The lightly charred Lombarda pizza, topped with a soft-cooked egg. A tangle of tender candele noodles just coated with a wild boar bolognese. A massive, meaty rib eye for two, served over white beans and grilled scallions. The petite polenta budino, an unexpected and delicious dessert, crowned with chocolate-hazelnut cream. All that, plus a quartino of food-friendly vino, makes casual, convivial Osteria the best restaurant in Philadelphia.
Best of Philly 2010: Contender 1: Gourmet Pizza
Of all the things to love about Marc Vetri’s casual Italian hot spot, the pizza — lightly charred, with thoughtful, harmo...
Best of Philly 2009: Meat dishes
No muss. No fuss. The highest-quality meats, cooked simply and to perfection, presented absolutely unpretentiously.
Best of Philly 2008: Gourmet Pizza
Not long ago, Osteria chef Jeff Michaud taught a pizza-making class. Ha! The only thing you need to know is this: If you want these t...
Best of Philly 2008: Restaurant, City
Whats left to say in praise of Osteria, Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamins Italian gem that has, improbably, brought Center Ci...
Best of Philly 2007: Food Trend
Its harder, these days, to find Marc Vetri in the tiny kitchen at Vetri, to see Daniel Stern through the pass at Gayle, or to s...
Best of Philly 2007: New Restaurant, City
From a formidable field of contenders, Osteria emerges the winner on the strength of its fine handmade pastas, grandmother-inspired b...
User Reviews (25) :
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Posted by Sagar: Aug. August 9th, 2012 at 12:06 PM
My husband and I have made Osteria our anniversary tradition for the last several years and will continue to do so. Each time we've been, our experience was better than the last time. The food is always stellar, the pizzas, pastas and interesting entrees make for a great meal to remember. My ultimate favorite is the Polenta pudding with budina for dessert. The entire staff is always friendly and helpful in making suggestions. Osteria is a great place for any occasion.
Posted by Marcella: Oct. October 6th, 2009 at 4:13 PM
Reading about and hearing about Vetri's, I was looking foward to an above average meal. I was very disappointed in the food preperation and presentation and was told by friends afterwards that I should have ordered the pizza. I had a pasta dish and a salad that were mediocre--Osteria, to me, is extremely overated!! I dine out at least 5 nights a week.
Posted by alexis: Sep. September 22nd, 2009 at 3:23 PM
My wife and I I have been to Osteria over 20 times and NEVER disappointed. We both are good cooks and appreciate creative, sometimes brilliant preparations. The staff is first rate.
Sometimes we just appear late on a saturday evening after the orchestra concert and sit at the bar feasting on wine and appetizers which are always delicious.
Management keeps impeccable records; my wife's wine favorites and my beer tastes.
Before Osteria opened we would never visit a restaurant more than three times a year. For my money I would be happy to eat there weekly.
We have taken business people and good friends who know how to recognize a great restaurant and we only get rave reviews.
Posted by Richard: Sep. September 14th, 2009 at 2:17 PM
I've been trying to get to this restaurant now for over a year since it was ranked #1 last year by Philly mag. Now being ranked #4, I knew I had to make a reservation and see what all the fuss is all about.
I was delighted to feel the coziness of the restaurant as i walked in. A very warm & friendly feeling. I was impressed as the wait staff acknowledge us with eye contact and a greeting as we walked thru the restaurant to our table which made me feel very comfortable.
The menu I felt was a little busy but NOT overwhelming. Both the food & service were very good. The food was very flavorful and the vibe was pleasant. Quiet and intimate. I ordered 2 chef's specials & loved them! The portion sizes I felt are pretty adequate. Not an abundant amount of food but enough for you to feel satisfied.
My suggestion to those who need to be more wallet friendly: Share courses. My date & I split an appetizer along with both the 1st & 2nd plate over a bottle of red. We the finished with a dessert over coffee and my wallet thanked me afterwards.
Posted by Carlo: May. May 12th, 2009 at 2:50 PM
The most inspired dish of the night was Gnocchi alla Romana with Snails, Pancetta and Provolone Cheese. Snails...and Provolone. One, the height of French erudition, consumed lavishly by coat-tailed and cock-tailed well-to-dos with pinkies turned as high as their noses. The other, the epitome of rustic southern Italian cuisine, originally produced as a means to preserve milk, and rarely mentioned on the menu of haute-cuisine restaurants. Yet here they are, uniquely united around rendered and crisped pancetta, harmonizing like a Wagnerian chord: revolutionary, verging on dissonant, and yet ineffably beautiful.
