Restaurant review: Spagio

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The longtime Grandview hot spot Spagio is all over the place in all the right ways. It's most definitely a fine-dining destination, but the ambiance is quirky enough to set anyone at ease, and the menu diverse enough to accommodate any taste.

Since the restaurant opened in the mid-'80s, chef-owner Hubert Seifert has become a beloved figure in Columbus, and his big personality is stamped on everything at Spagio. Paper star lanterns and colorful fabric hammocks hang from the ceiling, giving off a relaxed, funky vibe. Original pieces of art and framed vintage posters line the walls. And sports memorabilia is housed in glass cases.

But as with most chef-owned restaurants, the true artistry is found on the menu, which touts European and Pacific Rim cuisine but offers far more than that. You get traditional French favorites like Nicoise salad, upscale dishes like lobster ravioli, hearty homestyle dishes like meatloaf and casual lunch fare like chicken salad on a croissant.

And then there are wild cards, like the Mariachi wood-fired pizza, with Tex-Mex toppings that include smoked bacon, a pinto-bean puree, cheddar, jalapenos, cilantro and tortilla chips.

What to eat:

To start at lunch, the Refreshing Chopped Salad ($5.75 for a small) was indeed refreshing. A nice pile of leaf lettuce is topped with diced carrots, bell peppers and tomatoes. Adding some heft are mozzarella cheese, hard-boiled eggs and crunchy tortilla strips. An herb vinaigrette and plenty of chopped cilantro give everything a welcomed zest.

Chicken pot pie is the ultimate comfort food, perfect for a chilly winter afternoon. And the Chicken Pot Pie Spagio Style ($11) is the best and most unconventional one you'll ever have.

Everything's turned inside out -- a cute puff pastry cup sits in the middle of the plate holding some vegetables, but the majority of the filling (good steamed chicken and nice seasonal vegetables, plus a savory herbed Hollandaise sauce) is spread out on the large plate. The Hollandaise is so much better than your typical white gravy, you'll want to mop up every last bit.

Even better was the hearty Grilled Chicken and Spinach Filled Ravioli ($14). A good number of big raviolis filled with chicken and spinach make up the first layer, and on top are more pieces of pounded-thin, flavorful chicken, plus tiny round Parisian carrots, sugar snap peas and tomatoes. A delicious creamy pesto sauce binds everything together, and big shards of shaved parmesan top it off perfectly.

What to drink:

The restaurant is joined at the hip to Spagio Cellars, a well-stocked wine shop full of hard-to-find bottles, so it's safe to say the wine selection is above average. Ask the knowledgeable staff to suggest good accompaniments.

Something sweet:

The dessert case beckons from the moment you walk through the doors at Spagio. It's filled with tiny but elaborate confections, most of them shaped in sweet, small circles. There are cheesecakes, crme brulees, tiramisus and bread puddings, among others.

After a filling lunch, the Caramel Cheesecake ($6.45) was just right for two people. A round piece of rich cheesecake is drizzled in caramel sauce and studded with a shaved piece of chocolate.


1295 Grandview Ave., Grandview