These Four Central Ohio Spots Serve International Spins on Pizza
From Off Center: Patio & Pub’s Puerto Rican-style pizzas to Dadu’s paneer tikka pies, these Columbus-area businesses are worth checking out.
Central Ohio’s love of pizza isn’t news, but the myriad international interpretations of the dish that have popped up—featuring toppings such as heart of palm, plantain and goat—should be. A gratifying number of these novel pizzas have found their way to local, immigrant-run restaurants. Here are a few of our favorites.
Brazilian Grill & Bakery
Formerly known as Estilo Brazil, Brazilian Grill & Bakery has, in short order, cultivated a dedicated demand for its wide range of sizable South American-style pies. Options range from Portuguesa (topped with egg, cheese, onion, bell peppers, olives and peas) to palmito (cheese, heart of palm, tomato and oregano). Crusts are light, bready and of moderate thickness, and sauces range from tomato to white to beef stroganoff gravy. Dessert pizzas, which display a distinct sweet-and-savory balance, round out the offerings at this market-meets-restaurant. Be sure to check out the Romeu & Julieta (cheese and guava paste) or banana con canela (banana with cinnamon) pizzas. 5818 Columbus Square, North Side, 614-394-9254
Dadu’s Bakery & Sweets
Dadu’s is a nifty little strip-mall snack nook offering a wide range of subcontinental bites, including pizzas with names like paneer tikka, goat keema and chilli chicken. The paneer tikka rendition features the familiar tikka masala gravy as a sauce, studded with crumbled bits of the Indian cheese known as paneer. Onions, green peppers and chiles finish it off, and heat levels are … not insignificant. The goat keema comes with tomato sauce, a traditional minced goat preparation (keema), cheese, onions and green peppers, and spicing is a bit milder. In both cases, pizza crusts are relatively thin, soft and chewy. 8495 Sancus Blvd., Polaris, 614-505-0047
Off Center: Patio & Pub
Off Center is where Puerto Rico meets Manhattan. Co-owner Joel Cosme’s exceptional New York-style crust serves as the foundation for a wide range of pizza options, but only two, picadillo and piñon, make it to the “Puerto Rican-inspired” section of the menu. Among them, surprises abound. For one, they’re all vegetarian, or you can request vegan. Secondly, ingredients such as raisins and plátanos maduros (ripe plantains) feature prominently. Though the picadillo (Impossible sausage, olives, raisins, bell peppers, cheese, onions and olive oil) may seem the safe choice, we suggest the piñon (topped with Impossible sausage, plantain, culantro—a cilantro cousin with long, serrated leaves—cheese and housemade seasonings). 5286 Center St., Hilliard, 614-710-1160
Halwani’s Pizza & Stromboli
Halwani’s is the grandfather of this group, having served diverse takes on pizza since 2010. Unlike the others, owner Shan Halwani doesn’t focus on only one culinary tradition, preferring instead to explore and interpret styles from all over the world, including South Africa, India, Morocco and others. Featuring a medium-thick crust with nicely puffy edges, his tandoori chicken pizza (tandoori chicken, cumin, ginger, onions, jalapeño and cheese) is a neighborhood favorite. His most unique pie may be the Royal Moroccan, on which Moroccan spices set the backdrop for toppings like shrimp, garlic, green olives, onions and cheese. 1453 Ida Ave., Fifth by Northwest, 614-618-4756
This story is from the February 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.