Piada Italian Street Food is a recently started chain started in Columbus, and a new location just opened near us in Cedar Center in South Euclid. Some have dubbed it an “Italian Chipotle,” which is a fairly accurate description. The flavors are completely different from Chipotle, though, and there are many unique, tasty aspects to the restaurant that we have enjoyed over a number of visits.
One chooses an entrée of either piada (an Italian flat bread), angelhair pasta or salad. My favorite is the piada, which resembles a tortilla but, based on the cooking process and yeast, is far more flavorful. Main filling items include fried calamari, fried chicken, rosemary lemon chicken, sausage, steak, vegetarian (all around $7), or salmon ($8.95).
The rosemary chicken and steak both work well as a good base but are not particularly flavorful on their own. The sausage is nicely spiced, and the calamari is well-cooked (not rubbery) and makes for an unusual, tasty entrée option (although not nearly as filling as the others). The wide range of sauces, though, including a tasty (but not too spicy) diavolo boost up the flavors.
Our favorite element is non-meat filling items, especially the eggplant caponata and marinated cannellini beans. Both are deeply flavored and not common on most menus. The fresh mozzarella, feta, hot peppers, spinach and arugula all worked well in both pastas and piadas we made.
Because of the wide variety of fillings, there is a great range of flavors available. This can result in an excellent dish if one chooses well, but also a less than stellar one. Some proteins are so mild, for instance, that some sauces and sides can completely overshadow them.
Piada also offers “street sides,” including piadas rolled up with either Parmesan, pepperoni or artichoke for only $1.95. The artichoke version is our favorite item on the menu, cheesy, crisp and addictive.
The drinks at Piada, at least for now, are absurdly cheap: Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Peroni or Peach Bellinis for $1.50 per glass. The Pinot was a decent, food-friendly table wine, but the Merlot had an aroma reminiscent of hairspray and was ice cold (not good for a red). If you order something that would clash with white wine (e.g. steak), go for a beer or a Bellini (which was really tasty and not overly sweet). They also offer Italian sodas for $2.00.
Piada also offers Cannoli Chips for dessert, essentially bits of cannoli with filling for dipping. It wasn’t bad, but not particularly memorable.
The service we received was very friendly and efficient, and we were offered free soda if there was any problem or delay on our order. They also offer online ordering.
We are happy to have Piada in our neighborhood. The food is unique and very affordable (a $7 piada or pasta will probably last you two meals) and the drink prices can’t be beat.