The Italian Festival got me thinking about Italian food in Columbus and musing on ideas for a tour. While Columbus doesn’t have a Little Italy we do have some great Italian restaurants and food purveyors scattered around the city.
Our tour would start, appropriately in Italian Village with an espresso or a cappuccino at Cafe del Mundo to fortify us for our tour. Tucked just north and almost under 670, Cafe del Mundo also serves lunchtime pasta dishes, stromboli and paninis.
Next would be a quick stop at the North Market to visit Pastaria and admire their colorful array of ravioli and maybe grab a slice of olive oil focaccia from Omega on the way past.
Heading north the next stop on our virtual tour would be Auddino’s, an old school Italian bakery sandwiched between the fairgrounds and 71 on Clara St. There we could sample all manner of Italian baked goods – cannoli, pizelles, biscotti as well as as buying donuts and bread to take home.
From Auddino’s we would head to Cleveland Avenue to find Mr Meatball, Phil Gullatta. Mr Meatball is mainly a wholesale operation supplying restaurants, but they have a small retail store. Depending on the day you can either watch them making pasta or meatballs. Mr Meatball also sells pizelle irons, anise oil and some Italian pantry items.
Further north again is Carfagna’s Market on 161, family owned and operated since 1937. Carfagna’s has the most comprehensive range of Italian ingredients in town. Aisles full of wine, pasta, olive oil and cheese and a formidable butchers counter.
My favorite Italian style pizza is from Bono, hidden away in a little convenience store in the North by north west neighborhood. Owner Bill Yerkes lived in Italy for many years perfecting these wood fired pizzas and they come with a wide variety of toppings. Among my favorites are the San Rolando (pictured below), the Carbonara and the Bianca.
Our virtual tour might finish with dinner at one of Columbus’ many Italian restaurants. They range in style from Italian American mom and pop’s (Scali’s and Lola’s Baci), to the more ‘Italianate’ restaurants whose menus reflect regional Italian influences, (Rigby’s and Basi), and some of Columbus’ most historic restaurants (The TAT and the Florentine).