My favorite downtown Italian? Not who you think!

This is officially the very first restaurant I ever ate at in Cincinnati. I flew in one afternoon to meet with my new boss about my impending move to the 'Nati and needed to get a bite before settling in for the night. I was staying downtown and just started walking and stumbled upon...Campanello's! I mean hey - it's only 3 blocks from the beach! (haha)
Since visiting then five years ago, Campanello's has been one of my favorite spots in Cincinnati. It's a very homemade sweet marinara - so if you like the darker (cooked longer) sauce - this probably isn't the spot for you. But if you like a bright red thick sweet marinara - and cheese cheese cheese - then you're good!

I work just a few blocks away and the programming team likes Campanello's so we hit it up for the latest birthday (happy birthday jordan!).

With many entree choices you get your choice of soup or salad. The salads are iceberg lettuce with a few olives and tomatoes. I had the honey mustard this day - good salad - especially when it comes with the entree!

Birthday boy isn't a salad fan so he got chicken noodle and it looked great! Big bowl and the noodles sure looked homemade! He was most definitely a happy camper.

The table got a variety of options - this was the mostacciolli with meatballs...

Someone else got Spaghetti with Meat Balls...

Another got Manicotti...

And then the Lasagne!

It's my personal favorite - I always get it...I would definitely recommend the lasagne for any first time Campanello's people.

The service isn't always the fastest - but it's usually just 2 guys running it. The decor is horrible - it's all dark old wood paneling - but it's also the charm of the place. It's almost Sopranos-esque. It's also cheap - it's just over $7 for salad, bread and entree! (The bread is nice and fresh too.)

Bottom Line - I love Campanello's!

Campanello's Restaurant Cuisine on Urbanspoon


  1. try their tiramisu sometime - its homemade too!

  2. I'll disagree and say that Campenello's is not my fav downtown. I think the food is just so-so and since I am on the East side of downtown the food is nowhere near good enough to walk that far.

  3. heather, this is the first time i have to disagree with you. granted, i haven't been there since college, but i disliked campenello's so much i've never gone back. i remember being completely disappointed. maybe i'll have to give it another go....

  4. it's not fancy - it's not fantastic - it's comforting...and that's what i like in italian - and it's cheap - as compared to someplace like via vite which has much better food but is 3X the price

  5. If you want reasonable downtown Italian I choose Roma...The Panzarotti is really good and I also like the gnocci. Plus the waitstaff is really friendly and they always seem to have someone new from some random part of the globe.

    I do like Via Vita for dinner (the Veal shank with polenta is very reasonable and crazy delicious). However I think most of the lunch items are very overpriced.