Sturdy, huge, and basking in the warmth of candles suspended overhead, the tables inside Mia Cucina's Powell outpost are an apt metaphor for the spirit of the restaurant. At both locations, a sense of hospitality vies with the aromas of house sauces to charm those who walk through the doors. Children—who dine gratis on Mondays and Wednesdays—peruse a specialized menu with mazes and games and absorb trivia about Italy's climate, its inventions, and the volcanoes that spew marinara sauce. Adults scan their own menu, which embraces Italian staples made with fresh and locally sourced pastas along with more updated plates, from chicken parmesan to pesto-rubbed mahi mahi filets.
When they aren't browsing the cuisine, their eyes might linger on the shelves of the floating bar, where wine bottles and glasses levitate over the counter instead of bogarting the chairs. The surrounding wall mimics gray stonework, adding a rustic cellar ambiance to the setting, though the white cloths draped over each table bespeak modern sophistication. The murmur of conversations between families, friends, and couples pervades the genial space, where Mia Cucina insists "everyone's Italian."
The Gooseneck Tavern appeases avaricious appetites with a bounty of beers and a wide-ranging American menu. Introduce jaw muscles to their homonymic brethren with a plate of steamed mussels ($8.95), and let them chat over a bubbling bowl of asiago-cheese dip ($7.95). The burger-bereaved can find solace in the double-stacked delight of the Gooseneck burger, greek burger, or Cajun burger ($7.95 each), and the fish 'n' chips ($11.95) console homesick Liverpudlians. Never neglectful of fermented refreshment, the Gooseneck submerges beer fiends with a deluge of options, boasting 12 drafts on tap, 30 imports and microbrews, and 15 domestic bottles.
Aromas of searing meats and vegetables waft from fiery hibachi grills inside Tanuki Japanese Steakhouse Sushi & Bar. Chefs dexterously slice pieces of calamari, chicken, and new york strip steak atop the grills' scorching surfaces, creating bite-sized servings for diners. Behind the sushi bar, other chefs devote themselves to rapidly assembling layered nigiri and carefully rolled maki. Besides traditional rolls, they also experiment by incorporating such flavorful ingredients as chicken tempura, sweet chili sauce, and jalapeños into their special rolls.
Praised by Columbus Dispatch for its elegant minimalism and the value of its rolls, Tokyo's Sushi rolls fresh catches inside tasty cylinders of rice with an eye to polished presentation. Dining tandems can play Marco Polo with their chopsticks as they navigate a crunchy seaweed salad sprinkled with sesame dressing, prepping palates for the onslaught of specialty rolls to come. The rainbow roll displays a prismatic synthesis of crabmeat salad and avocado topped with tuna, salmon, and shrimp, whereas the Star roll pairs peppered tuna, caviar, spicy mayo, and crisp tempura flakes in time for a midmeal crunch competition. After diving fang first into deep-fried shrimp-tempura and spicy-tuna rolls, a four-piece sushi assortment puts a cap to the fresh-fish feast, inviting dining duos to split them equally or divide them according to who has the most mouths.
Purveying pizzas and subs is a family affair for the friendly staffers at Flyers, who have been offering patrons saucy circulars and savory sandwiches since 1976. Like the devastating barrage of cake and ice cream that the Air Force drops on other countries during their birthday, The Bomber signature pizza bombards unsuspecting tasters with palatable flavors, particularly its combination of provolone cheese, mushroom, green peppers, and a gathering of meats ($7.99 for stromboli, $13.99 for 11"; $17.49 for 13"; $19.99 for 15"). Peruse pizza and sandwich options here.
Games and grilled food fill Wedgewood Pub & Grill, where televisions showcase the latest in professional sports and menus showcase an assortment of classic bar eats. Between bites of deep-fried green beans served with a side of ranch-wasabi sauce ($6) diners can explore the juicy strata of the house's half-pound burger layered with all the tasty trimmings ($8). Before 9 p.m. kids can pull up a highchair and fight their parents for pieces from platters of Wedgewood chips—housemade potato chips topped with melted gorgonzola cheese and sided with french-onion dip ($5). Slice-savorers play hide-and-seek with circulars such as the greek pizza succulently camouflaged by spinach, onions, black olives, tomatoes, and feta ($12 for 12 in.). Of-age quench-seekers may whet their whistles on one of Wedgewood's featured beers of the month or practice trick glass-clinking with any quaffs off of an extensive list of libations.
Vittoria cofounder Vince Romanelli hearkens back to his hometown of Alvito, Italy, with a menu of modern and Old-World Tuscan dishes. The kitchen crafts tender housemade pastas for traditional eats such as chicken cannelloni and lemon-pepper linguine tossed with shrimp, and veal osso buco simmers in white wine and spices. Beneath the barrel-vaulted ceiling of a large, open dining area, patrons can also dig into updated entrees such as a pistachio-crusted breast of chicken adorned with marsala-caramel sauce. For dessert, chefs fill tarts with lemon curd made from Vittoria's signature limoncello and surround amaretto and white-chocolate napoleons with fluctuating borders of raspberry coulis. Wines and cocktails from behind Vittoria's marble-topped bar pair with dinner or with the musical stylings of local bands nightly.