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Review: Basi Italia

 columbusfoodie Review: Basi Italia
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When I ask those in the know where to get good Italian in Columbus, an answer that inevitably comes up time and time again is Basi Italia. Unbelievably though, although it’s been on my radar for ages, I never got around to eating there until a couple of days ago. Part of that is because it’s hidden away in a part of Victorian Village that I don’t normally travel. It’s that sort of blink and you’ll miss it place that you have to know about to notice, and it’s not the type of place you’ll stumble upon going about your day. I can imagine it is wildly popular with neighborhood folks, because it looks right at home among the quaint houses in that area.

We’ve heard lots of things about their beautiful patio, and when we had an unseasonably cool day recently, we decided to stop for lunch and experience it firsthand. Although it was well after the normal lunch rush, they still had a good crowd there, and not one person was sitting inside – it seems as everybody had the same desire to eat al fresco that we did. Although not a huge patio, it’s laid out well, and can fit more people out there than one would think at first glance.

Their lunch menu isn’t huge, but there are plenty of options to choose from. For a starter, I went with one of their specials, a watermelon-goat cheese salad ($5) that was served with some well-dressed arugula and a nice drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The watermelon they chose was at the height of sweetness and juicyness, and the red chile flake marinade it had soaked in lent a bite to the finished dish that was unexpected. The whole dish was extremely well balanced, and super light and refreshing.

Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad at Basi Italia

My husband chose a Baby Wedge Salad ($5) as his starter, which was essentially an entire cored & cleaned head of baby crisp lettuce on a plate with perfectly cooked bacon, red onion, grape tomatoes, gorgonzola cheese and a really creamy Green Goddess dressing. While it was a bit messy to eat, my husband found it to be extremely filling – almost a lunch unto itself, and a great value. He stated he’d go back for this alone.

Baby Wedge Salad at Basi Italia

The Pasta Pomodoro ($9) that my husband chose as his main was a simple dish, but prepared to perfection. The serving size was just right, and it was cooked to the perfect level of al dente. The simple tomato sauce wasn’t overly fussy, and the shaved Parmesan cheese it was served with helped bring out the sweetness and acidity of the tomatoes. It just goes to show that a dish need not be complex to be good.

Pasta Pomodoro at Basi Italia

The lump crab and sweet corn risotto ($12) that I ordered as my entree was among the best I’ve had in town. Once again, the risotto was prepared with a skilled hand, and all the flavors worked together wonderfully – the inherent sweetness of the crab and the corn and caramelized onions, the textural contrast and crunch of the sunflower spouts on top. The serving size was quite ample, and just the right amount to fill me up completely.

Lump Crab and Sweet Corn Risotto at Basi Italia

Service was super-friendly and on the ball. Our server was more than happy to answer the numerous questions we had on various components of the dishes and preparation methods without batting an eye. And since we went in mid-afternoon, on street parking on Hubbard was a breeze. We can’t wait to return!

If you’d like to go: Basi Italia, 811 Highland St, Columbus, OH 43215, 614-294-7383

More reviews by swampkitty can be found online at ColumbusFoodie.com.

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  • Mike Brown

    Yum.  I’m lucky to live a few blocks from Basi.  Always good.  I’ve also had some amazing desserts there.
    For Italian, I also am a big fan of Trattoria Roma on Grandview Ave.  Matt the chef has a great touch, there’s a good wine selection and I’ve never had a bad experience there.

  • howatzer

    Basi is the best restaurant with a patio in Columbus. No question.

  • Bear

    I think you’ve nailed the essence of the food at Basi: the combination of simplicity and balance.

  • parker624

    Thanks for the timely review; I have reservations for tonight!

  • Basi is pretty high up on my list of places I’m embarrassed to admit that I haven’t gotten around to visiting yet. ;)

  • Bear

    Walker.  Dude.  Lunch.  $5 apps, $9 mains, VALET even, for the luvva.

    And it’s hard to describe the finesse that’s apparent in everything that Chef Johnny does (though Swampkitty does a really good job).  It’s really impressive.

  • Rocknrolloutlaws

    I had a really mediocre experience there for lunch a couple of years ago. At this point to be honest, I can’t remember the specifics. I just remember really looking forward to it based on everything everyone here had said about the place.

    Sort of spoiled it for me for a while. But everyone deserves a second chance. Those pictures look amazing, and with so many people who I know enjoy good food constantly listing it among their favorite places, I suppose it’s about time I go back.

  • Bear Says: Walker.  Dude.  Lunch.  $5 apps, $9 mains, VALET even, for the luvva.

    Yeah, yeah… I know. It’s on my list. ;) I will say though, that I have enjoyed everything that I’ve tasted that Johnny D. has made at the variety of festivals and events where I have had his food.

  • You’ve convinced me to have dinner or lunch at Basi again. While I love the patio and will go for wine, my first and only dinner wasn’t very appetizing – nor was my dates. But this was two years ago and I’ve since only consumed wine at the establishment. Time to change that.

  • Walker, let me know when you decide to go, I’ll join you. (Unless it’s for a romantic evening with your SO … though even that’s an option if I get flowers or something. :)

  • parker624

    I was pretty impressed with my meal last night!  It reminded me a lot of Alana’s, actually.  Fresh food, interesting meals, and a great wine list.  My father, who is a total wino, loved the wine selection and how knowledgeable the staff was on the wine list. 

    We ordered a number of dishes to share.  The margherita pizza was amazing!  The cheese was more flavorful than traditional mozzarella.  I’m not sure what it was, but I couldn’t stop eating it.  I ordered the watermelon salad; I was kind of dissapointed with it, though.  The watermelon was really pickled in a ton of balsamic vinaigrette.  It burned my throat on the first bite.  My sister ordered the chilled chili melon soup, which was delicious.  The four of us shared the mustard crusted trout, the eggplant parm, and the spaghetti pomodoro.  All were extremely fresh and flavorful. 

    I loved the patio!  It was packed last night, and even though we all got caught in the rain, it was a lot of fun. 

    I’d definitely go back for a special occassion.  It was too much and too heavy of food for me to eat on a regular basis, but everything (except the watermelon salad) was delicious.

  • KSquared

    Thanks for the reminder SK!  I’ve only been once and I loved the eggplant parm that I ordered.  Great review and pics, as always.

  • Trixie

    Basi is great!  The food is great!  The atmosphere is great!  The owners are great!!!!  I think I’ll go this week!!!!  

  • Village destination a cozy spot for fine pasta
    Thursday,  November 12, 2009 3:06 AM

    Basi Italia evokes those big-city neighborhood eateries that everyone likes — the ones squeezed into small spaces. The kitchen, definitely an open one, shares the same room as the seating.

    Opened about six years ago, the Victorian Village spot concentrates on Italian food, with other Mediterranean influences. The menu aims lower than it used to, with most of the main dishes either pizza or pasta.


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