Best Small Plates and Best Italian: Marcella’s Italian Kitchen

From the March 28, 2013 edition

No wonder readers fingered Marcella’s for dishing up their favorite small plates — its outlets offer something nosh-y for every palate out there.

Marcella’s abundant appetizer selection runs the gamut from hot to cold, raw to rich, meaty to cheesy, seafood-centric to wholly veggie.

Among some of its popular grazers are that stripped-down, authentic Italian classic of prosciutto and melon; Marcella’s famous, melt-in-your-mouth Braised Veal Meatball; a kicky — and properly “agrodolce”-flaunting — Sicilian caponata; and a nifty — and dramatic— Melted Pecorino Cheese with crostini, apple and truffle honey.

Cameron Mitchell’s always-bustling mini-chain also stole the hearts of Alive’s Italian food-loving readership by precariously balancing nice-sized authenticity-kissed menu items with modest prices and a ton of high-energy fun.

The fact that Marcella’s caters to practically every dining occasion imaginable probably didn’t hurt either. Because whether it’s cashing-in on a huge range of half-off happy hour snacks or sharing thin-crusted designer-y pizzas with the family or splurging on a more serious supper (that might end with one of the best tiramisus around), Marcella’s can deliver.

Best Small Plates runners-up: Barcelona, G. Michael’s

Best Italian runners-up: Basi Italia, Giuseppe’s Ritrovo

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