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“Excellent Italian”

Osteria de Valerio and Al
Ranked #100 of 1,881 Restaurants in Cleveland
Price range: $15 - $100
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed May 29, 2012

My husband and I celebrated my birthday at Osteria. I had no idea that it was even there - it's down some steps, not very obvious. It's s smallish place - with maybe 15 or 20 tables and a bar. We had an 8:00 reservation on a Saturday evening, and it was nearly full. It was a little bit on the loud side, but nothing too obnoxious.

The wine list is extensive - all Italian wines. The server was very knowledgeable about the wines.

We started with the Carpaccio di Bufala con crimini e olio al limone - it was excellent. Sliced paper thin, I never thought about lemon juice on buffalo before. We then moved on to the Zuppa alla crema di asparagus con tartufi e aragosta (creme of asparagus soup with lobster) and Caprese vincotto (tomatoes with mozzarella and basil). The soup was just to die for. Creamy, but not too heavy. Nice pieces of asparagus, and bite sized pieces of lobster. I could have eaten that all night. The tomatoes in the salad wer nice as well - surprising, since it's early in the season. Next was the pasta course - Pappardelle alla bolognese. Another excellent dish. My husband is not a fan of pasta, but he really liked this. Nice ground veal and duck, the sauce made with fresh tomatoes, but not in the least bit acidic. The pappardelle was perfectly cooked - a tad bit al dente. Then we moved on to the Filetto di manzo alla dolce gorgonzola e portobello (filet mignon with gorgonzola) and Braciola di argnello grigliato al vincotto (grilled rack of lamb). Each dish also had freshly shucked peas and polenta. The peas were not mushy, nicely sweet. The polenta's consistency was off. It was a little bit rubbery. At first I thought it was mashed potatoes, but the taste was off. It's a little bit dark in the restaurant, so I couldn't see all that clearly to try to figure out what was going on there. It finally occurred to my husband what it was. The filet was done perfectly - rare - with a portobello mushroom cap on top, with the gorgonzola sauce over. The sauce was almost too much - I think the steak would have been good without it. My husband's lamb was excellent - rare as well. If he wants to chew on the bones, I know it's good! He settled for taking his uneaten portion home to enjoy them there. We finished with tiramisu and dessert wine.

Dinner was a bit on the expensive side - but then we couldn't decide what we wanted, so we pretty much got a little of everything. While expensive, I think the portion sizes supported the cost.

All in all, an excellent dinner. We both brought home half of our dinners and enjoyed them for breakfast the next day. We will definitely go back again, now that we know they are there!

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Thank gatsbyCleveland_Ohio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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70 - 74 of 93 reviews

Reviewed April 30, 2012

Great calamari frito, lobster ravioli in black ink sauce very nice, excellent veal marsala, and wonderful tiramisu...on Thurs-Sat nights live music, which was not being adequately appreciated by a noisy crowd..a small place, but great atmosphere and great food. Pricey, but you get what you pay for. Excellent wine list, particularly for wine by the glass. Always on my list when I'm in Cleveland, whether i'm staying downtown or not.

Thank Gary307
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 14, 2012

I have always wanted to try this restaurant so I purchased a Living Social for it and I was pleasantly surprised!! We brought our 15 month old so I was a little worried but we ended up having a great time!! The staff was super friendly and patient with us!! We had 2 dishes...one with chicken sauteed with tomatoes and served with asparagus and mashed potatoes...the other was orecchiette pasta with italian sausage!!! They were both AMAZING!!! We will def be back!! **Make Reservations**

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Thank MICHELLES267
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2011

I was introduced to Osteria years ago, and have had many good times there ... especially with Rick & Sharona are performing there! I love that you can order half orders of all the pasta (although they do not advertise this in any way) - because half orders are more than enough! AND you get to try more than one! I've also had great success with their chicken dishes and soups. They have a half dozen specials most nights in addition to the regular menu, which hasn't changed in the years I've been going. Also, the atmosphere is small and cozy, although I admit I prefer going in the fall/winter; being below street level, it's hard to convince oneself to go in on a beautiful summer night! I've found the staff to be "okay". Some are great, some are lack-luster or just seem uninformed on the food and wine they offer. More than a few times, the wine list has been woefully out of date - ordering several wines in a row that they just didn't carry anymore, and finally letting the bartender just pick one out - not ideal. I do have to commend their glass pour list though, which is accurate and has a good selection. While the food can be quite amazing (try to the veal tortellini or the orecchiette with sausage), there always seems to be a problem every time I've gone with a group. On the most recent trip, there were about 8 of us. Two had to send food back, including myself - and I think I've probably done that one other time in my life. In my case, I asked if they could make me the penne vodka, which is often a special but wasn't that night. I was told "No Problem" - which was great. However, what arrived was not. I had a plate of pasta with marinara sauce - red in color. I've had the penne vodka there a half dozen times and I know exactly how it looks and tastes, and this was not it (others agreed). When I asked the server about it, she told me it was correct. I had to press the issue and eventually she took it back and I waited for a new batch while everyone else ate their meal. Surprise, surprise, I got a true penne vodka when it came back the second time. It looked and tasted completely different. Two other guests at the table ordered the special lobster ravioli. When it arrived, one guest had large pieces of lobster on the plate. The other had NO lobster on the plate and her food was cold. She sent it back as well. It's unfortunate, because other than that, we had a nice time and enjoyed the atmosphere. My best advice is to go to Osteria on a cold dark night, enjoy some wine at the bar, and order a half portion of pasta.

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1  Thank Candace P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 5, 2011

Fantastic Italian! This place rivals NYC's best without the noise and characters. The salad taste like they just picked the lettuce, pasta just the right texture, the sauces are tasty, but not over bearing. No garlic overload, they pile on the bread, the lamb is fantastic, Mahi Mahi was superb, the service is adequate

1  Thank mbmuscle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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