Tell waitress Anina that you come from Canada, and she gives you a hug and asks you if we know Debbie Travis – a regular when she is in town.
There are half a dozen long tables side by side, so you never know who your dinner companions will be. My first visit I sat beside two vegetarians from San Francisco. Interesting because at the far end of the restaurant in the kitchen , huge slabs of beef sit on a counter in front of a wood burning stove.
The kitchen is where Guilio is king. Order a steak “alla” Fiorentina and Guilio hacks off a slab and brings it to the table for your consideration. My husband Steve, who is a certified carnivore, thought he had died and gone to meat heaven.
The rest of the specials are handwritten on a piece of brown paper and basically feature anything that tickled Guilio’s fancy at the market
that morning or something delectable dropped off by one of the farmers in the region who knows what he’s looking for.
Anina prepared a cornucopia of appetizers – from fried zucchini flowers, to Scamorza cheese baked with thin slices of pear, peperonata, and some concoction with fennel and onion that we wiped clean.
Then there were too many choices on the list of specials so there was plenty of sharing involved among our group of eight. Saltimboca, grilled rabbit, homemade pork sausages, tagliatelle with lamb ragu (a crowd favourite) – all reasonably sized portions.
Then there was the beef. You can’t really come to the Osteria without trying the steak. It’s like going to Moishe’s in Montreal and ordering a peanut butter sandwich. Our one slab of beef, worthy of serving at Fred Flintstone’s table, weighed in at 1.9 kilos. And don’t ask for it well done. Guilio is armed with a cleaver.
The colourful owner has a few other rules, too. Don’t ask for a cappuccino or any other frou frou item you would find on a tourist menu. Oh, then there is a glass rule. you only get one glass for water and wine. It’s up to you to use it wisely. The house wine was a exceptionally quaffable Rosso Di Montepulciano at a whopping six Euros a litre, good enough to order five more.
While we couldn’t finish every bite, we did a fair amount of damage. Maria wanted to gnaw the meat bone, and I think Phil may have licked the dessert plate. Yes…we had dessert too and coffee all around. It started at one Tiramisu with eight forks, then Anina mentioned the chocolate cake and something with peaches. Lynn declared it the best meal she has ever had and threw down the gauntlet to recreate it at a future gathering.
When it came time for the bill, the guesses ranged from 270 – 350 Euros considering that slab of beef and the parade of dishes that we ordered. Guilio came to the table and did the accounting right in front of us on a paper tablecloth. The grand total…190 Euros – less than 50 per couple.
No wonder you need reservations!