Authentic Italian food and service await at Scottsdale’s Tutti Santi
Authentic Italian food and service await at iconic Scottsdale restaurant.
By Nadine Bubeck
Photos by Stellar Photography
When I first heard Leonardo Zacchino voice, it brought me back to my babymoon in Florence. I visited Italy nearly 20 weeks pregnant, and upon touching ground in the breathtaking country, I felt a sense far-far away, taken aback by the rich culture and magnificent history. When I first called Zacchino, I expected to interview the cliché Americanized Italian restaurant owner, but he was far from. Zacchino’s voice screamed authenticity. He had me at hello.
Zacchino is the 60-something-year-old owner of Scottsdale-based Tutti Santi, an Italian staple in the Valley. Before I dive into the restaurant itself, allow me to give you a brief background on the man behind the amazing eatery.
Zacchino is from San Remo in Northern Italy. His daughter married a man from Phoenix, so Zacchino decided to follow his family to Arizona. One would think he would really truly miss Italy, but Zacchino easily developed a sincere love for Arizona. The Italian considers himself a Zoni and we’re lucky to have him.
The first Tutti Santi location opened in 1996. Zacchino, along with his former partner Nina, saw instant success. Their initial restaurant exploded with popularity, offering homemade staples, unique flavors, and a warm atmosphere.
In 2000, Zacchino opened a second Tutti Santi location in Scottsdale, conveniently located walking distance to Kierland. The man, lovingly known as “Leo,” has since transformed his Tutti Santi location into the go-to choice for locals and visitors alike.
The restaurant features an array of delicious generational recipes bound to make any mouth water. Asked to describe his menu in one word, Zacchino would say: incomparable; the delicious options would delight any taste palate.
The Italian fine dining eatery is lined with tablecloths and candlelight, making for a romantic date destination. With that being said, Zacchino is a huge fan of family, so children are not only welcome, but also encouraged to indulge.
So let’s talk food. According to Zacchino, the must try dish is the homemade ravioli, but if you’re craving something a little more explorative, opt for the Pollo de la Casa: chicken breast topped with fontina cheese and prosciutto sautéed in a brandy cream sauce. (Oh, and it comes with asparagus, porcini mushrooms, and penne panna rosa.) And Zacchino raves about his specials: Ossobuco, the Friday fish of the day, and more.
If you’re a Sinatra fan, make Tutti Santi your Friday night tradition—there’s a live jazz band in the bar area strumming classic standards. You’ll almost—almost—feel like you’re in Italy.
When I visited Italy, I felt a sense of family, which is odd considering I’m not Italian. However, people there are just welcoming. They’re warm. They’re charming. They’re simply good people. And that’s how you’ll feel walking into Zacchino’s Tutti Santi––like you’re part of his family. The place is family run—two of Leonardo’s five children work the restaurant: Matteo’s behind the bar and Brando works the floor. His secret ingredient to success: consistency— Zacchino focuses on providing quality food and service 100 percent of the time.
When Zacchino’s not schmoozing customers, assisting in the kitchen, or managing his homegrown team, you can find him skiing or playing tennis. And as for cooking at home, well, he leaves that to his wife.
Every summer, Zacchino returns to San Remo, as he prioritizes spending time with family. While he enjoys visiting his country, he’s always happy to return to Arizona; he has created a sense of home in Tutti Santi.
At one time in his life, Zacchino owned and operated five restaurants, but things have changed; he is now solely devoted on generating continued success at Scottsdale’s Tutti Santi. If you’re craving food rich with history and taste, give Leo’s restaurant a whirl. Just make sure you end your night with a cannoli.
6339 E. Greenway Rd., Scottsdale
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.