Best Tapas

From the Best Tapas edition

Marcella's

615 N. High St., Short North

614-223-2100

1319 Polaris Pkwy., Polaris

614-844-6500

Web: marcellasristorante.com

If you've never said the words tapas and Italian in the same breath, then inhale deeply and say "spuntini" because that's the Italian term that Marcella's uses on its menu for "small plates" (it means little snacks).

And this high-energy Cameron Mitchell mini-chain - where waiters wear T-shirts and jeans, and a rock 'n' roll soundtrack competes with a high-volumed clientele - excels in both its hot and cold versions of Mediterranean noshes.

We're partial to the pickly, sweet, soft and crunchy roasted-eggplant-based caponata but we love the paper-thin, garlicky and chili-flaked Zucchini Parmesan. And you certainly can't go wrong with the pliant and huge - and easy-to-love - rich sauce-covered veal meatballs.

Runners-up: Barcelona, Burgundy Room