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Jul 31, 2006 09:06 PM

More Festive: Oilveto or Incanto

Hi - Planning a birthday dinner and was looking for a festive atmosphere as well as awesome Italian. I think Oliveto and Incanto will both come through on the food side. The question is which one lends itself better to a festive birthday dinner for four chowhounds?


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  1. Oliveto has better food IMHO, more upscale too.

    Incanto is fine but beware: If you go with a party of 6 or more, Incanto will add 5% to the bill for "tips for the kitchen", then they will add 15% for " waitstaff tips". So you end up paying more than 20% in tips (because you pay tips on tips). It's fine as long as you know it in advance.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hools

      they add the 5% regardless of the size of your party. i ate at both recently, and found the service similar. the food at oliveto was superior - incanto tends to push the limits with their "snout to tail" philosophy, which is great and tasty as long as no one in your party is squeemish.

      i found the salume at oliveto tastier, the flavors vibrant and forceful without being aggressive, the atmoshere more welcoming and the menu more diverse. overall i liked the food at oliveto better. that being said, the wine by the glass selection at incanto was outstanding, well thought out and complemented the food. they also offer 2.5 oz pours of the wine, allowing you to taste more wine. oliveto's wine by the glass selection was uninspired, but their list was nice and the sommelier knowledgable and friendly.

      1. re: shimpiphany

        I agree. The wines by the glass at Incanto is superb and the bottles are excellent also. I think the markup at Incanto is relatively low. I found the pastas as good if not better than Oliveto and I liked the braised pork dish at Incanto better than the entrees I've had at Oliveto. In terms of decor, I prefer Oliveto upstairs.

    2. How many people? Incanto has an enchanting back room that seats about 12, but otherwise the main room is crowded and a bit noisy. Oliveto's tables seem a bit more well-spaced and the dining room seems to have more soft surfaces to absorb noise. This isn't saying that Oliveto is more subdued--just that your festive dinner won't be as likely to disturb others, or be disturbed by others around you.

      1. The opening post says party of four.

        The back room at Incanto is fun if you can get a table there (often it's booked by private parties).

        Otherwise, I think the atmosphere's fairly similar. The crowd at Incanto tends to be younger and livlier.

        1. i love incanto, but the crowd is definitely NOT young. i was there last night for an early glass o' and seriously, i thought there was an early bird special- there is not.

          1 Reply
          1. re: potatoe

            Unless they've discontinued it, Incanto has a sort of early-bird special. From 5:30-6:30, if you order one of the daily wine flights, you get a free plate of appetizers.

            I'm usually at Incanto at 8:30 or later, usually seems like most customers are 30-something.