FOOD

Columbus Monthly’s 10 Best Restaurants: Powell’s Novella Osteria Debuts at No. 8

Chef Matthew Phelan shows off serious pasta chops at his Powell restaurant.

Nicholas Dekker
Halibut with farro at Novella Osteria in Powell

In a city flush with great Italian eateries, it takes a bit of craftsmanship and flair to stand out, and relative newcomer Novella Osteria offers just that. Open since the fall of 2020, chef Matthew Phelan’s Powell eatery blends classic Old World Italian flavors with modern techniques. The result is a veritable feast for pasta aficionados.

A Dublin native, Phelan returned to the region in 2018 after time at the Culinary Institute of America and then stints at upscale Italian and French restaurants in New York City. Diners have readily welcomed his menu, which balances care and attention to detail with a little bit of daring. Guests are best advised to work their way through his house-made pastas, although don’t ignore the specials. Start with the Novella meatballs, made with veal and ricotta, served in a rich pomodoro with basil leaves. Or the crispy pork belly dunked in a butternut squash purée with apple butter.

Phelan showcases his talent through even the simplest of dishes. A classic rigatoni is given an upscale treatment with tender short ribs in a rich and delicate ragu. His cacio e pepe is crafted with linguine and generously dusted with black pepper and pecorino. Want to get a taste of it all? Make a reservation on Tuesday, when Phelan offers a special five-course pasta tasting menu. The modern restaurant space gets cacophonous when busy (which is most of the time), but its big windows, brick arches and wooden trellis-like ceiling features still provide the type of cozy and welcoming backdrop that’s ideal for feasting on fresh pastas, dynamic cocktails, a respectable wine list and desserts, like an unforgettable panna cotta. 

Novella Osteria

170 W. Olentangy St., Powell, 614-389-6698, novellaosteria.com

This story is from the “10 Best Restaurants” package in the November 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.