Posted by Hunter: Mar. March 28th, 2009 at 10:48 PM
Well, I wouldn't call it the #1 or the #2 restaurant in Philly,maybe the #3 or #4. Dinner was ok at best, the most memorable part being the dessert ( choc flan w/ pistachio gelato) and the wine! My lombardo pizza was good, not great but the service made up for it.
The decor is lovely, good for just about any event, I was there on business...I think I would go back if only they could come up with some kind of user friendly parking situation!
Posted by brooke: Mar. March 12th, 2009 at 8:55 PM
My husband and I were really excited to try this restaurant since it had gotten so many glowing reviews from food critics. While I will say that we both enjoyed our meal we felt that it was way overpriced. Our bill after leaving a 20% tip was $281!!! Each course (app, 1st and second) avg. about $20, so with a few glasses of wine, dessert, easily about $100 a person...I don't mind paying good money for a meal but I expect a WOW and I don't think that Osteria delivered. I will say that the chicken liver rigatoni was outstanding. We ate at Capital grille a few years back and paid over $200 for dinner but I remember leaving the restaurant and thinking that was the best meal I have ever had in a restaurant.
Posted by andrea: Mar. March 3rd, 2009 at 11:01 PM
No children's menu? Burnt cracker? Pretentious service? We eat at a lot of restaurants in a lot of cities, but we live in Philly and this is one of our favorites. The food is consistently fine. Imaginative. Fresh - both in quality and spirit. And speaking of spirit, the service is always lovely, but casual. In fact, the casual perfection of this place makes it perfect for every occasion. We've had most of the pizzas and have found them to be consistently terrific. The vegetable antipasto is always a seasonal delight. The handcrafted pastas never disappoint. And the pig! The fare can be a little adventuresome for the meat-and-potatoes crowd, but heaven knows, there are plenty of places in town for those folks these days.
Posted by Amy: Feb. February 17th, 2009 at 10:13 PM
This place is a classic example of a restaurant with an absent star chef and early good reviews. Pretentious and poor food with haughty service are not my cup of tea.
Posted by J: Feb. February 17th, 2009 at 7:43 PM
Went with husband and 2 children on a Saturday at 5:15. Went early enough to prevent a meltdown. They sat us in the back room which was quite like the rest of the restaurant at the time. We didn't know any better about the seating. Proscuitto on pizza was VERY salty; brown sugar gnocchis were mushy; give kids drinks in glasses! Do not have a children's menu. Gave oversized adult portion gelato for the kids which was wasted instead of kiddie portions. However, the special veggie antipasto was out of this world. However, won't go back because overpriced and felt the wait staff were watching us the entire time. Still don't understand why they didn't seat us in the main dining room. It was loud when we left, which would have been beneficial to us with the kids. We felt we were disturbing the other diners as they arrived in the back room. My husband and I eat out a lot in center city and south jersey with and w/out the kids. Even if kids weren't with us, we still wouldn't be back. We were very disappointed. Also, felt a bit unsafe walking to our car across the street.
Posted by s: Feb. February 17th, 2009 at 6:35 PM
I have eaten at Osteria twice now and will not go back. I think the people there are very pretentious but why? The food was good but does not live up to all the hype. We eat out a lot and have definitely eaten at better restaurants. I do not mind paying the money for a great meal. Also the parking issue there is a real pain.
Posted by Joanne: Feb. February 17th, 2009 at 6:04 PM
Osteria was a total disappointment. Went for the pizza which tasted like a cracker. Other menu items were average, not worth the money. Forget all the hype, that's all it is. Do yourself a favor and go somewhere else. There are more authentic Italians in Philly.
Posted by Carmine: Feb. February 17th, 2009 at 4:06 PM
I loved this restaurant. The pizza is amazing. I had pasta with chicken livers that was outstanding. My husband loved his dish as well. I'd go back just for pizza and a salad. The service was wonderful and because it was my anniversary I bought Mark Vetri's cookbook and he autographed it and came over to the table to greet us. I liked it very much and would go back.
