Old Blue Eyes casts his piercing gaze across the red-walled dining room as the opening strains of “Strangers in the Night” drift into the ears of diners seated at tables dressed in white linens. The aura of a refined 1960s club permeates every nook and cranny of Trattoria Roma, thanks in part to the assortment of framed Sinatra records and photos displayed behind the bar and the ever-present Rat Pack tunes playing throughout the day. Since its opening 22 years ago, the eatery's owners have fostered a cozy-yet-refined atmosphere bolstered by authentic Roman cuisine forged from local ingredients. This tradition continued eight years ago when veteran employee Shawn Mason took over the restaurant’s reigns from the original owners. Though he brought his own brand of hospitality to the mix, he made sure to uphold the kitchen’s tradition of high culinary standards.
As Shawn cheerfully chats with regulars scattered throughout the dining room and at the bar, his partner, chef Matthew Prokopchak, can be found architecting Italian eats with his crew in the kitchen. Having grown up learning the conventions of Italian cooking from his mother and aunts, chef Matthew integrates some of his family’s recipes into the menu, imbuing his dishes with a sense of history and tradition. He assembles his arsenal of fresh produce –from lush tomatoes to fragrant basil– from local farms. While the menu remains largely unchanged throughout the year, each night the friendly service staff sidles up to tables to detail the day's seasonal specials via verbal recitations or interpretive dances.
Amid the dining room’s ruby walls, a series of Orfeo Tamburi lithographs depicting post-WWII Rome––reportedly the only complete Tamburi collection in the United States––hang in elegant frames. The décor works in concert with the savory wafts of garlic emanating from the bustling kitchen to evoke a vintage Italian atmosphere.
Basilicata proudly refers to itself as the instep of Italy. Its pedestrian nickname, however, belies its scenic and gastronomical riches—the volcanic vineyards, the cliff-cut coastlines, and the ancient, gnarled olive trees that inspired recipes passed down for two generations until they reached the kitchen of Giorgio Italian Restaurant. In 2008, the recipes stood the test of time when Giorgio was named one of the Best New Restaurants by Columbus Monthly. Currently, Chef Todd McCall curates and expands upon these family recipes for menu items such as bolognese sauce and meatballs.
Giorgio's Mediterranean influences extend to its décor, where crisp white tablecloths stand next to a grapevine mural and a rustic wall-mounted wooden wine rack. On the outdoor patio, pots of parsley, basil, and lemon verbena bloom at tables' edges.
At a monthly jazz night, cool rhythms and melodies drift through the eatery. Just as regularly, wine tastings strike an education-entertainment balance as Giorgio's oenophiles pinpoint flavor notes and teach diners how to tell red wine apart from bourbon simply by sniffing it.
Domino’s has been decorating dough canvases with flavorful sauces, an assortment of cheeses, and high-quality toppings that range from classic to unconventional since 1960. Domino’s dough is tossed daily and stretched by human hands, not by clumsy catapults and model airplanes flying in opposite directions. Treat friends to a tasteful feast by checking the online menu and crafting a custom masterpizza with Domino's wide range of ingredients. Famished diners too starved to choose their own toppings can select from Domino’s American Legends, featuring signature flavors from throughout the land. Pizzas such as the Pacific Veggie, Honolulu Hawaiian, or Wisconsin 6 Cheese impart all the delicious diversity of a road trip without the hassle of decoding an atlas. Nonpizza fare includes pastas, sandwiches, and breadsticks.
Dough flips through the air, releasing a cumulonimbus of flour as it lands softly in the hands of chef David Zadnik, who crafts the crucial ingredient each day with help from local ingredients and family recipes. The heritage of the eatery doesn?t just shine through in culinary formulas; the walls at both locations shimmer with old family photos from David's basement and glossy sports memorabilia. Strains of Frank Sinatra spread out smoothly behind conversations in dining rooms dappled with warm wood accents, occasionally spilling out to an outdoor patio or across the Westerville location's outdoor bocce-ball court. Guests sit down for pastas, sandwiches, and suds from Great Lakes Brewery and Peroni, often unaware that these tables held a victory dinner for pugilist Buster Douglas when he returned from defeating Mike Tyson in Japan, but before he picked up his victory dry cleaning.
Inside Tony's Italian Ristorante, stucco archways curve over plush red sofas and teardrop-shaped light fixtures cast a warm glow on a wraparound bar. Outside, flower baskets hang from the patio's trellised ceiling, helping to pollinate the tops of diners' heads. Presiding over this elegant spread is owner Tony Scartz who has greeted guests from the front of the house since 1982. The menu complements the stately ambiance with traditional, hearty Italian fare. Chefs roll out fresh pasta dough and hand-trim steaks, and then enhance dishes with flourishes such as marsala wine sauce and fresh herbs. Servers are happy to suggest suitable wines to pair with each meal.
Every morning, Tim Moretti makes the mighty marinara and fresh pasta that keep Moretti?s of Arlington patrons hooked. A beloved Columbus institution, Moretti's sports a menu of traditional favorites and modern classics such as braised meatballs, handcrafted ravioli, and stone-oven-baked pizza piled high with gourmet bites of brussels sprouts and goat cheese. The spacious interior of Moretti?s abuts an equally expansive warm-weather outdoor patio.