Nicole Albanese / Lantern photographer
If you are looking for an amazing place to eat when your parents visit, a place to go out with your roommates or if you are just looking for some of the best Italian food around, you should check out Martini Modern Italian.
The location, the atmosphere and the food make the restaurant a Columbus hot spot. Located at 445 N. High St., it’s just about two miles south of the Ohio Union, making it easily accessible via Central Ohio Transit Authority buses or by car. With only a $6 valet parking fee, parking in a city is hardly an inconvenience.
The friendly hostess welcomed me as I checked out the trendy and modern dÃ©cor. With some of the prettiest chandeliers, a very nice and relaxed bar area, comfy chairs along with simple but elegant tables and large painted pillars, I knew I was about to experience some fine dining.
Martini Modern Italian is no exception to serving the traditional starter of every Italian restaurant: bread. The salted, glazed focaccia bread was served with pesto and olive oil dipping sauces.
Other appetizers range from bruschetta and brick-oven pizza to a fancier choice of sea scallops or beef carpaccio. Although the starters are a bit pricey, starting at $10 and going up to $17, they are worth every penny.
For dinner, there are many appealing entrees to choose from, including classic Italian dishes like penne with vodka, chicken parmesan and lasagna, as well as New York strip steak.
I have had the penne alla vodka ($15) twice, and it never disappoints. The food doesn’t come drenched in sauce and the flavoring is savory.
The chicken parmesan ($18) comes out with pasta baked on top of it – quite possibly one of the coolest plating techniques I have ever seen. There are some other great dishes including a butternut squash tortellini, veal and spinach ravioli, salmon, tuna and chicken and veal Milanese. The chicken piccata ($19) is the best I have ever had. The lemon was not overpowering, and the pasta was cooked – as the Italians say – “al dente,” meaning cooked to be firm, but not hard.
Portions are perfect, not too much nor too little. Most Italian restaurants leave me so stuffed I can barely move, but Martini leaves me feeling content. I could even say there was room for dessert.
For chocolate lovers, the chocolate torte and the chocolate bread pudding, both priced at $8, are two of the best desserts I have ever had. Both are rich, not too sweet and great to share.
The overall experience at Martini will definitely have me coming back for more.
The servers are nice, well-trained, patient and understanding. I was never sitting at the table with an empty glass. From the managers to the servers to the valet, I felt treated with class and respect. Although Martini is a little pricey, you get what you pay for and, in this instance, that means getting the best Italian food around.