Italian Restaurant Rundown: Best Pandemic Take-Out Options

We had four Round Table staffers review some of their favorite local Italian restaurants that are still available for delivery or take-out during the coronavirus lockdown. 

Columbus Park trattoria is one of several options for great Italian food and pizza during the pandemic.

Courtesy of Columbus Park Trattoria

Columbus Park trattoria is one of several options for great Italian food and pizza during the pandemic.

Zack Beldotti, Jenna Calorossi, Kailey Wingerter, and Kate Hogan

Columbus Park Trattoria

Review by Zack Beldotti

While so many of our options for entertainment and eating out during the Covid 19 pandemic have been taken away, fine dining is still available as long as you’re okay with take out. My family and I love Columbus Park Trattoria  located in downtown Stamford. This small yet comfortable restaurant feels like a scene right out of an Italian landscape. Columbus Park has seating for about 50 people in their main dining room and a small bar area that can fit several more.  Owned and operated by the Marchetti family, this food is the closest you will get to eating in Italy. Their menu offers many delicious starters such as unique salads, as well as hot and cold antipasti. Columbus Park also features many exquisite entrees including fish, meats and homemade pastas to choose from. 

Recently, my family decided we needed a Covid-19 treat so my dad pulled up the Columbus Park online menu and we all got to choose our dinner. I had fettuccine al tartufo which consisted of speck (a type of prosciutto), artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes and truffle oil. These flavors worked so well together as the acidity from the artichoke hearts and cherry tomatoes really paired nicely with the smoky flavor of the speck and the intense flavor of the truffle oil. Another one of my favorites from this restaurant is the Ossobuco. The braised veal shank just falls right off the bone and melts in your mouth. The Ossobuco also comes with saffron risotto which has the perfect creamy texture with the right amount of saffron flavor. One of my other favorites, the cavatelli mare e terra, has mussels, shrimp, clams, and calamari all cooked to perfection and with a lovely fresh flavor and aroma. The calamari fritti appetizer is super fresh and cooked perfectly and the homemade cured meats and cheese make one think they are dining in Rome. 

The service at Columbus Park is exceptional. You truly are made to feel that you are the only customer in the restaurant. The wait staff is attentive and offers wonderful dining recommendations. Their curbside pick-up service was on time and all the food was packed perfectly for transport. The food was still hot and delicious when we arrived home to enjoy. The menu is a bit expensive but well worth the extra cost for a special occasion. “For the table” menu items range from $7-15, cured meats and cheeses are 7.50 for one or 21 for any three. The salads are $10-12, and the antipasti range from $13-16. Pasta entrees are $23-26, fish entrees $25-32 and meat entrees range from $25-42. Specialty drinks are $12, wine by the glass ranges from $9-18 and beers range from $5-7.

I give this restaurant 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who is craving an authentic Italian dining experience. Every dish on the menu is delicious and unforgettable.

 

Tomato Tomato

Review by Kailey Wingerter

In quarantine my family has grown tired of cooking homemade food. My mother, Gina Wingerter was found cooking different types of chicken daily, so we finally decided to step up our game and order from a well known restaurant in Stamford CT, Tomato Tomato. Prior to our stay at home order this was one of our reliable go to family restaurants. The ambiance is amazing and the italian family style food is very comforting. 

Tomato Tomato has a rustic, yet modern vibe. With upscale italian style food. We decided on getting all appetizers and splitting it amongst the four of us. We started with the parmesan truffle fries, which is usually a hit when you are dining on, however they were very soggy when they arrived back at home. This is understandable considering the moisture from the cheese, however it just was not enjoyable.

We then got the fried calamari which was full of flavor. The tangy lemon went perfect on the calamari with a dip of the marinara. The marinara was flavored to perfection, however I wish they gave us  a little bit more considering there were four of us fighting over a singular marinara dipping size container. Overall the calamari was a hit.

We also made a good decision to get the nachos. I was expecting the nachos to get soggy when I arrived home with the food, however Tomato Tomato had the idea to seperate the chips from the chili and the cheese sauce. So when I got home I was able to microwave the chili and cheese sauce and pour them on the hand cut potato chips. This appetizer was delicious and was guaranteed one of my favorites.

