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Dec 10, 2009 11:52 AM

Osteria Ciceri e Tria on Victoria Street

I have visited Osteria 3 times since it first opened. It's a beautifully designed room with a long communal table surrounded by smaller tables that seat 2-4 people. Italian wines are sorted along one wall according to region. The first time I went was for lunch and the meal was great. I was impressed by the changing menu and the fresh apps were fantastic. It was a flurry of nice and clean tasting dishes from Italy, accompanied by a bottle of Prosecco. I could barely go back to work and almost fell asleep at my desk with a smile on my face.

My second and third trips to Osteria were awful experiences. I'll only tell you about the third one for the sake of brevity. We sat at the communal table next to some loudmouthed elementary teacher that reminded me why I hated school as a kid. Fearful of my last experience, I went for a simple lamb and maccheroni dish. I ended up sending this dish back twice because it was under cooked. How hard is it for an Italian joint to cook pasta? My server tried to explain to me that semolina pasta was supposed to be white and crunchy in the middle and she offered to give the kitchen a third try. As my girlfriend had already finished her meal I told her to forget about it and asked for my bill. I was not willing to get home to find yet another disappointing dish. When the bill came, they did not comp me anything, not even my beer. With two terrible experiences in a row, I'm never going back.

Take heed! Pass on this place. I wanted to like it but it's overpriced, overrated and lacking in quality control. Their sisters at Terroni are much better.

106 Victoria St, Toronto, ON M5C, CA

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  1. My SO and work folks are going there this evening...

    What to recommend/avoid apart from the above.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Non Doctor

      Hmmm.... Despite the fact that I've avoided Terroni for years now, I still feel compelled to try Osteria out. Fingers crossed that my pasta isn't crunchy.

      1. re: Non Doctor

        I'd recommend drinking lots of wine.

        I agree with the OP that the food is overrated and mediocre. It'll be interesting having someone there that actually knows the prices of their wines.

        1. re: Non Doctor

          I did like the apps, but only 2 of 5 of them (there was a bean one I rather liked). I thought the pastas weren't very good. Too under-cooked and thick. I'd say "rustic" to be kind. Our main of lamb was very sad indeed. Sorry I can't recommend anything else!

        2. Completey agree! Although I only went once, there was absolutely nothing about the place that pleased me or made me want to go back. First the gimmicks - the menu construction, the communal table. Then the freezing - we went in winter and I'm telling you,each time the front door opened the blast of artic chill was a real bummer - we had to wear heavy coats and scarves all through the meal! I think it should be simple to design an entranceway that stops gusts getting into the dining room. If the owners cared.
          What puzzles me about many restuarants in Toronto is this lack of attention to detail on the comfort side of things. And apart from Osteria, Terroni on Adelaide is a chief offender. The noise level is criminal, the seating is uncomfortable and the tables are too close. In Italy it's not like that, so what are they trying to prove?

          1. Sadly my wife and I along with friends of our had a similar bad experience. I gave the palce my traditional second chance and it was even worse the second time. Tuna with bloodline still in it, chewy carpaccio and burnt garlic in a rapini dish were among the high(low)lights. Service was indifferent the first time and down right incompetent the second time. The seating is ridiculous.

            I love Terroni's despite its well noted drawbacks, Osteria is just flawed from conception to execution and I would never, ever go back there.

            1. Mostly enjoyed my one visit there about a year ago, but there were some disappointments even then. Maybe they've slipped more since. This does not bode well for their upcoming major expansion into the neighbouring former Sushi Man space for their "La Bettola di Terroni" wine bar, which will share the Osteria kitchen. Maybe they need to change up the menu concept at Osteria while they're at it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Gary

                Alrighty then, settled! This was on my list of places to try but I think I will scratch it off based on all the commments above.

                1. re: millygirl

                  Oh millygirl, if you have to dine near the Eaton Centre (and who doesn't given there's nowhere IN the ironically titled Eaton Centre) go to Rodney's By Bay. I had great hopes for this Osteria as an oasis where a coupla gals could get a nice glass of wine and a light meal between shoe sales. Only Rodney's fulfills this criteria.

                  Rodney's By Bay
                  56 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 3V5, CA

              2. If you see octopus/squid carpaccio on the menu, avoid it like the plague! I'll admit that the apps are really nice so maybe as an after work drink spot it would be OK as the wines are very nice. I just don't see any reason to go to a restaurant for just drinks and snacks. I like a complete meal and this place just doesn't live up to it's hype.