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“Best Authentic Italian Food in Tampa”
Review of Osteria Natalina

Osteria Natalina
Ranked #116 of 2,477 Restaurants in Tampa
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Description: This is THE authentic Italian restaurant in Tampa. Spartaco (owner) is amazing
Reviewed January 30, 2014

Spartaco, the owner, has always done an incredible job with this restaurant. The food is absolutely incredible and some of the specials that he offers, you will not find anywhere else. Wild Boar and Venison ravioli. The calamari salad is a must have. Great wine list that they are very knowledgeable about. If I could eat at just one place for the rest of my life... this would be it.

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Thank DeCap22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 27, 2013

After checking the restaurant's hours, we pulled in to the parking lot a little after 5:30 with appetites that were raring to dine.

We were met with a locked door. We could see a couple of people inside, but a locked door is, well, a locked door. We began walking away, but just then we heard the rattle of a door being unlocked. Well, alrighty then!

A head poked out and a gruff voice bellowed, "We open in five minutes." The door slammed shut. What we should have done, and did consider doing, was just to keep walking.

Fifteen minutes later, the door re-opened. Mr. Grumpy, apparently the owner and gate keeper, inquired how many. We said just two, but another patron just behind us said he was one of a party of six. Were were told to enter. The gentleman was denied entry until all six in the party showed up. There would be no waiting at a table until the others arrived, and that was final!

My bride and I were guided to a small table for two and presented with menus and water. We had our server's undivided attention since we were the only customers who were allowed in up to that point, so service was good.

We ordered a wine by the glass - a tasty Sangiovese. In addition, we chose to start with two appetizers. For the Belle of Ballast Point, Il Carpaccio Fresco di Tonno, a yellowfin tuna carpaccio.

My, oh, my, was that carpaccio ever...awful! It was drowning in a sea of lemon juice that totally masked any flavor that tuna may have had. To add insult to injury, the onions hadn't been completely peeled, and still retained some papery skin.

I fared much better with my ubiquitous appetizer of Le Cozze All A Cappa Style, black mussels in a red sauce. This dish was good, just nothing to gush over.

For our entrées we chose the Four Cheese Pear Pasta Purses (Sacatini) with Walnuts and Gorgonzola Cream Sauce for her, and the Mixed Grill for me. The Mixed Grill consisted of a couple of slices of filet mignon, veal, and a couple of Italian sausage patties.

I'd love to wax poetic about our food and experience at Osteria Natalina, but that won't be happening. This was the most disconcerting dining experience we have ever had. There was no warmth or friendliness. There were no smiles or friendly greetings. There just seemed to be an air of negativity that seemed to permeate the entire room and was very off-putting - starting with the Guardian at the Gate...

Our bill for food and drink came to $135. We tacked on 20% for our server. We won't be back.

I should clarify that we were not treated badly. It's just that the staff and management looked as thought they wanted to kill (figuratively) each other. Remember the last time you really pissed off your significant other?

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1  Thank Jon R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2013

We went there last week at the urging of our daughter to celebrate her birthday. I was trying to get her to go to one of my favorite Tampa restaurants but she prevailed and I'm glad she did. This one is tucked away in a small strip shopping center but it's easy to find. From the moment you walk in to a warm greeting from the owner and his son until you leave a while later you're in for a rewarding experience.

Before you go, check out the menu on the website so you'll have an idea of the pricing and the selection but be prepared to listen carefully to the specials - that's what three out of the four of us ended up ordering and boy were we satisfied. The portions were large and even though my wife and I usually try to save some so we can take some home to enjoy later, we couldn't help ourselves and finished the meal. I got these great little 'pockets' stuffed gorgonzola and pear and nicely sauced. My wife got the pan-fried fish. As we usually do, we split the plates to enjoy more flavors and there wasn't anything to complain about. Next time though, we're going to box some of our food right away so we'll have room for more dessert. We only had room to sample gelatos and wish we could have tried one of the more substantial offerings.

Back to the warmth. I'm sure if you're pressed for time, you can be in and out in the standard chain restaurant pace but try to pick a night when you have some time to just slow down and enjoy the moment. The owner and his son are not servers, per se, they are just a couple of friendly guys that want to share their love of food and are easy to befriend. I can't overstate this. If you are ready to relax and enjoy a great meal at a leisurely pace while making a couple of new friends, head right on over to Osteria Natalina.

To give you an idea, my wife likes a good meal but I'm the foodie in our family. She was texting two of her friends on the way home inviting them to join her on a return visit! :-)

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Thank Russell J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 23, 2013 via mobile

Absolutely the best Italian cuisine in Tampa. Even better than the food is the personal service that the owner, Spartaco, gives to all of his diners.

Thank thepetitts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 17, 2013 via mobile

Awesome food and awesome service! Enough said, you will love it! Everything was explained to a T. Could split big portions, so yummy!

Thank Brandi W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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