615 N. High St., Short North
1319 Polaris Pkwy., Polaris
Italian probably doesn't strike you as the hippest of cuisines. Once you get over your cold-sweat flashbacks of red-sauced spaghetti and meatballs, even upscale and ambitious Italian can seem more Old World than new school.
But Marcella's has made Italian fun again. Yes, even the meatball - adorably served here in its own iron crock, and in must-share proportions.
Marcella's Short North location has been buzzing since the day it opened three years ago, and the Polaris location brings the same energy to the 'burbs. The menu is dotted with trendy small plates and new takes on old faves, all fueled by fruity red and white sangria. And don't skip the pizza - the shrimp pesto pie is a true delight.
Runners-up: Basi Italia, Giuseppe's