Inside: Due Amici
Contemporary Italian restaurant offers fine dining, fashion and flair
Due Amici, an Italian restaurant and bar located in historic downtown Columbus, puts a contemporary spin on classic Italian cuisine, using beautifully crafted dishes and a distinctly modern atmosphere to stand out amidst the high-rise buildings and bustling street traffic on Gay Street.
From the classic patio spanning the restaurant's street front to the linen-draped tables adorned with flickering candlelight, this eatery specializes in setting the mood for a delightful dining experience.
Food: Classic Italian dishes for a 21st century palette fill out Due Amici's enticing menu. Prime beef carpaccio ($9), tomato basil soup ($5) and caprese salad ($9) are just a few of the old world favorites to choose from to kick off your meal before diving into the main course. While pursing the selection of appetizers (ranging from $8 to $13 during dinnertime), soups and salads ($5 to $9) savor the warm bread served with a dish of olive oil for dipping.
In addition to daily chef specials, Due Amici serves several pizza dishes, including margherita pizza; wild mushroom pizza; and soppressata pizza topped with Italian cured meat, spicy tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, roasted red pepper and fresh basil. Due Amici's dinner entrées reflect the eatery's modern approach to classic Italian cuisine from the mascarpone meatball and italian sausage to the portabella ravioli and the truffle-infused smoked ribeye (ranging in price from $16 to $32).
Due Amici saves the best for last—the dessert menu is chock full of decadent delights ideal for capping off a savory and satisfying meal.
For chocolate lovers, the flourless chocolate cake is a rich and nearly orgasmic dish, drizzled with berry and chocolate sauces and sprinkled with fresh berries. For a more traditional choice, try the tiramisu. It's a beautifully layered piece of heaven. The dessert menu also includes navan crème brûlée, lemon-ricotta cheesecake and zeppollis (an Italian doughnut with powdered cinnamon, sugar and ganache).
In addition to sweet treats, the dessert menu features several dessert and port wines along with a selection of martinis, including Godiva, Royale and tiramisu varieties.
Different selections are offered for lunch, dinner, brunch and at the bar; however, Due Amici's staples prevail throughout the day. For brunch, you can pair two brunch items with two brunch cocktails for $30.
Libations: Upon crossing Due Amici's threshold, you're greeted by a full-length bar stocked with top shelf liquor and all the mixings for your favorite alcoholic concoctions. A drink menu is available featuring the establishment's signature creations, or you can stick to what you know and love. I recommend being adventurous and treating your taste buds to one of their sensational martinis or mixed drinks. The drink menu also features scotch, bourbon, cognac and bottled beer selections.
And what would an Italian restaurant be without wine? Due Amici's tasteful wine selections are mostly available by the bottle, but some are served by the glass. Pick the port or chardonnay that pairs best with your meal to complete an optimal dining experience.
Décor: Due Amici has a chic, contemporary and casual ambiance. The picturesque patio spanning the front of the establishment is an ideal place to dine when the weather permits. Inside, the bar and lounge area features an array of seating arrangements fit for after-work gatherings, intimate conversation with friends or significant others, or just a spot at the bar to cozy up with a cocktail.
The bar and dining areas are separated by a white cloth curtain that is left open to expose the surprising vastness of the place. Brown leather chairs surround the spacious tables that come in all shapes and sizes, and a black-and-white leather booth stretches along the back wall.
If you're there during the day, sunlight bathes the front tables in a majestic glow. Contemporary light fixtures hang from the high ceilings and seemingly illuminate each seating arrangement so diners feel like their in their own little world regardless of where they're sitting. Due Amici's décor, like the menu, is a blend of old and new, contemporary yet classic, simple yet complex.
Service: You're greeted with a warm welcome at Due Amici, and the attentive service never ceases or wanes. Dishes are served promptly, as are the drinks, which lend a feeling of continuity to your dining experience.
Crowd: Due Amici's contemporary style invites a diverse crowd ranging from young professionals to canoodling couples to groups of friends enjoying a night out. They cater to nearly every occasion since the restaurant features both a bar and lounge and separate dining area.
Specials: The chef creates special dishes on a daily basis. From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, patrons can enjoy pizza and a house drink for $10. In addition, every Monday night Due Amici features half-price bottles of wine and champagne.
Insider's tip: If you're planning on visiting during peak dining hours, particularly on the weekend, you're best bet is to plan ahead and make a reservation, which can easily be done on the Due Amici Web site. Valet parking is available at dinner time, but it's typically easy enough to snag a meter nearby. If you're not familiar with Italian cuisine, Due Amici's staff is more than willing to explain the dishes so you're not afraid to try something new.
Bottom line: Due Amici is a chic and comfortable establishment from top to bottom. The food is a flavorful fusion of old-world Italian cuisine with new age style and presentation. Considering the location and ambiance, the dishes and drinks are reasonably priced.
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