Borgata Pizza Cafe is that and more, with a second location on the way.

Borgata Pizza Cafe is that and more, with a second location on the way.

Almost every time I've beento Borgata, I've heard the faint whistling of the "Love Theme from The Godfather" emanating from the open kitchen. Someone is whistling it, skillfully, and I'm almost disappointed when a visit passes without it. You can be forgiven for finding this affectation a bit too on-the-nose for an Italian spot, but no forgiveness is necessary for thinking that Borgata is one of the best neighborhood Italian joints in the city.

The kitchen is completely exposed to the dining room, and both are orderly and spotlessly clean. Borgata claims to serve New York-style pizza, and some agree wholeheartedly, while others have forcefully argued against it. Without weighing in what must be the dullest of provincial culinary squabbles, there's no doubt that it's a consistently satisfying pie. The crust is light, yet chewy, the sauce is mercifully less sweet than the Central Ohio norm and toppings (which include house-made sausage) are quality across the board. The Supreme ($12.50–$24.95) is a favorite, but even Borgata's humble cheese pizza ($9.50) is better than a plain pie has any right to be.

Note to its pizza regulars: Borgata also puts out some great bowls of pasta. All of it is made in-house, including a rarely seen ricotta cavatelli ($9.50–$18). Borgata's light and well-balanced marinara is spot on (tomato cream, Alfredo and pesto sauces are also available), and complements the luxuriously silky texture of the cavatelli dumplings perfectly.

Among the starters, the spicy stuffed peppers ($8.50) were recommended to me as a favorite, and with good reason. Three tender Cubanelle peppers strain to contain flavorful signature sausage, the plate covered in marinara and gooey mozzarella cheese. The whole thing is served with toasted slices of quality crusty bread for sopping up the sauce.

The success of Borgata's Northeast Side location means owners Ed Bisconti and Roz Auddino are opening a second location in January-this one with a bar and pizza by the slice during lunch and happy hour. Keep an eye out for it (or listen for a whistled rendition of, say, "That's Amore") in the new Linworth Crossing development at the corner of Linworth and W. Dublin-Granville roads.