Licking our lips and cleaning the plate.

Cincinnati Bites
Basil Noodles from Ruthai's Thai Kitchen

Posted Sunday, January 22, 2017

Most people in town are by now well-acquainted with a really great, authentic Italian pizzeria in Over-the-Rhine called A Tavola (Ahh TAH-voe-lah). But perhaps only some are aware of their second and arguably better location in Madeira. Why is it better? Two words: Roman style.

While my girlfriend and I have only visited Naples, Italy long enough to catch a plane back home, we did technically step foot in pizza's Italian birthplace, and it was from there that A Tavola's two serious O.G. ovens were shipped. These dome-shaped, tiled, wood-burning ovens are hot, glowing works of art in themselves. And when their fiery maws are filled with bubbling discs of doughy deliciousness? Glory, Hallelujah.

A Tavola Madeira oven A Tavola Madeira's oven, shipped from Naples, Italy

A Tavola's Madeira location resides in the same corner building that once housed a Thai restaurant, near Kroger's and Depot Barbecue. The restaurant features great outdoor seating, where the wind catches and gently circulates wafts of baking pizza throughout the space. Inside is an intimate, yet reasonably spacious dining room of dark wood tavolas..er..tables, a small bar, and a grand view of the bustling open kitchen.

The menu at the Madeira location is very similar if not virtually identical to the OTR location. In addition to their signature pizzas, there are five pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads, delicious antipasti (oh, do try the stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates) and gelato for dessert. But there is one key, very important difference: only A Tavola Madeira offers an additional "Roman style" pizza crust option.

Roman style pizza crust is uniquely thin and crispy --almost cracker-like, that is made so using a unique baking technique that employs olive oil in the dough. For those of us who prefer thin-crust pizzas, this extra-thin variant is like a Holy Grail of pizza, allowing the toppings, not the bread, to dominate the palate. The only perceived down side to this technique is that A Tavola apparently does NOT use the wood-fired oven for Roman style pizzas, instead opting for a conventional one.

A Tavola Gorgonzola Pizza Gorgonzola pizza, Roman-style crust

On our most recent visit, we ordered the Gorgonzola ($17), which is easily our favorite signature pizza. It features a light, fresh tomato sauce topped with Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, mozzarella, house-made sausage, pepperoni and just a light dusting of cracked black pepper. The sharp, piquant tanginess of the Italian blue cheese variant is balanced nicely by the full-bodied meatiness of the sausage and spicy pepperoni, finished with the clean, refreshing flavor of the tomato sauce. It's the perfect vehicle for showcasing the unobtrusive Roman style crust.

My girlfriend and I rarely (if ever) attempt to visit A Tavola Madeira on a Friday or Saturday night --it's just too damn busy. But it's a perfect spot for a weekend lunch or a weeknight out, relaxing with a draft beer and devouring slice after slice of crispy, crackly, Roman-style pizza.

A Tavola Madeira is a must-try for any discerning "appassionato di Pizza."

A Tavola Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
A Tavola Madeira

Price: Moderately Expensive ($11 - $16 per person)
Service: Good
Rating: 3.5 out of 43.5 stars






Other Recent Reviews

  1. Kitschy Country Breakfast at Apple Tree Cafe
    -posted Tuesday, January 17, 2017
  2. Chino Latino Impressions: Lalo
    -posted Monday, December 26, 2016
  3. Noodly, brothy lunch impressions: iPho Vietnamese Cuisine
    -posted Wednesday, December 14, 2016
  4. Masochists Love Mardi Gras on Madison
    -posted Tuesday, November 29, 2016
  5. Sandwiches and Waffles at Press on Monmouth
    -posted Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Ratings Legend
four stars = Outstanding
three stars = Good
two stars = Fair
one star = Poor
  • From Tabitha about Lalo:
    But...do they have margaritas?
    posted: Thu., Jan 12th, 2017 @ 12:32 PM
  • From Cincinnati Bites about Swad Indian:
    @MJ: I heard family members of those who'd run Dusmesh now work out of the former Amol India in Clifton. It's called, Grill of India (http://grillofindiaoh.com/).
    posted: Thu., Dec 29th, 2016 @ 11:45 PM
  • From mj about Swad Indian:
    It seems Swad has changed hands. Have not see the former Dusmesh owners in my last visit (10/1/2016) and the food is just ok. Wonder where they went this time?
    posted: Wed., Dec 28th, 2016 @ 8:22 AM
  • From Rachel about Bamboo Kitchen:
    Hey there,
    I would recommend Basil Thai and Bangkok Terrace. They have wonderful Thai foods there :)
    posted: Sat., Nov 19th, 2016 @ 11:28 AM
  • From Tabitha about Maplewood Kitchen and Bar:
    Looks good - I definitely have been wanting to try this place!
    posted: Wed., Nov 9th, 2016 @ 2:55 PM
  • From Georgia about Maplewood Kitchen and Bar:
    So you order and pay at the counter before you get your food and they expect you to tip? That's not right.
    posted: Tue., Oct 25th, 2016 @ 10:19 AM
  • From Michelle caddell about Bluebird Restaurant:
    My family has bee going to Bluebird for Years!! Terry and hus Mom and Dad make you feel like you just stopped by for a visit and they are feeding you. No matter what time of day you go, you will find a friend who had the same idea or just stopped in to see Reva or Dan (he makes the Best Burgers) If you think it is a little hole in the wall and your not missing anything...My friend you Don't know what Great food and Great company you are missing.
    posted: Thu., Aug 25th, 2016 @ 10:07 AM
  • From Heidi about Sabor Peruano:
    I love their cilantro rice with onion salad. I'm one to stick to the same dish but the meal you described sounds like I should switch it up. I usually get one meal to go so I can have it the next day! Love this place and SO glad they reopened :)
    posted: Sat., Aug 13th, 2016 @ 7:34 AM
  • From bob weeks about Mazunte Taqueria:
    Is your next restaurant going to be in Liberty Center?
    posted: Thu., Jun 30th, 2016 @ 3:03 PM
  • From Rob about Nashville Hot:
    Great write up. Personally I have had both ... And prefer Joellas.

    I thought it was a little suspect that they opened and the same time and almost directly across the street from each other too. I see a hot chicken war coming....Pat's vs Genos.
    posted: Mon., Jun 20th, 2016 @ 5:57 PM
Where The Locals Eat featured blog
Cincinnati Web Design | Cincinnati Mobile Web Design