Lastly we custom ordered a buffalo chicken caesar salad. This was in my opinion the best item that we bought. The large quantity of the buffalo chicken cutlet on top of the salad was the perfect amount and satisfied my family’s needs. The buffalo sauce had a kick but was perfectly cooled down by the tangy caesar dressing on the side. 

Overall I am very happy with my experience at Tomato Tomato. They have very delicious high class italian food and i was overall very satisfied with my order. I understand the hardships that come with owning a restaurant during this extremely hard time, however when i arrived it was very easy to be in and out and the workers were all wearing masks and gloves, making me feel much safer.

 

Westover Pizza 

Review by Kate Hogan

As loyal Westover Pizzeria customers, my family was very excited when Westover Pizzeria II opened just a couple of miles from our house, about a month ago. 

The restaurant is located at 306 Hope Street, where Papa’s Pizza II was formerly located. Due to social distancing, I have not been able to eat inside the restaurant, we have only had it to-go. However, the restaurant itself is small, with only a handful of tables, and no liquor license. 

The nice part about Westover is their extensive menu of Italian favorites ranging from appetizers, wedges, pastas, entrées, pizza, and desserts. Plus, they offer delicious weekly specials. All entrées come with a choice of salad or pasta, and homemade bread comes with all orders. 

We placed an online order and were given an approximate arrival time of 50 minutes and it arrived in 45 minutes. The food was hot upon arrival and the driver was pleasant and followed all Covid-19 protocol.  

For appetizers we had the Fried Calamari and Mozzarella Sticks.  The Calamari comes with lemon wedges and a marinara dipping sauce and the mozzarella sticks also came with their own marinara sauce as well. The calamari came with all rings and no legs, and was a little soggy due to packaging, but we still enjoyed it.  You get eight large mozzarella sticks in your order and despite the delivery, they still pulled apart when we bit into them.  They were the perfect amount of cheese and breading.  

I had a small, plain pizza.  The size was perfect for one person.  There was just the right amount of cheese and sauce.  The pizza was a little greasy, but it adds to the flavor so I didn’t mind.

My sister had the Buffalo Chicken Wrap.  Although the flavor was on point, nice and spicy, the wrap itself was a little flimsy. She recommends having a glass of water handy.

My mom got the Chicken Francaise with a side of plain Linguini she tosses with the Francaise sauce.  This is my mom’s favorite.  You get 2 generous sized pieces of chicken, cooked to perfection, with your entree which is big enough to have one piece for dinner and one for lunch the next day.

My dad got the Chicken Scarpiello entree and opted to pay an additional $2.00 to add sausage.  He opted for a side salad instead of pasta.  His chicken was diced in perfect cubes and had the perfect amount of sweet and hot peppers.  As with the Chicken Francaise, the portion size was very generous and there was enough for him to save for lunch the next day.

Our only complaint from this order was our dessert.  We ordered one piece of Oreo Cake and at $4.50/slice, we thought that it would be big enough for the four of us to share.  However, the slice was quite small, so we only got one bite each.       

Overall, we enjoyed our meal, and definitely will be ordering from them again.

 

Frank Pepe’s Pizza (Fairfield)

Review by Jenna Calorossi

Frank Pepe’s Pizza is one of the most famous spots in Connecticut and is known around the world as being some of the best pizza in the country. My family and I decided to try some from the Fairfield location and see how true this known belief was. We decided to do curbside pickup since inside seating is off limits due to coronavirus. We pulled into the space in the parking lot and called to let them know we were here to pick up our order. We had to wait about 10 minutes before it was ready and they came outside to our car and handed it to us (with masks and gloves on of course). 

We ordered three large pizzas, white clam for $30.25, half sausage and cheese for $23.25, and bacon and onion for $25.50. Quite honestly, it felt more like we were paying for the name, than the pizza. The pizza was cut into thin rectangles rather than triangles or even square pieces, but all the slices were uneven and the cheese was falling off.  It was pretty unimpressive since Pepe’s is so hyped up. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to try any of the salads but my mom was quite interested in trying the caesar salad as she has heard that it is pretty good. The pizza tasted like the average, regular pizza you buy on a street corner in New York City. 

I would recommend the pizza to anyone who is in the area and looking for a good, but quick bite to eat. It is not the best pizza I have ever had, but certainly not the worst either. From the outside the restaurant looked pretty nice to sit down and eat at, so I don’t think it would be a bad place to eat at necessarily, but the pizza is definitely not worth how much you are paying for it.