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Osteria -North Broad.....Been there recently?

Checked reviews here and on other boards. Reviews range from the best ever to really disappointed. If you have been there within the last few months or so we would love to hear your comments.

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  1. I'm in the best ever camp. Last time I went was last December, pre-theatre dinner.

    Pastas and pizzas are simple, but perfect in the detail. The polenta budino with hazelnuts is to die for (and I'm not really a dessert guy).

    I wish I could get there more often.

    1 Reply
    1. re: FrancisdeR

      I too am not a dessert gal and that budino is sublime!

    2. We were trying to get a reservation for 6 and it looks like a long wait....I have heard great things...especially about their pizza!!! Looking forward to trying it!

      1. Hmmm...I was there for lunch a couple months ago, maybe in December? I can't quite remember. Anyway, I've always been in the "love it" camp and found it to be as good as ever the last time I was there.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

          I ate there about two months ago, off their winter menu. I really enjoyed the quail with persimmon, and the chicken liver rigatoni.

          In my opinion, people have bad experiences there if 1) they are used to huge portions and like that. 2) the pizzas are different than what they are used to .. (and to be fair there are enough people complaining that there may be a consistency issue) 3) they order the entrees there.

          I strongly suggest you stick to apps, pizzas and pastas. Also remember you can order pastas in half portions which would allow you to try more and also not feel weighed down.

          You will most likely be told there is a special of a whole roasted pig. I had it once. I was VERY disappointed.Personally suggest avoiding it. In general though, the entrees are weakest dishes and you can make a great meal of the apps, pizza and pasta.

          Also since we are on the cusp of spring, Osteria is a great place to have ramps. They put them on pizzas and often have an appetizer with them as well.

          1. re: cwdonald

            I'd add 4) they are vegetarian. You can have a pretty good meal there if you don't eat meat but you are definitely missing out on their best dishes.

            1. re: Buckethead

              We're in the "love it" camp -- but agree with those who don't like the entrees. We have a pizza, 2 apps and 2 pastas -- my husband would order more than 2 but I don't let him! We try to go once a month. We absolutely adore the pastas and I don't think you have to order a half portion to try more than one. Hoping to go again this week,

            2. re: cwdonald

              >1) they are used to huge portions and like that.

              That's not me. I don't mind moderate/smaller portions if I think the quality of the food merits it. I left very (almost over-full) from Osteria with sharing 1 app, 2 pastas, 1 pizza, 1 side and 1 dessert. We even took home some food.

              > 2) the pizzas are different than what they are used to ..

              The pizza was quite good and quite in line with what I'm used to - it took multiple trips to Italy and learning to make pizza at home from good flour and the right equipment to realize that pizza was far more than greasy, yucky heavy stuff from a cardboard box for me. I'm all for authentic style pizzas and Osteria comes close to the mark for me, but in retrospect I'd prefer a lighter, crispier crust and there was an excess of un-topped dough on our pie (we ended up using it to spread around our artichoke side dish and better enjoy it.)

              > 3) they order the entrees there

              Nope, didn't. Just didn't find either of the pastas as amazing as I had expected them to be, and if I had ordered the pasta special my SO did, I would have sent it back for the pork being completely overwhelmed and lost in the excessive orange rind flavor. But he's not fussy and doesn't like to send back dishes or anything, so I wasn't going to complain at the time.

          2. Osteria will be a new experience for us. Thanks all for your comments and observations regarding the menu items. I find going in the first time with some knowledge based on experience is extremely helpful in having a good first visit.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bacchus101

              I'd follow cwdonald's and Beulah's advice and get a pizza, 2 antipasti, and 2 pastas. The one time I got an entree there I was disappointed. The polenta budino dessert is fantastic.

            2. Any recent recs? The SO and I are finally going to get to Osteria tomorrow for an early dinner before going to a concert at Temple. We do love Amis and are all about authentic Italian pizzas and pastas. Would like to know what would be your "must have" dishes there for eaters with no restrictions (except I can't do heavily garlicy, but never had a problem with Marc Vetri's food in that regard.) I know I have to try to polenta budino if still on the menu...

              1. Any recent recs? The SO and I are finally going to get to Osteria tomorrow for an early dinner before going to a concert at Temple. We do love Amis and are all about authentic Italian pizzas and pastas. Would like to know what would be your "must have" dishes there for eaters with no restrictions (except I can't do heavily garlicy, but never had a problem with Marc Vetri's food in that regard.) I know I have to try to polenta budino if still on the menu...

                (Also, if it's not to off topic to ask, where's the best place to park nearby that's cheap, so we can get in and out quickly to drive up to Temple?)

                4 Replies
                1. re: sockii

                  Chicken liver rigatoni. And, the budino.

                  1. re: sockii

                    If you like pork and they have the roast baby pig special, get that. For apps, I love the porchetta tonnato. All of the pastas are great, it just depends what strikes you. Last time I was there, we had some kind of fig pizza, but since the season has changed, they may not have it. The pulpo pizza is always great. The budino is always on the menu, and is a must-get.

