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Nov 21, 2011 08:27 AM

Differences between Osteria, Vetri & Amis?

So I've been wanting to eat at a Vetri restaurant for a long time, and I'm just about to break down and make reservations, but I'm not sure which one to choose. Although I love all kinds of great food, I don't like anything overly formal or stuffy. I'd like to keep the cost to around $50 pp, sans alcohol, but I'm willing to bend on that to get a true idea of what people like so much about him. Can anyone comment on the differences between the three restaurants? I had heard that Osteria was more informal?

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  1. Both Osteria and Amis are fairly informal - you don't have to dress up or anything, but I'd recommend reservations nevertheless.

    I've only been to Osteria and Amis myself, and I'm probably the Odd Chow Out in that I have enjoyed Amis more overall so far in my experiences. I've liked the pasta there better as well as the desserts, and the wine list had more reasonably-priced choices. However the pizza at Osteria is well worth trying along with their charcuterie.

    1. Noise Level - Vetri is quiet. Osteria is not. (I've not been to Amis)

      Formality? While not stuffy and hoity toity, Vetri seems to have people that are dressed up for a special night. I guess it's up to you if you want to wear. I'd probably skip the sneakers. Osteria is certainly more casual.

      $50 pp is a going to be much more doable at Osteria with app, entree, dessert. Vetri it all depends on what you get. We've only gotten the tasting menu, so I don't know what the typical tab is when do the entree thing.

      The pizza at Osteria is up there with some of the best in the country. While they don't have the selection Capigiro does, I also think their gelato is also phenomenal. Michaud does pasta very well. I think I'd go to Osteria and if you liked what you had, then make the step up to Vetri next time. I wouldn't go so far as to say Vetri is stuffy, but these are two totally different atmospheres.

      1. I'd go to Osteria. Vetri will cost you way more than $50pp. I've been to Amis 4 or 5 times and Osteria maybe a dozen or so times and Osteria is much better on average, and the cost is pretty much the same as Amis. The pastas at Osteria, especially, are nearly as good as Vetri (I've only been there once) and are a fraction of the price. None of the three are what I'd call formal or stuffy, though a suit would not be out of place at any of them. Osteria and Amis are definitely more casual than Vetri though.

        1. If you want to stay around $50/pp, then Vetri is not an option. They only offer the tasting menu and that goes for $135/pp. There is no longer an ala carte option.

          As for the other two, I think I would go with Osteria. You would be able to try the pizza and they also offer half portions of the pastas (which is good if you want to order a couple of different ones to try).

          11 Replies
          1. re: Philly Ray

            So they gave up on the ala carte, huh? When did that happen? I'd always had the tasting menu, so I wasn't really sure what prices they had for ala carte. That certainly makes his choice easier, doesn't it?

            1. re: ladybugthepug

              They made the change earlier this year (I think it was around March). I had heard stories of people going in and just ordering a plate of spinach gnocchi and nothing else. The feeling was that was not the type of experience Vetri was designed to give, hence the change.

            2. re: Philly Ray

              Regarding Vetri, do they now serve four courses with selections for each course?

              I was a bit confused since I'm used to pre-deternined dishes in tasting menus.

              I'm having dinner there on Wednesday and I'm excited to try it.

              1. re: H Manning

                Yeah, even though they call it a "tasting menu" I guess it is really a "fixed-price menu". I'm not totally sure, but I think you can order any 4 items off of the menu. That way, you can do a "pasta tasting" menu or a "vegetarian" tasting menu. At least that was the impression I got when I read an article about the change-over. I think they will let you be pretty flexible.

                I would encourage you to order the above mentioned spinach gnocchi and have someone else at your table order the almond tortellini and/or the sage casoncelli. The pasta dishes there are really great.

                1. re: Philly Ray

                  Thanks for the recs - I'll certainly keep those dishes in mind!

                  1. re: H Manning

                    We get more than 4 dishes when we eat at Vetri. But for his purposes, I'd recommend Osteria -- order a pizza, one or 2 apps, and 2 pastas (pastas are divine) -- and you'll get out for his budget and have a great meal! Amis is way too noisy -- we only eat there when we can eat outside. We love Vetri but at $135 it's over his budget.

                    1. re: Beulah

                      I completely agree with Beulah. The one other thing I would point out is it is possible to get half portions of the pastas. This is sometimes a great way to taste more than one pasta.

                      1. re: Beulah

                        Beulah, is that recommended order for 2 people? Or are portions that small?

                        1. re: Beulah

                          Did I just have a really off night when I went to Osteria as far as the pastas are concerned? It seems like it. A special pasta of the night of pork shoulder & pasta was so overpowered by orange rind that it was all I tasted from the dish - orange, orange and more orange. The chicken liver rigatoni didn't have enough liver flavor to me, as much as it's raved about - just tasted like a good dry meat sauce but not something I'd rush to order again.

                          1. re: sockii

                            Sockii- I was there probably a week after you posted about your recent experience at Osteria. I had the chicken liver rigatoni and it was chocked full of liver and flavor. I did not have the pork special (though it was the special that night as wel... ). Perhaps it was an off night..

                          2. re: Beulah

                            The tasting menu at Vetri actually consisted of about six courses, not including the salumi platter and raw veggies with tapenade served at the beginning of the meal, the grapefruit sorbet pre-dessert, and the petit fours.

                            The remarkable thing was that we were a party of four and each of us was served a different tasting menu. We had the option of choosing a few dishes from the printed list but otherwise all of the courses were selected by the chef.

                            Everything was quite rich but wonderful. My favorites included the brandade crema with fried fennel and sweetbread, red mullet with cauliflower, stuffed tagliatelle with foie gras, cauliflower flan with quail egg, spinach gnocchi, almond tortellini, pappardelle with venison sausage, baby goat, and chocolate polenta souffle.

                            I definitely plan to return the next time I'm in Philadelphia (assuming that I can get a reservation).

                  2. Thanks everyone! It looks like Osteria it is. I'm definitely looking forward to it. I love that they have half orders of the pasta. I'll be sure to report back :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: gwebber

                      So what did you get?

                      We went the other night as part of our anniversary weekend and split aoudad which we mostly took home, each had an app (light ones), split half portions of pasta, split two entrees and had our own desert each.

                      Best things of the evening were the fig and speck pizza, the candele pasta with wild boar and the polenta budino for dessert.