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In a neighborhood where you can't swing a pizza box without hitting an Italian restaurant, this is one of the best, with generous servings of thoughtfully prepared foods, at reasonable prices. Specialties include angel-hair pasta loaded with plump, intensely flavored sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, and chopped kalamata olives, tossed with garlic and olive oil.
Don’t let the subterranean location fool you: This Little Italy mainstay, settled at the bottom of a long flight of stairs, is as warm and welcoming as nonna’s kitchen, with a neighborly vibe and the wallet-friendly prices to match. Offerings are mostly traditional Italian — pastas, polenta, eggplant parmesan — with a few stylish twists. And to drink, check out the short but interesting list of wines-by-the-glass.
You've gotta love Romeo's pizzas, award-winning numbers made from mountains of savory toppings slathered in tangy sauce and loaded onto thick but remarkably tender crusts — and so delicious that they've taken pizza-meister Sean Brauser all the way to the World Pizza Championships in Italy. Romeo's menu also offers calzones, stromboli, salads, and sandwiches; except for one small table, it's carryout only at this bustling little spot.
Despite its small size, Casa D'Angelo has a remarkably large and varied menu of Italian meals, including some you aren't likely to find anywhere else. Excellent choices include lemony Chicken alla Palermo and the creamy Veal Gamberetti Luigi with shrimp.
Once you get past the fact that this restaurant is in an upscale fashion mall and nowhere near our real Little Italy, you’re likely to enjoy the elegant, 1950s-style decor and the big menu of well-prepared southern Italian standards served in oversized portions just right for sharing. Private parties, banquets, and corporate events are other house specialties.
Comfortable and casual, the Trattoria dishes up big helpings of tasty Italian food at reasonable prices. Savory nine-inch specialty pizzas include one topped with sautéed spinach, prosciutto, black olives, feta cheese, and mozzarella. Dense homemade potato gnocchi are served with butter, Romano cheese, and a rich tomato-basil sauce.
Upscale, casual dining emphasizing fresh, seasonal foods in pizzas, pastas and seafood. An extensive wine and cocktail list is available for the grownups; a kids' menu features smaller portions for little stomachs.
We've seen hallways bigger than this tiny Italian restaurant, but the intimate ambiance and robust food are ample compensation for the lack of elbow room. The small menu has the usual pasta, chicken, and veal dishes, all well-prepared and flavorful. And the hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are notable for their crisp, almost wafer-thin crusts. Impressive all-Italian wine list.
If you doubt that polished service is the foundation of a fine meal, you haven’t been to Il Bacio, the cozy ristorante in Little Italy, where mellifluously accented host and owner Antonino Calandra heads up one of the most gracious teams in town. That, plus Calandra’s voluptuous take on tiramisu, go far toward making Il Bacio as sweet as its name’s translation: The Kiss.
One of Ohio's largest family-owned wineries, Ferrante's is located along the southern shores of Lake Erie. The winery offers award-winning wines, charm, and hospitality next to the two cozy fireplaces in the full-service Italian restaurant.

Unless your mama is from Naples, we’ll wager that the meals you serve aren’t nearly half as good as Valerio’s rustic, unpretentious food. And we doubt that you employ a staff of tall, slender waiters, who roam the room like dashing exclamation points. All-Italian wine list.
Too often, Italian joints go heavy on the comfort and light on the quality. Not so here where owner Eddie Cerino approaches traditional Italian food less like a grandmother and more like a chef. The result is food that looks familiar but tastes modern. And thanks to half orders of salad and pasta, diners have control over portion size and price. $$$
The vast open dining room and mechanical service can make a meal here seem sort of hectic. On the upside, however, well-prepared entrées, such as rack of lamb and lasagna Bolognese, are both tasty and sensibly priced. Part of a Columbus-based chain.
The shelves of this fine Italian market groan beneath a vast collection of meats, cheeses, oils, sauces, breads, pastries and pastas. Meantime, customers’ waistbands groan beneath the delicious onslaught of Gallucci’s prepared carryout foods, including subs, salads, lasagna, eggplant Parmesan and — especially — authentic Italian-style pizza, available by the pie or by the giant rectangular slice.
Trained in Italy’s Piedmont region, talented chef-owner Michael Annandono tackles an ambitious repertoire of mostly northern Italian fare with consistently delicious results. We can rarely resist the delicate homemade pastas, served in a room that is as elegantly understated as the food itself. Italian and Californian wine list.
From the elegant crowd to the complementary gourmet pizza served on the hour during happy hour, Players is top-shelf, all the way.
Channeling the spirit of a European wine bar, this funky little spot in Ohio City makes a tasty backdrop for a small but tempting menu of thin-crusted pizzas, house-cured meats, handmade pastas, and some of the best twice-fried, Belgian-style fries you'll ever find on a Cleveland tabletop. To go with, the annotated wine list offers 100 selections, while next door's Bier Markt provides dozens of imported brews.
Vincenza's serves what we'll wager is downtown's best pizza: massive wedges of savory goodness, fragrant with tasty ingredients. We are especially partial to the veggie-stuffed pizza, with mushrooms, broccoli, tomato, and essence of garlic; for a change of pace, try the to-die-for hot and crusty veggie sub. Counter service and plenty of tables in a clean, efficiently operated space that opens onto the Colonial Arcade.
Flavorful, home-style menu: chicken piccata, eggplant parmesan, broccolini (fettucine with a broccoli sauce) and specialty pizzas. It’s intimate in the dining room, but there’s always takeout.
Casually upscale and unselfconsciously cool, this neighborhood bistro is home to delicious gourmet pizzas, an intriguing collection of fish and seafood dishes, and a dashing wine list containing one of the region’s largest assortment of half-bottles.
Chinato makes diners feel special with redefined Italian dishes served in a contemporary setting. Start with glistening crudo or a bowl of unabashedly salty seafood fritto misto. Chinato's pastas are lush, dreamy and (fortunately) available in half portions. Entrées include buttery skate wing, Amarone-braised beef and brilliant porchetta.
Wood & Wine will never be a romantic Italian ristorante. But that doesn’t bother the west-side diners who fill the place almost nightly. The star of the show here is thin-crusted, wood-fired pizza. Round out the meal with hearty, flavorful, and justly priced pasta dishes. A handful of steaks and fish are available for the carb-phobic. Extensive wine list with more than few gems.
Romantic and very Italian, this intimate little restaurant features an enticing menu of well-prepared regional specialties, mostly from the Piedmont region of northern Italy. Best of all, the hands-on owners make everyone feel like part of la famiglia.
A popular lunch stop for downtown’s white-collar crew, Porcelli’s serves a simple but sophisticated menu of salads, sandwiches, and pastas, including gnocchi with pesto cream and penne with chicken, spinach, and walnuts. Prices are reasonable, particularly by downtown standards, and speedy service will get you back to the office before Scrooge even knows you’ve ducked out.
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