Italian food (Columbus, OH)
Can anyone recommend a good Italian place for weekend lunch in Columbus? It's with relatives who are looking for an old-school red sauce kind of place. Hopefully someplace casual. They don't care about wine lists and fancy atmosphere and are unlikely to order anything too elaborate. Dominic's in Dayton was their previous favorite Italian restaurant, if that's any guide.
TAT Ristorante di Famiglia has been suggested to us, but I read rather mixed reviews about that. Any recommendations would be much appreciated!
Got a few good suggestions for you (I'm an old school red sauce kind of girl myself, being a South Jersey native, so I know exactly what you're looking for).
For super duper casual (as in, get your food, seat yourself, etc.) there's Carfagna's Kitchen (http://www.carfagnaskitchen.com/) up at Polaris. They've hands down got the best sauce in town, in my opinion. I especially recommend their Meat Heaven Spaghetti or their Traditional Spaghetti and Meatballs. The salads are uninspired, but the pizzas are excellent.
A little more formal, but still definitely casual, is Florentine Restaurant (http://www.florentinerestaurant.com/) in the Hilltop section of town. Very old school. Kind of reminds me of the food back in South Jersey. I haven't had anything bad there yet.
One of my new favorites is Robin's Italian Cafe (formerly Butch's) on Main Street near/in Bexley (http://www.robinsitaliancafe.com/). Very casual, great service, great food. I especially recommend the create-your-own pasta dish. I've come up with some really tasty combinations that way.
Hope this helps. :)
I've heard lots of great things about Scali, on the East side. Their menu looks pretty traditional: http://www.scaliristorante.com/home.html
I also love Giuseppe's, in Bexley - they have great lasagna, inexpensive pizzas, and great pastas. Good, slow-cooked red sauce: http://www.giuseppesritrovo.com/
And lastly, if they ever offer you risotto, order it immediately. It takes awhile (as it should), but is amazing.
I have to say that I agree with Florentine, old school and never had a bad meal, Vitos, not sure about but used to go to Bella's there old resturaunt in the Brewery District and it was good, another choice is Ann & Tony's in West Jefferson, not a bad drive only about 15-20 minutes and they have been there for over 20 years and the food is good.
Agree with others on Scali, Giuseppe & Robins (Butch's was great, so I am assuming this is good too). If you are on the east side, try Milano's. It's a real red sauce place in a strip shopping center way out east Broad St. just before Reynoldsburg-New Albany Rd. Not sure about lunch on weekends, but have been there for weekday lunch. Grew up with TAT, not that crazy about it. They have specials if you get there before 6 p.m. Mon-Fri. Find that their sauces are kind of watery. VERY disappointed with Carfagna's. Love the market, do $$$ of shopping there every week, but find their restaurant is pedestrian and don't like plastic ware and disposable everything. Haven't been to the Florentine in a while, but it's been there for 50+ years, so they must be doing something right. There is also Salvi's in Hilliard, off I-70. They do a decent "red sauce". Let us know what you try and your comments.
re: Diane in Bexley
Giuseppe's is THE BEST Italian food you will find in all of Columbus!!! I worked for Giuseppe for a couple of years. He is the one of the best chefs I have ever worked for. He is from Southern Italia and his food reflects that. I started his pizzas and calzones when he re-opened back in May 2007. I live up in Toledo now, but when I visit C-Bus, I always drop in Giuseppe's for some veal or what ever he has running for a special.
I realize this is an old post and while I fully admit I've not been everywhere in Cbus, IMO the local Italian scene is pretty bad......with the exception of Rigsby's which was incredible and nearly on par with NYC staples like Babbo and Il Mulino in terms of food. Obviously ambiance and service were a tad less spectacular than the NYC houses, but the food.....wow.
Trattoria di Roma
Some others are good, but not consistent. I wouldn't veer from those 4.
I'm a little suprised no one has mentioned Basi. I know they don't have what alot of Americans picture Italian food is, but it is authentic, and consitantly very good. Scali's is a little out of the way, but worth the trip.