Dinners at Basi are some of my most memorable, magical nights in Columbus.

Dinners at Basi are some of my most memorable, magical nights in Columbus.

There’s some kind of crazy alchemy at play here, something in the intimacy of a restaurant housed in what once was a home, hidden away off the main thoroughfare with an entrance off an alleyway. Something in the captivating contrast between an intimate, low-lit dining room and a bright, bustling kitchen.

Basi’s typically filled with a mixture of couples on dates and regulars from the neighborhood. And with that neighborhood being the bohemian, Short North-adjacent Victorian Village, it’s always a rowdy good time.

There’s something in the food, surely. Pasta dishes made special with braised meats (Lamb Canneloni with goat cheese), fresh seafood (mustard-crusted golden trout), seasonal herbs and veggies—this is food with real heart and soul.

Longtime chef Johnny Dornback recently handed over kitchen duties to a new chef de cuisine, David MacLennan, formerly of Latitude 41, whose local-ingredient-loving approach should translate well at Basi.

Wine plays a role in enlivening every meal, and all of that adds up to a blur of laughter and happiness.

Photos by Jodi Miller