Posted by JoAnn: Feb. February 17th, 2009 at 3:40 PM
I don't understand the media fascination with this restaurant. My husband and I really looked forward to dinner at osteria, however, it was ok at best! We split a prosciutto and arugula pizza that sounded good but was really a burnt cracker crust with dry and undressed arugula leaves with a few slices of prosciutto. Dry, burnt and boring! We also had a ribeye for two for $60 bucks that was fine but really enough for one person after you cut away all the fat- Service was slow and a bit pretentious. In fact, the whole experience was pretentious and annoying. I guess the local media has its' favorites!
Posted by elisabeth: Feb. February 10th, 2009 at 11:55 AM
The menu is diverse interesting. If you don't have the plate then don't go and then complain.The flavor combinations can be simple and complex at the same time. The Pizzas are right out of Italy, the fresh made pasta far from pedestrian, and the roasted meats beat any other dish in the city, other than Vetri's baby goat. If you have tastebuds on your tongue then you will get it. If not then just drink the great collection of small production wines they offer by the glass and bottle. If that does not work for you then try the olive garden. Ciao Michele
Posted by Michele: Jan. January 13th, 2009 at 1:34 PM
Osteria is adequate, at best. While the atmosphere is ok, the food is fair. The gnocci, while tender, were layered with a gob of cheese and resembled cheap onion soup. The squash ravioli may have been ok by themselves, though certainly I did not taste squash in every bite, however were much too salty and cheesy. This is not a restaurant which should be the number one pick in Philly mag. Perhaps it would be fine for pizza and a salad. Perhaps. For the quality of the food, it is overpriced. This appears to be a restaurant built on hype and seeking to attract people who want to be trendy but know nothing about food.
Posted by Heather: Feb. February 15th, 2008 at 7:51 PM
My family went to Osteria on a Sunday night right before Christmas, after a concert at the Kimmel. We had reservations. We were put off from the time we arrived- they insisted on seating us way back in the "green house," despite the restaurant being empty and my 80 year old grandmother shuffling along with a cane. I've been and eaten around the world- and Osteria was just ok. It is not the best restaurant in the history of life, contrary to local media's reviews. It's not a bad place to go, but don't let the hype get your hopes up or you'll be disappointed.
Posted by Meghan: Feb. February 14th, 2008 at 10:25 AM
First off - I have no idea why the other reviews are so negative. This restaurant is hands down the best I have been to in Philly. (To the reviewer who was asked to leave her table after TWO hours - you were extended a courtesy and you did take advantage. If I was part of the party who actually did make a reservation for that table - I would have asked the GM to get you to leave) Back to the review - the food is AMAZING. Its unique and inventive which is something hard to come by in this city. I have spent a great deal of time in Italy and this rivaled many of my experiences abroad. You must try it for yourself - I recommend the wild boar ravioli and polenta pudding desert. Simply divine!
Posted by Lauren: Feb. February 1st, 2008 at 6:41 PM
This is a bigger rip off than the other place Vetri owns. Prices are too high and the food lacks flavor and originality. Pizza Hut is a better bet.
Posted by Jack: Jan. January 29th, 2008 at 1:38 PM
When my daughter and I walked into Osteria, we both liked the NY feel of the decor and we were happy that we had such a fine restaurant in our neighborhood. But the food was a huge disappointment. The food was either bland or had such unusual flavors that it was anything but good. The size of the proportions were small especially compared to the price that was being charged. Service was great and if I go back I'd try the pizza.
Posted by Greg: Jan. January 25th, 2008 at 11:56 AM
I went to Osteria. We I arrived about 530-545 for a table. I was told that all the tables had been booked. A gentleman finally did give us you a table, but it is scheduled for a 730 reservation, I agreed. I was seated in the wine room and my friend came in immediately after. We checked with our waitress to see if the party had arrived. After 8 pm the party had still not arrived so we ordered after dinner drinks and dessert. We were eventually told the party had arrived; we asked if could be seated elsewhere. Sometime later the General Manager arrived telling us we had stayed way beyond our time; she extended us a courtesy but we were taking advantage. I was floored; I have been to some of the best restaurant in this city and have never been spoken to in this manner. I also have brother in laws and friends who are and have been sous chefs and chefs at some of this cities finest restaurant; so I consider myself more the just the average restaurant diner; I am fully aware of how things should be.
The General Manager was RUDE.
Posted by DONNA: Dec. December 5th, 2007 at 1:47 PM