                    For parking, there are usually metered spots on Broad that are easy to get into. I also often find free parking on the little street at the north corner of the restaurant (I forget the name) that runs one-way toward Broad from 15th. It's a quick zip up to Temple from there.

                    1. re: Hungryin theBurbs

                      Hey, thanks for the recs! I'd probably skip the roast baby pig as I'm working my way through about a hundred pounds of pork in my freezer from a pig my mom recently had butchered from her farm :) Fig pizza sounds great if they have it; also tempted by the chicken liver rigatoni.

                    2. re: sockii

                      Polpo pizza, chicken liver rigatoni and chestnut tagliolini with sweetbread ragu.

                    3. A very quick report back - I'll be putting photos and more details up on my blog later in the week.

                      Overall a really nice meal, a couple hits and a couple misses though. Loved the room and great service. Ordered the cheapest bottle of red on the menu (I think the only one priced in the 40s) and it was perfectly good, just wish they had more variety available for those who don't like to spend 50+ on a bottle especially when we've got so many good ones on reserve at home...anyway...

                      Loved the house cured salumi plate with artichoke mostarda ... that mostarda was incredible and I am craving it again this morning. I want to buy that stuff by the jar and eat it every day.

                      Ordered two pastas, a daily special made with pork shoulder and the chicken liver rigatoni. I was disappointed in the special, as it was described as having a touch of orange rind but seriously that was all I could taste in every bite of the dish - orange rind. Totally overpowered the well cooked but subtle pork. The rigatoni was significantly more to my tastes, but truthfully maybe it's been overhyped - I didn't find it mindblowingly good. I wanted more chicken liver flavor (I love the stuff) and to me it tasted like a fine, Northern-style bolognese with a hint of liver instead of what I was expecting, I guess.

                      I wanted to try the polpo pizza so recommended, but we'd just had octopus the night before so instead went for the pizza with siciliano pistacchio pesto, mozzarella and mortadella. That was very tasty, again subtle but with a good light and chewy crust, a little blackened...just nice. Chewier and softer than some of my favorite pies in Italy, but I'd go back to try more of their pizzas for sure.

                      Disappointed with the artichokes alla giudia, just like I am by the version at Amis. I guess I should know better than to ever order then anywhere except Rome...I'm too spoiled by the addictively light and crunchy preparations there. These were pretty much trimmed down to just the hearts, so no good crunchy leaves, a little heavy and greasy...just not something worth the price.

                      For dessert, we barely managed to fit in the budino. Again, maybe the hype had me a little spoiled for it...I found it good but not other-worldly, and honestly a little too much on the hazelnut flavor with the mouse. But maybe I'm one of those folks who just isn't happy without at least some chocolate in her dessert, I found myself wishing I'd gone for something else...

                      Overall, a fun dinner out, I guess I was expecting a bit more based on all the years of hype...truthfully I think I enjoyed previous meals at Amis a bit more but I will definitely go back to try more of the pizzas and some of the other offerings.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: sockii

                        Was going to look for this thread as we are headed there this weekend and a fresh update would have been appreciated. Walla and there it was. Reviewed the comments and as a fan of Chicken Liver Pasta dishes that is a sure thing. Thanks!

                        1. re: Bacchus101

                          Two other pasta dishes to look out for that are on the fall menu are a duck casoncelli with quince, brown butter and sage. The quince is a nice touch as it adds a bit of sweetness. Brown butter with sage is one of the standards preparations of pasta at Osteria. Last time I was there I also had the Chestnut tagliolini with sweetbread ragu that I liked, though I prefer sweetbreads done just by themselves. If you want a lighter dish, the fried smelt are done very nicely here, and a way to have them without having to eat six other fish dishes at Christmastime.

                          1. re: cwdonald

                            Thanks, great suggestions. It has been a few years since I have had my favorite Pasta Caruso. Sounds like their offering is ground livers and not just a saute of chicken liver over pasta. Oh well, we will forge ahead regardless!

                      2. This Osteria visit I reviewed the comment/opinions here carefully; looking for what's-good these days clues. Interestingly some of the observations here we found to be spot on. My wife's pizza was good, thin crust with a crispness, uneven application of toppings ( unbaked bare spots) and almost cold when served. Her starter salad was nice, tasty, fresh as expected but only one notch above average. My salumi plate, an assortment of house cured meats was marginal at best with the exception of the mostarda with was brilliant and could, if not carefully applied, overwhelm the salumi items. House cured, well I not sure i would not rather be offered cured meats from
                        a long standing premium curing house. Some items were tasteless and others marginally uncured and tasted only of fat. The Chicken Liver Rigatoni was subtle in taste and quite an
                        enjoyable choice. As noted a Bolognese style with finely chopped livers offering a muted chicken liver taste, which for many would be a very good thing. The budino was a cup of soft sweetness topped with tasty , crunchy candied hazelnuts. This sweet followed by a shot of their excellent expresso was a nice conclusion. Thanks for the rec's, very helpful