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The Hungry Nomad: Osteria- Fairmount/Art Museum (Philadelphia, USA)

July 25, 2012

Osteria- Fairmount/Art Museum (Philadelphia, USA)

It's been almost a month since we moved to Philadelphia. I've settled in and gotten myself familiar with the city and most importantly the dining scene. So after some research online I found the top 50 best restaurants in Philadelphia on PhillyMag's website. Determined to find out for myself I started my culinary adventure at a James Beard Foundation 2010 Winner Osteria

Jeff Michaud won best Mid-Atlantic Chef in 2010 and the restaurant was nominated for the 'Best New Restaurant' in 2008. Not surprising given that everything from the decor to the wine and house made pasta was beyond perfect. 

We went on a Friday night with reservations...a good thing since the place was full. 
The restaurant is beautiful. It has a rustic yet industrial feel to it. The best part was the glass covered patio looking onto the church next door. It was quite the experience. 

As soon as we were seated, we were given our regular menu and an ipad for the wine list. That was a first. Is that what restaurants are doing these days? Anyway, I found it to be a bit confusing and wonder what the not-so-tech-savy crowd would do when selecting their wine. 

The menu offers homemade pastas, thin crust pizzas and wood grilled meats and fish. We skipped the antipasti and went straight to ordering our entrees: the lombarda pizza (thin crust pizza with baked egg, bitto cheese, mozzarella and cotechino sausage- $18),  the robiola francobolli (postage stamp ravioli served with royal trumpet mushrooms, butter and thyme- $16) and the farfalle pasta (farfalle pasta served made with smoked chorizo, zucchini and aged goat cheese- $16). See Menu

The Lombarda pizza was served exactly as it was described on the menu. The crust was perfect and crispy yet not burnt on the bottom. A few burnt bubbles on the top but not enough to ruin the taste. The flavors of the cotechino sausage and baked egg with the cheese blend and sprinkled herbs made for a perfect combination. The Count and I both loved it and found ourselves eyeing the last piece. I of course always get the last piece since the Count is too nice to say no (but mainly because there was so much more good food to come). 

The primi pasta dishes were both delicious. However, we both agreed that the robiolla francobolli was the better of the two dishes. The dish was creamy and covered with butter and Parmesan cheese and quite literally melted in my mouth. It was the first time I tried such a pasta and thoroughly enjoyed every bite. I would have licked the plate if I could but it was a classy joint so I held myself back. 

You can really taste the freshness and superior quality of all the ingredients in each bite. Hand made pasta is just something else and in my opinion should become the norm in all Italian restaurants. 

Dessert consisted of the butterscotch bonet and chocolate flan with pistachio gelato. When our server described the butterscotch bonet I pictured something resembling a creme caramel. Hence, my surprise when I took the first bite. It was very rich in texture and nothing like a creme caramel. It was doughy and very heavy, drizzled with caramel sauce. It was the one thing I did not like all night. But of course it depends on personal preference. 

The Count ordered the chocolate flan and advised me against the butterscotch bonet. So, with eyes that said 'I told you so', he refused to share his dessert. You may remember that we refer to him as Count Chokula for his love of all things dark chocolate. Of course he gave in and ended up sharing with me as he always does! That's what husbands are for afterall. The chocolate flan was warm and gooey in the middle. It tasted like a flourless chocolate cake. The combination of the chocolate and pistatchio gelato made for a perfect dessert. 

Glass-covered outdoor seating overlooking the church
Berkel slicer

Brick pizza oven
Vintage Faema Coffee Machine
Osteria was the perfect way to be introduced to Philadelphia's dining scene. It was one of the best Italian meals I have had to date (en par with many of my dining adventures in Italy). 

Osteria on Urbanspoon

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At July 25, 2012 , Anonymous Fram said...

very delicious pizza and a very wonderful restaurant. I love their and oven and their coffee machine. this is so great. thanks for sharing your experience.


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