as there’s nothing worse than finding tinned clams in your linguine alla vongole when it hits your table. Although the pasta itself didn’t soak up enough of the juices, leaving it a little bland, the pasta was perfectly al dente. The sauce also needed a touch more wine and maybe a pinch more salt as the flavor was a bit one dimensional.

Because everything was cooked with love, like how your Italian aunt may do so in her kitchen, I let it go. I also liked how the whole dining room was bustling with energy from all the patrons who were here, a lot of them seemingly regulars. I like how the servers were very attentive, never leaving a glass of water empty, how they constantly came to check on us, to see if we needed anything else.

This is a neighborhood restaurant, something I can see families with children will frequent in the evenings and on the weekends.Tutto Famiglia is true to its name, “the whole family”, and when you dine there, it’s like eating in their home.

Tutto Famiglia, 23766 Mercury Rd, Lake Forest, CA 92630. Tel: 949-472-5466

*** Photography by Mahesh ***

Tutto Famigila on Urbanspoon


  1. says

    >Great article/entry! Well, "Mama P." has certainly left some snarky comments on Yelp. Like telling that one girl to go eat Pho, haha!But Tutto Famiglia got a good rating, I don't see why it is necessary to be so sarcastic. Never an excuse to be rude – customer or owner. Food may be great but a more welcoming and open-minded approach would probably be a better way of handling things. Especially if they are trying to share their cuisine….

  2. says

    >I didn't notice the comments before but after the two anonymous comments made here, I went to the yelp page and I read through all of the comments. I agree, there is never a need to be rude to customers or for customers to be rude to owners. As I've said before to many business owners, they can't please everyone so they shouldn't try. Just stick to their own beliefs and their own visions and great if some people like it and too bad if others don't. That's life. I also tell business owners never to read the reviews of their restaurants! HAHA

  3. says

    >Well some of the reviewers did seem to share real experiences and was verbally punished for it, harhar! Agreed. Business owners and customers alike should always be courteous and thoughtful. Not sarcastic and unwelcoming. I totally agree-Don't comment on or read reviews of your own place. You will most likely harm than do good!

  4. says

    >A real customer is someone who has actually eaten in a restaurant regardless of how many times. I am very sorry that you had a bad experience, it is never a good feeling when that happens.Most of my experiences with restaurants is that if I had posted a less-than-hfavorable review, the owners want to know what they could have done to have made that experience better. However, having said that I've also had similar experiences as you in that they've contacted me and chastised me for it, but those have been in the minority.The motto "real people real reviews" isn't always enforced on Yelp and there are 'fake' reviews both positive and negative and it is difficult to control. I've always been brutally honest both in my reviews and in person. Sometimes when business owners ask for my opinion it may take them by surprise that I don't hold back, but my thing is, don't ask if you don't want the truth. I won't say something you want to hear just so I won't hurt your feelings because it doesn't help anyone. On the same note, I am not doing it to be malicious. If you ask me, I will tell you the truth.:) thank you for your feedback and again I am sorry you had a bad experience at Tutto Famiglia.

  5. says

    >Well as the girl in question I feel that while harsh my review was a honest reflection of our experience at Tutto Famiglia. I was honestly surprised with our experience because we chose to eat there because of all the positive yelp reviews. The fact that we had a negative experience just adds to the spectrum of reviews. If people want to eat there they should be able to see both positive and negative reviews and make their decision based on the full facts. To be honest if I saw mostly favorable reviews and only a handful of negative reviews I would probably still eat there and land in the middle.The fact that Mama P. was upset doesn't bother me (I wasn't planning on going back anyway) only the fact that she thinks that it was some sort of malicious plot of their neighbors. There doesn't have to be some motive behind a negative review, sometimes it was just a bad experience from one of their many customers.

  6. says

    >Elizabeth — yeah I understand what you're saying, I would too if there were more favorable reviews than unfavorable ones. Since I've been on Yelp for so many years I've been able to now finally be able to "read between the lines" and figure out which reviewers to trust and which I know for sure I don't have a similar palate to. Of course there are always those off chances when that doesn't work either. :)I'm sorry for your bad experience. Dining out should never turn out like that even if the food wasn't up to par.

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