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“Great food, great service: feels like home (but tastes better!)”
Review of Vecchia Osteria

Vecchia Osteria
Ranked #1 of 83 Restaurants in Newtown
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed March 17, 2013

I write reviews when we travel, but usually don't think to review places close to home -- but I'm making an exception to review what has become our favorite local restaurant, Vecchia Osteria. It's a homey restaurant in a suburban strip shopping center, so you'd probably expect a basic neighborhood Italian eatery, but this is definitely a cut above. Foods are consistently very well-prepared, from salads -- try the Arugula Sardegna salad, which exemplifies the simple but excellent cooking here -- to the frequently-on-the-specials-menu Branzino fish -- no fancy sauces here, just moist, light lemon, clean and simple and delicious.

There are a lot of nightly specials not on the printed menu, many of which are regulars, like grilled lamb chops or my favorite, sacchettini -- literally "little sacks", somewhat like over-sized tortellini, which are homemade pasta stuffed with fresh pear and ricotta cheese in a gorgonzola cream sauce with walnuts and topped with baby arugula. As another reviewer has noted below, the specials are usually significantly more expensive than the items on the printed menu, but we feel the prices are not unreasonable for the quality. And there's plenty to like form the printed menu, like the salad mentioned above or the Fusilli pasta: spiral pasta in a pink sauce with onions, jumbo lump crab meat, cherry tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, and a little hot pepper. Yum, and only $15. Simply, we haven't had a single dish here we haven't enjoyed, in many visits.

The staff is another highlight of Vecchia Osteria. The waiters and waitresses all hustle, but take time with you to explain anything on the menu or offer suggestions. And they're friendly and make you feel completely at home. Most times, you can catch owner-chef Pasquale Palino presiding over the kitchen, or making quick circuits around the dining rooms to greet longtime guests. (It's a family affair: his wife and two daughters also work there.)

For locals who like to eat late, one nice thing about Vecchia Osteria is that it stays busy enough to be a comfortable place to walk into for a late meal. (But at peak times, like 7:30 on Saturday night, you should call ahead for reservations, or you might face a long wait.)

A strong selling point for us is that it's a BYO; we can eat here for less than restaurants with a bar, or put our money into more expensive bottles of wine to compliment the meal. In warm weather months, the outdoor patio is THE place to eat. We always note how couples, foursomes, and larger groups come to dine and often linger over wine and conversation -- it's just got a comfortable, relaxed vibe that sets it apart from most restaurants.

While my wife and I have eaten here many times ourselves and with friends, we just had a dinner for 14 people for a milestone birthday for my father. It was a Saturday night, and the restaurant was packed, including a number of other large parties. That can spell disaster, but everything was spot on, from food to service, throughout the meal. (For large groups, you can arrange fixed price dinner menus -- from everything on the menu, including all the specials -- and they will bury your group in more food than the hungriest crowd can devour!) It was a great evening everyone enjoyed. So I just had to post this review of our little not-so-secret spot to give props for their consistent performance, time after time, for groups small and large.

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Thank Eric J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (629)
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533 - 537 of 629 reviews

Reviewed March 4, 2013

I would give this restaurant 5 stars had it not been for the overpriced specials we had. Normally, I ask the price of a special, but this time I did not. The most expensive entree on the menu was $20. However, we ordered two specials--Branzini for me and a pasta dish with shrimp and langastinos for my wife. Each was $32. Although they were very good, they weren't worth $32.

Service was very good; Meditterranean salad w/crabmeat was also very good. Tiramisou was excellent.

The restaurant has a very small waiting area, but we didn't have to wait. It's a BYOB.

We'll go back again--just not ordering specials.

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1  Thank Howard4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 3, 2013

My fiance and I eat here all the time. The food is always delicious, and there are many interesting specials to try (Like Octopus Fra Diavolo which I had just yesterday) along with the regular menu which is full of great dishes as well. Service is extremely friendly and willing to help you with whatever you need. Definitely worth a try if you enjoy Italian food! More than likely you'll be coming back again!

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Thank Shockwave730
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2013

We started coming here when it first opened and itwas great but It keeps getting better.. Pasquale and his staff are wonderful. the food is freshly prepared and you can get just about anything you want. We feel like we are with family when we are there

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Thank jpsalci
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2013

My fiancée and I have been patrons since this establishment opened its doors. Pasquale, chef and owner, is the most welcoming host. The staff and service are excellent. We have taken many out of town visitors here and they have all remarked on the comfortable and homelike atmosphere. The food is excellent: fresh, tasty and ample. The prices are very competitive. We have eaten there during the week and on weekends and it is almost always full! Pasquale is very generous and usually provides a taste of Italy that is not on the menu, such as a small antipasto. I recommend this establishment without doubt that you will have an enjoyable and delicious meal that will not empty your wallet! We are there every month for a romantic evening alone or to dine with friends. Try it, you'll love it!

Here's my honest review:

Verily, if you choose to herein imbibe,
Ever must you follow the rules of Pasquale’s tribe,
Commandments, they are, to guide your culinary stay,
Consider them writ in stone, as they say!
Have no other chefs, Pasquale’s the one,
In here you must smile and have lots of fun,
Always leave, though, not linger, when you are done!

Our kitchen is popular, please patiently wait,
So keep your reservation, and don’t be late,
The fare is all original, Neapolitan style,
Everything’s freshly made, but that takes a while!
Red wine or white, please bring what will fit,
In here you can indulge, that’s why we’re a hit,
About overdrinking, FORGET ABOUT IT!

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Thank jon s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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