Wonderfully good value home-style Italian cooking in an urbane city centre setting.
The four-year-old Osteria has not yet caught the wave it deserves – perhaps because it is tucked a little off the main drag. Its grey metro tiles and wine-clad bar make it look sophisticated but the food is pure home-style Italy, and there’s a neighbourhood-style welcome from manager Felice Minervini. The menu appears to be a roll call of Italian standards, but there are clues to an ambitious kitchen – a calzone with walnut and black pepper, or pollo cacciatore, a hunter-style chicken stew. Starters impress: generous marinated olives are rich with garlic flavour; caprese salad has tearable, soft mozzarella drizzled in a lovely olive oil. Star attraction of many mains is the delicious slow-cooked tomato sauce (four hours in prep) that lifts pizzas, pastas, and other dishes such as a parmigiana di melanzane to inspiring levels. Wines, such as the house Chianti, are terrific, and as a final flourish, along with the grappa selection, the dessert menu suggests pairings – the panacotta with Moscato d’Asti is completely divine. With all this quality you might expect a hefty bill – but Osteria delivers outstanding value, too.
- Private dining: Up to 35 covers
- Provides: Halal options, Children's portions, Children's high chairs, Pre-theatre menu, Outdoor tables, Free wi-fi
- Music on stereo: Italian favourites
- Capacity: 70
- Largest group: 35
- Open since: 2014
- Number of wines sold by the glass: 9
- House wine: £16.95 per bottle