Osteria Tampa Preview
Update: Osteria Tampa is now open, read more here.
Meeting new people and eating gourmet food… what more could a girl want?! I was recently treated to a preview dinner for Osteria, a new restaurant opening in Tampa, where I got to do just that. The food, the ambiance and even the service has me incredibly excited for the grand opening of the restaurant at the end of this summer. The restaurant space, located at the bottom of the almost complete Nine15 high-rise in downtown, is still being built out so the dinner was hosted at Franklin Manor - right across the street! Chef Fabio Viviani (you may recognize him from Top Chef) prepared a six course dinner that I’ll be dreaming about for the foreseeable future.
So let’s get to the food!
The first dish was Puffed Coccoli - which is basically a fried pizza dough that is somehow light enough to be an appetizer - not quite sure how that works, but I’m not complaining. The balls of dough were served drizzled with honey and herb oil before being opened and stuffed with aged speck and stracchino cheese. This dish was definitely a breadwinner (pardon the pun).
The second course was Spanish Octopus, which was braised for 12 hours and covered in a creamy romesco sauce - served over chilies, celery and olives. It was tender, sweet and unlike anything I had ever had before; I would definitely order again.
Up next was a Lobster and Avocado Salad; it was light, refreshing and some of the best lobster I have ever eaten. The lobster was poached in butter, so it tasted as if they had doused the claw in a cup of melted butter, but without the oily residue and heavy taste.
The next course was also the most aesthetically pleasing to watch - Carbonara in a Jar. Cured pork belly, brussel sprouts, and a delicious parmigiano sauce were placed in a large mason jar, with a fresh egg cracked on top, then shaken and poured into a large bowl to be served family style. Seriously...this was so good.
By this point, I was verrryyyy full, but there was no stopping me. The final course was an interesting spin on a chicken marsala recipe; the chicken was braised in the marsala, served with toasted cauliflower, tomatoes, chickpeas and topped with chicken skin chicharrones. It was thicker and creamier than a traditional marsala dish and absolutely mouth watering.
And finally - it was time for dessert! I still drool just thinking about it - Fabio’s Grandma Bomboloni. They were the same consistency as a donut but not as heavy (meaning it was easier to eat at least 3). We had to stick our finger in the middle to create a crevice and had the choice to fill it with a chocolate sauce, berries coulis or vanilla custard. My favorite combo was filling the bomboloni with the vanilla custard and dipping it in the berries coulis. When you dine at Osteria, I beg you to get this dessert, you won’t regret it.
This was some of the most authentic Italian food I have ever eaten and I cannot wait to see what the grand opening has in store - I’ll update you as soon as there is an official opening date :)
This post was written by This Babe Eats contributor, Michaela.
This Babe Eats was invited to dine at this restaurant in exchange for an honest review and opinion.