I’ll be honest with you Columbus, when it comes to my favorite things, it’s really not the best cats and tacos. Terrible TV? Maybe. Train the idiots with a witty response or (as our avocado toast-eating millennials like to call it) “slap back”? Definitely in my top ten. But the one thing that excites me from ear to ear more than anything else is that I dare to stand near or over cat tacos, good old, made with love and tenderness, Cucina Italiana.
That’s right, I’m talking soul food in pasta form, full of cheese and awesomeness. With a variety of sauces, pastas and flavors, almost everyone can find something they like about Italian cuisine. I’m sure most of Columbus can agree that there’s nothing better than a post-pasta coma. That’s why I made this list of the best in town. The next time you get a craving for the spicy, cheesy, and good stuff, you know where to go.
Villa Nova Ristorante
More “Italian pub” than “family restaurant”, Villa Nova is perfect for a great no-fuss solution when it comes to food and atmosphere. It’s a place where everyone knows your name and the staff knows what you do. You can eat good food here and still enjoy a decent happy hour.
Carfagna’s is more of a fast casual type of restaurant that gives you a quick fix when you’re craving Italian but short on time. Although it is more of a self service, the food is really delicious and the sauce tastes amazing. Try it next time you’re looking for something while walking.
TAT Ristorante sa Famiglia
I did a review of this place the other day, so it’s no surprise that I’d put it on the list. TAT offers really hearty Italian food in a homely and comfortable family atmosphere. With a wide variety of pizza and pasta options, everyone is sure to love this Columbus East Side staple. Because Amici
Due Amici offers great Italian in the city center. The place is located in a beautifully renovated brick building with a warm and cozy atmosphere. Perfect for a date or business dinner, all dishes use local food and ingredients.
Trattoria Lola and Guiseppe
This mom and pop restaurant takes Italian seriously. While it may seem a bit out of the way, it’s definitely a hidden gem worth checking out on your next night out. They focus on traditional dishes that can be changed daily to keep customers on their toes.
Marcella’s is a Cameron Mitchell restaurant, so you know they focus on good, quality food. Noted for its specialty cocktail list and lively atmosphere, people come here not just for great food, but for entertainment.
Martini modern Italian
This gourmet restaurant caters to a large crowd, but each dish is prepared with balance and care. Although this is another Cameron Mitchell company, it stands out with a distinctly modern take on Italian classics. Definitely a place worth checking out if you’re looking for something refreshing yet vintage.
This neighborhood restaurant and martini lounge has everything out-of-towners want in a fine dining experience. Unique menu, trendy and yet pleasant atmosphere, everything. Love Italian but struggling to live a gluten-free lifestyle? It’s hard, I know, but Giuseppe has a few options that I think might be enough.
Basi Italia has that hidden intimate feel that I just love about Columbus restaurants. Located in the middle of a brick alley, Basi looks more like a hidden dining club than one of Italy’s most popular spots. Walking is a different story. The interior is cozy and welcoming, the terrace is absolutely beautiful, but the best of all is their perfect and drool-worthy dishes. This is definitely a place to brag to your friends. La Tavola
La Tavola is perhaps Grandview’s best kept secret and some of the best Italian in town. Located across from the Grandview Library and next to a dry cleaners, it’s pretty nondescript from the outside. But the interior has its own charm with clean corners, polished wood and a soft, soothing dining atmosphere. Everything is prepared at home from local ingredients. From pasta to desserts, all dishes are prepared not only with a passion to cook, but also with a passion to feed the community. Everyone who walks through their doors leaves happy, full and happily moved. If you’ve never been, you should make it a point to try it soon.