Crazy for Italian? You'll love Strapazza

Local chain offers classic southern fare at reasonable prices

Restaurant profile

June 15, 2000|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Strapazza of Columbia seems to have hit upon a winning formula, offering classic southern Italian cooking at reasonable prices, in a clean, family-friendly setting.

The restaurant's location, near the Columbia Palace 9 movie theater, can't hurt business, either.

Strapazza, which opened in 1994, is the fourth in a chain that began in Towson in 1990.

There are eight Strapazza locations in Maryland, and the owners are opening PastaBlitz in Owings Mills and PizzaBlitz in White Marsh, Frederick and Clarksville. The Columbia restaurant seats about 120 people in a spacious, green-accented room. Plants hang from the ceiling, and a large bar dominates one corner.

Strapazza's menu says it serves authentic dishes prepared from family recipes handed down through generations and originating in a small Italian village near Naples.

The menu is more reliable than adventurous, with such classics as spaghetti with meat sauce and veal parmigiana. Seafood dishes, including shrimp fradiavola (shrimp with a spicy marinara sauce) and linguine with clam sauce, are generally served over pasta.

Chicken dishes, also served over pasta, include chicken cacciatore (chicken in a marinara sauce with onions, peppers and mushrooms), chicken piccata (chicken with a lemon and caper sauce) and chicken marsala (chicken in a mushroom and wine sauce).

Appetizers include such standard fare as fried calamari, shrimp cocktail and mozzarella sticks.

Desserts include such belt-busting treats as tiramisu and a chocolate peanut butter pie with peanut butter cups.

Strapazza is the kind of place that inspires repeat visits, especially by families. The service is friendly, and a children's menu includes stuffed shells, fettuccine Alfredo and spaghetti with meatballs. Red hearts printed next to certain dishes indicate they are low in cholesterol.

Sandwiches and pizza are also available. Pizza choices range from the simple margherita with tomato sauce and mozzarella to the quattro stagioni (four seasons) with olives, peppers, ham and artichoke hearts. Sandwiches include meatball, sausage and chicken parmigiana.

Strapazza does not deliver, but it does a substantial takeout business.


Where: 8775 Centre Park Drive, Columbia; 410-997-6144.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Prices: Appetizers, $5.75 to $8.96; entrees, $4.95 to $13.95.

Credit cards: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Diners Club.

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