Chicago >Food & Dining > Osteria Via Stato
620 N. State St, Chicago, IL | Directions 6061041.892821 -87.628173
Neighborhoods: Central, Near North Side
I come to Osteria probably once a year and every time I wonder why I'm not there more often. Mmmm...mmmm....delicioso. LEYE got it right..
If you're downtown and need a great pizza (or pasta or cocktail or seafood or... anything Italian) this is one of the places I always recommend.
Citysearch Editorial Review – Smooth stone walls, candlelight and a wood-beamed ceiling lend the cozy impression of dining in a Tuscan wine cave, an appropriate ambience for this relaxed Italian restaurant on State Street. Affordable wine and comfy, Italian grandma-style dishes like simple, tomato-sauced veal meatballs and roast chicken with braised lentils put casually dressed couples and lively groups of friends at ease. And, wouldn't you know it, that relaxed vibe usually leads to more wine and good times. Desserts, like the main menu, change with the seasons, but if there's a fruit crostata on offer, it's a safe bet that the fall-apart-tender crust is worth the splurge.
Just ok – We had a Lettuce Entertain You gift card to use, and decided to try Osteria Via Stato. We had a drink at the bar before being seated - the bartender was really nice. The atmosphere in the place is a little odd. Some very modern light fixtures in one spot, a medieval looking sconce on the wall in another, and then a bare light bulb dangling from the ceiling on the other side of the room. It's like they're not even sure what it's supposed to look like.
We really enjoyed the cheese platter with "seasonal accompaniments" (honey, almonds, crostini, etc.). For our entrees, I had the carbonara and my husband had the gnocchi. The carbonara was tasty, but a little boring. I would've like to see some peas or something in it - other than the pasta and bacon (with the egg of course). The gnocchi was good - very traditional.
Overall, it was fine, but I'm not sure we'd return unless we had another gift card, of course. :)
Good Eats, Expensive Drinks – Had a very nice time her last Saturday. We really enjoyed the polenta with 3 meat ragout. I ordered the pizza of the month, something with sunchokes, king oyster mushrooms, and white truffle oil. It was decadent and flavorful, and was perfect with the suggested wine paring.
The only drawback is that the cocktails are downtown expensive, which I guess is to be expected in their neighborhood. A gin and tonic will run you $10. Stick with wine - my delicious pairing was only $7.
Terrible host service – Let me start by saying that our food actually was quite good. This does not compensate, however, for the terrible hosting staff. We had a reservation for my birthday for 9:30 and checked in at 9:15. 9:30 came and went and we were standing in front of the station until 9:45 when I asked when we could expect be seated. They then told me that they didn't have our name in the system. When they finally seated us at 10:00, we received no apology. Also annoying was the fact that my husband had told them that it was my birthday and asked for a cake, which never arrived. (Adding insult to injury, the table next to us was also celebrating a birthday, complete with a cake.) By the end of the night, we were extremely frustrated by the staff. I would never go back.
Authentic pies come from Osteria's bar repurposed as a standalone pizzeria. – In Short
The look is all decades-old wine cellar, from the cambered brick ceilings to the cobblestone floor--with plenty of darkly stained wood. Two dozen or so tables seat stylish couples and groups, all waiting for blistered-crust pizzas that emerge leaving terrific aroma trails. The housemade sausage pie seems to be a favorite. The bar does a clip too, pouring out dozens of (mostly Italian) wines in carefully measured doses.
Would Not Return – Went with great expectations. Were greatly disappointed. Felt like cattle being herded in and out. Very much a chain feel and quality of food far below expectations. Food not remarkable and too pricey based on the quality of food and service. Too noisy, service too fast and brusque. Nothing tasted special. In some cases, food was over oily and too salty. Six of us rated the restaurant exactly the same. Two stars. Definitely would not return.
Rosebud is good, this is "slightly" better ; ) – If you're willing to walk a little farther south from where Rosebud is located at (from Rush and Superior to Ontario and State) you'll find this classy restaurant adjacent to the even classier hotel. I've been here twice with friends and family members and I get the same consistant good treatment each and every time. Last time I was here was on New Years Eve 06-07 and you'd think there wouldn't be any seating at around 7:30PM with the hustle and bustle of everyone going out to eat before counting down the new year. To my surprise, we got seated right awayand left without feeling any rush from the staff. The staff is knowledgeable about the food and the 10 some page wine list they have to offer. The food may be small portioned to some who are used to the Olive Garden big plate-o-spaghetti crowd, but this is due to that French approach of plating (a mentality of a little goes a long way). You do get a choice once you walk in, you can either do a traditional 5 course Italian style meal which is usually a packaged deal, or order a la carte. You won't find much on their food menu since there main focus is mostly the wine. But nonetheless, I liked the experience and it is once of the best places to go for upscale but not too overpriced Italian cuisine.
Average – Unfortunately, I have to voice a minority opinion. We came here to celebrate a birthday party a few weeks ago after hearing rave reviews from both the press and friends. While the atmosphere is pleasant and the service friendly and helpful, the food was bland, boring and unexceptional in every way. While I?m happy so many people have had such enjoyable experiences here, Osteria, in my opinion, is a far cry from the city?s upper echelon of Italian restaurants. Bice, for one, is much better. You can do much better for your dollar dining in downtown Chicago.
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