Written by: Steve Stover
Date: February 5, 2016

Bucatini della nonna, heirloom tomato butter, and garlic at Trentina in Cleveland.

Bucatini della nonna, heirloom tomato butter, and garlic at Trentina in Cleveland. Photo: Steve Stover.

Cleveland has had some great restaurants over the years, from Chez Francois in Vermillion to Johnny’s Bar on Fulton, both are still going strong. More recently, Chef and reality TV star Michael Symon has built a small empire with Lola, Lolita, and other spots.

Cleveland star chef Jonathan Sawyer, winner of the prestigious James Beard Award as Best Chef Great Lakes, has received national attention for his flagship Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat, and now Trentina, a very popular new Northern Italian style restaurant in University Circle.

The interior at Trentina in Cleveland.

The interior at Trentina in Cleveland. Photo: Steve Stover.

Sawyer is planning a Columbus restaurant this year, according to published reports, although no location has been announced; this was verified by our Cleveland source, noted cookbook author Michael Ruhlman and Sawyer’s pal.

By the way, Trentina is just steps from the Cleveland Museum of Art and other museums on University Circle, and Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Trentina is situated in a lovely gatehouse that formerly housed Sergio’s.

We visited with a group of six for lunch. We shared the house made pita bread presentation with house cultured butter, a kitchy beef suet candle that looked better than it tasted, and olive oil.

Shared starters included eight oysters on the half shell; winter greens and beans zuppe; an excellent wood-fired golden beet salad with red beet jerky, farmhouse cheeses, and almonds; and a wonderful carpaccio with olive oil preserved beans, parmesan, preserved citrus, evoo, and bagel chips.

The starters at Trentina include eight oysters on the half shell.

The starters at Trentina include eight oysters on the half shell. Photo: Steve Stover.

Our mains dishes included my house-made bucatini della nonna, heirloom tomato butter, and garlic; a delicious beef osso bucco with gnocchi sardi, olives, grilled herb salsa, and red wine; chicken liver and bacon bolognese rigatoni with brown butter, apples, sage, walnuts; and wonderful wood roasted squash ravioli, sage, amaretti cookie crumbs, brown butter.

Wood roasted squash ravioli, with sage, amaretti cookie crumbs and brown butter at Cleveland's Trentina.

Wood roasted squash ravioli, with sage, amaretti cookie crumbs and brown butter at Cleveland’s Trentina. Photo: Steve Stover.

Overall, the food was very sophisticated and well prepared.

The menu includes nine starters and salads ($8 to $10); five wood fired pizzas ($10 to $13); six pastas ($7 to $9 for half orders, $13 to $17 for full); andfive entrees ($!7 to $23).

1903 Ford Drive
Cleveland, OH 44106

  • shrimlock

    The Silent Woman Bar was i believe on East Main, just east of James.
    The signage in neon or lit up from behind maybe, was extremely provocative.
    It showed an image of a female with her, holding her own head or her head somehow detached.
    Depicting the female as presumably silent. And even holding the knife?
    pretty grisly, and disturbing and was evident to anyone driving around there up till the 90’s, it seems.

    • Sara Davis

      Not quite, the Silent Woman was located a couple blocks East of Yearling Rd, the sign depicted a maiden type female form holding a couple of steins, she had no head. There was no severed head, no knife. The same sign has been there for over 40 yrs now (per my last trip to ohio)

  • shrimlock

    The other one that was near the Motel Greg Lashutka got in trouble win he was prosecutor, And i think that was on East Broad, that was the Pink Elephant.

  • Barbara Cruz

    what about hanleys steak house sullivant ave Columbus ohio

  • Barbara Cruz

    does anyone have a copy of the menu or pictures

  • Mr.Gale.B

    I need an exact and correct answer:
    Where was “Top of the Center” located? In WHAT building?

