PHOTO: Zucchini Pronto Salad at Basi Italia (c) Sery Kim
When you come into a new city, it can be hard to find the comfortable middle between the the expensively delicious Michelin-starred restaurants and the serviceable restaurant right next to your hotel. Often, when I travel, I just pick the later. I just go to the restaurant closest to my hotel but in most cases the restaurant is simply inside my hotel. Easy-peezy. But every-so-often I find a restaurant which does both: close enough to walk but delicious enough to eat at if the city had a Michelin Guide. Basi Italia is one such restaurant.
Located in Victorian Village, which is a 10 minute walk from the heart of downtown Columbus, Basi Italia is a welcoming restaurant inside a converted home. The front of the restaurant is a more formal seated area set up in the design of intimate European restaurants than the more cavernous style we Americans know.
PHOTO: Barrel Aged Old Fashioned at Basi Italia (c) Sery Kim
The back of Basi Italia is where I ate and where I recommend you eat as well. It's the converted patio space of the former house: heated and tented as if a wedding were going to occur later in the night. Seating is at both normal level as well as elevated and I chose the elevated space just because it felt more fun.
We arrived in time for happy hour and I highly recommend the Barrel Aged Old Fashioned. The drink was rich with the taste of bourbon with just enough sweetness with the angostura bitters. I drank one and had another simply because I was feeling so relaxed. For those who prefer wine over cocktails, Basi Italia is not going to impress you with the depth of their wine list but they have some outstanding selections for those who are seeking comfort rather than something bold and complex.
PHOTO: Rigatoni (c) Sery Kim
To start, we ordered the most popular salad the Zucchini Pronto. Shaved Zucchini pieces were nicely tossed in a beautiful olive oil along with toasted almonds and large shavings of pecorino. I ate every bite and honestly, now that I am in the midst of a "no sugar, no carbs, no alcohol" diet, I think this would be the perfect meal for me to make for myself.
As for my main course, I saw the Rigatoni come out to another table while I was eating my Zucchini Pronto so when I saw the beautiful dish I knew I wanted it. For lovers of Italian food (count me among them), the dish comes out like you would want it to: very large, very hot and very delightful! Each bite was fresh. I knew immediately the pasta was homemade, as well as the tomato sauce. The restaurant has been in the family for a generation so you can see how the care it took to cultivate a successful business in food-competitive Columbus has resulted in a lovely meal.
PHOTO: Salted Caramel Creme Brulee (c) Sery Kim
After two cocktails and two plates of food, I was incredibly full; however, I still ordered dessert and I am so glad I did! Basi Italia's Salted Caramel Creme Brulee tasted as good as any creme brulee I had in Paris. The dessert was creamy and while some people don't want the extra chocolate or the caramel as garnishment, I thought both added to the dish. Plus I loved that Basi Italia put a buckeye on there as an ode to the State of Ohio -- it also tasted just as good!
For all of this, I paid around $70 not including tax and tip. I think it was an absolute steal and I can't wait to go back soon. Definitely put Basi Italia on your list if you visit Columbus.