Catello’s Mozzarella Bar

So, on a media trip this week to Indianapolis, I joined some travel industry professionals for dinner. I was staying in Indianapolis and many of the people I was with live in or just outside Indy, so when they said we were going to an out-of-the-way spot about 45-minutes from our hotel, I figured it had to be really good.

Catello’s is one of the members of the Indiana Foodways Alliance and part of their Italian Food Trail, one of several culinary trails throughout the state. It’s located in the town of Pendleton in Madison County a little north of Indianapolis.  I was told by one of the ladies I dined with that it was the best Italian restaurant in Indiana - and she knows her restaurants and dines all over the state. Others nodded in agreement at her assessment. 

At the end of the night - full on delicious from-scratch food, I don’t see how it could be topped. Everything was top-notch. And knowing they were dining with a food blogger, everyone was willing to scoop out a litlte of their dish so I could try everything on the menu.

Our four course dinner began with trays of fresh cheeses and meats. I love my burata and I’ve never had any quite this amazing. 

I ate way more of the appetizers than I should have and had to force myself to stop to leave room for the next three courses.

Catello came out to meet our group. He’s a charming guy from Naples who said that his friend, Mateo, who owns a restaurant in Noblesville, urged him to move to Indiana to open his own restaurant.

He was just home to visit family - including a grandchild. Would you believe this guy is a grandfather?

Anyway, he’s so obviously passionate about what he does. His pastas are all made from scratch. Everything is made fresh to order.

The restaurant is quaint and intimate and feels so cozy. It’s truly one of those experiences where you’re treated like you’re family eating along with Catello in his own dining room.

I order the Rigatoni al Salmone, which was fantastic. I also tried a couple bites of each of the other pasta dishes, as well.

This Fettuccine Boscaiola blew me away. I’m not usually big on spicy foods, but this sausage has such a nice kick. The fettuccine just melts in your mouth.

The Ravioli al Funghi is worth ordering just for a taste of that amazing walnut cream sauce. The ravioli is stuffed with mushroom and ricotta and is so light and savory.

Lasagna seems such a common Italian dish that is offered in most Italian restaurants, so it’s not something I order often. There always seem to be more intriguing dishes that I want to sample. I’m so glad I tried this Lasagna Bolognese. It was so dreamy and perfect and the portion was enough for two meals easily. 

We had two options for the third course (or formally, our menu included four courses of antipasto, primo, seconds and dessert). This was the Snapper all’acquapazza. I didn’t try this one, but it smelled divine.

I opted for the filetto ai funghi, a tenderloin with mushrooms that again was perfect and bursting with flavor served with fingerling potatoes.

Dessert options were lemon or coffee - I am a big fan of tiramisu, so I went for the lovely layers ladyfinger dessert. I also tried the lemon and it was just as delicious and both were a nice light finish to the evening.

So, I know I’m a foodie who doesn’t mind traveling a ways for a good meal. Not everyone is willing to drive a bit out of their way for dinner. This is one you will want to get off the beaten path and visit. If you’re spending time in or around Indy, take the time to get to Pendleton for the “best Italian food in Indiana.” You won’t be disappointed.

Catello’s Mozzarella Bar
103 E. State Street
Pendleton, IN 

*My dinner was provided. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.