  • Otto Gronkowski

    Slow hipster service and slow kitchen. Expensive prices. Don’t visit if you want to see food on your table in under 45 minutes. However the food quality, taste and presentation is very good! Ambiance is contemporary cool inside, very different from what you may have the impression of from the exterior of this old Tim Horton’s location. Good bar and drink selection. Overpriced menu. On the west coast you can find this style of filipino restaurant serving same dishes for $7.50. Here they will set you back $12-$18. You can’t even get into appetizers for less than $10 unless you want a bowl of rice. Don’t know if they’ll survive, table turnover is way too slow, even though they’re making large profit margin per dish, it’s just way too slow. If you have an evening to kill, this would be a good hangout. Don’t attempt a weekday lunch or dinner. You’ll see a good hipster millinial crowd here.

    • lettuce dolphin

      hello, I have worked at a Bibibop for 2 years now, the price for a chicken (spicy or regular) bowl currently is 6.75$, steak bowl is 7.25$, and a tofu bowl is 6.65$. Along with that the appetizers are 1$ for pineapple, 1.50$ for edamame and kimchi. Also drinks are 1.75$ but come out to 1.88$ after tax.
      A chicken bowl with a drink is 9.14$ if you eat in and 8.63$ if you take it to go.
      Also the service is incredibly fast, if there is no line we can usually get someone to make an entire bowl in about 1-2 minutes. The only time service is slow is when there is a rush, around 11am-1pm and 5pm-7pm, and even slow is an understatement, once you get to the line it usually takes about 2 1/2 – 3 minutes to get through. Also the line length and time depends on the store, i have worked at several Bibibop’s and some attract a larger crowd than others. The most visited age demographic in my opinion is about 20-25 and 40-50.

      The reason i started working at a Bibibop is because of the low prices for such a delicious and large amount of food, the bowls are about the size of two softballs, i do not know how many fluid ounces off hand though, i believe around 48 fluid ounces.
      If you have any other questions or anything about Bibibop i got you, i’m not being paid to do this, i just came across it while on the internet and saw a lot of inflated prices and felt like sharing the exact price.

      I hope you all have a great day, Take care always!

      • lettuce dolphin

        Also a lot of the prices on the op post are not correct and we do not carry some items anymore, such as the Pellegrino.

        Take care always!

  • Laurie Wickline

    Didn’t see Milanos. Used to go there all the time! Loved the lasagna!!!

  • Denise Lafferty

    Bill Knapps

    • Jim Early

      looks like they closed in 2001:
      Bill Knapps 2100 Bethel Road Columbus
      Bill Knapps 6851 N High St Worthington
      Bill Knapps 2199 Riverside Dr Columbus
      Bill Knapps 12995 Stonecreek Dr Pickerington

  • Carol Francis

    Knights Ice Cream has been closed since 2015!

  • Judith Swanson

    I have a few random comments. There was a restaurant in the early 80’s on Main (downtown) called Numbers which was run by Steven Bimbo (King of the Gypsies). Siam (both the original restaurant on Bethel and a branch in German Village (where Bavaria House used to be). John’s Village Junction on High in German Village. Many restaurants opened and closed in Brewery District. Butchie’s (east) had a couple of other names which were more Italian sounding. Columbus Steak House was in a shopping center at east of 71 on 161. We went there a lot in the 1980’s.

  • Sara Davis

    The Silent Woman was locared on Main St in Whitehall, a couple blocks East of Yearling Rd

  • Sandy B

    This is one of my favorite restaurants and I always recommend it to friends who want good seafood, but don’t want to take out a loan to get it. The service is terrific, the food is great, the prices are beyond reasonable, and parking is easy. I do wish the Gaslight were still at the other end of this shopping center!

  • Ben Huntoon

    How about Shakey’s Pizza in Whitehall. Don’s Drive-In in Reynoldsburg.

  • Lynne Groban

    There used to be a restaurant on E. Main Street next to Norwood’s amusement park . The neon sign showed a chicken. It was on the west side of the amusement park toward Nelson Rd. Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant and was it any good?

    Also, there was the Berwick Grill on College Avenue.

  • Mike Poliseno

    Pete’s Red Pig at Hamilton and Main or Emils

  • Dean Congin

    Farrell’s Ice Cream, Cadillac Cafe, Rockys