1220 Vine St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
websiteInspired by the classic Italian trattoria, or casual restaurant, A Tavoola brought this concept to Cincinnati as an eatery that offers shareable bites in a less formal setting. Now with locations both in downtown’s Over-the-Rhine and in Maderia on the East Side. Pizzas, pastas and other shareables dominate this menu and there are more than a few good drinks to try. A Tavoola brings a concept to areas that really benefit from having something like it, and I like the concept for its welcoming interior.
The menu is priced high-normal, but the cozy concept is found in areas that otherwise don’t have a casual Italian concept. Everything on the menu is best when shared, so go with a date, or maybe a group. Some of the things I tried:
- Supreme Pizza: The biggest and best of the pizza options, the supreme pizza comes with red onions, green peppers, mushrooms, sausage and cappocollo. The thin crust for that pizza really gives it a nice crispy undertone, and the pizza, in spite of the mountain of ingredients, doesn’t leave you feeling over-stuffed.
- Garlic Bread: One of the simpler apps, this one is made with another local name, ciabatta from Cincinnati’s own Sixteen Bricks Artisan Bakehouse. Garlic, parsley and sea salt. Pretty simple, pretty delightful combo.
- Spaghetti & Meatballs: Sometimes all you need is the simplicity. Thank wagyu beef meatball, parmigiano reggiano and fresh basil for making it fancier.
- Paccheri: Big tube pasta. A perrenial favorite here with basil, ricotta and parmigiano reggiano.
- Old Fashioned: I gave this classic cocktail a try. And man is it strong! And in a good way! Worth a try.
A Tavoola tends to draw a steady crowd to be sure, so I would recommend reservations if you can get them, or even a phone app like Nowait, in order to prevent you from facing too long a wait. But either way, this restaurant has, in my visits, seen shorter lines than some of the other more hyped places around it, but my argument is the food here is just better. It’s a bit more refined a menu that lacks for nothing in quality.
The price points are well worth it, and the people are fantastic. I like the place for bringing the very specific feel of a trattoria, with its socially-focused, dressed down concept, to Cincinnati in a way that other places have not. Make a point to give A Tavoola a try.
- Bring a date or a small group, the dishes here are best when shared between a group of people.
- Grab a drink or two while you’re here, the bar has some great offerings which should not be ignored.
- Reservations or some kind of advance notice (like Nowait) recommended.