Chowhound Presents: Table Talk with Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh of Sweet: Desserts from London's Ottolenghi | Ask Your Questions Now ›

Restaurants & Bars


Osteria schmosteria


Restaurants & Bars 4

Osteria schmosteria

idared | Feb 1, 2009 05:41 PM

First a few facts that will give you an idea of what this place is like: (1) There are two wines under $60 (In case you were momentarily fooled by the lack of mention of wine on their website, they are not BYOB). (2) You will have at least 4 different people come to your table, including a man with a bow tie with no other role than to ask if everything is OK. (3) If you don't order an appetizer, your unused silverware will be replaced before the entree arrives with identical silverware. (4) Your wine glasses arrive at the table with a coating of red wine already in them from who knows what bottle (maybe this is some custom at "fancy" restaurants of which I am not aware - maybe there's some purpose.)

Other gripes: "Gnocchi" at this place appear to mean "Gnocco". That is, when one of us tried to order it, the waitress informed us that this $16 primo was just one large medallion and not sized to be enough for a meal. We didn't order it. In Italy, sometimes the primi are in small portions and it's intended that you will also order a secondo, and things are priced accordingly...By the way, the word "Osteria" implies "a simple, local, unpretentious type of place" according to the Italian (from Italy, not South Philly) member of our group. A full meal here would cost (about) $15 for antipasto, (about) $18 for primo, (about) $28 for secondo, and (about) $10 for dessert. Did I mention that the least expensive bottle of wine cost $45...? Hardly an "Osteria" in my book....

Granted, the food is well done. We mostly had pizzas and they were delicious. But there is nothing about this restaurant that would remind you of an Italian osteria. If you order the cheapest bottle (only one) from the menu, only have pizzas (and perhaps a contorno) and no desserts and no coffee you'll escape for under $200 for a group of 4. If you are up for a fancy meal you might have a blast here, but Melograno, believe it or not, is much closer to an Italian osteria than this place. Be warned, and enjoy, if you will.

p.s. We were annoyed about different bottles of sparkling water arriving throughout the meal ... and being poured in our glasses ... never asking if we wanted more. To their credit we were only charged $5 for the 2 bottles of water (fixed price?) ... but it would have been nice to know during the meal that we weren't being scammed. Anyway, too much attention (in every sense of the word) and not a place to have an affordable relaxed meal.

Want to stay up to date with this post?

Recommended From Chowhound