Chicago >Osteria Via Stato
I come to Osteria probably once a year and every time I wonder why I'm not there more often. Mmmm...mmmm....delicioso. LEYE got it right..
If you're downtown and need a great pizza (or pasta or cocktail or seafood or... anything Italian) this is one of the places I always recommend.
Citysearch Editorial Review – Smooth stone walls, candlelight and a wood-beamed ceiling lend the cozy impression of dining in a Tuscan wine cave, an appropriate ambience for this relaxed Italian restaurant on State Street. Affordable wine and comfy, Italian grandma-style dishes like simple, tomato-sauced veal meatballs and roast chicken with braised lentils put casually dressed couples and lively groups of friends at ease. And, wouldn't you know it, that relaxed vibe usually leads to more wine and good times. Desserts, like the main menu, change with the seasons, but if there's a fruit crostata on offer, it's a safe bet that the fall-apart-tender crust is worth the splurge.
Just ok – We had a Lettuce Entertain You gift card to use, and decided to try Osteria Via Stato. We had a drink at the bar before being seated - the bartender was really nice. The atmosphere in the place is a little odd. Some very modern light fixtures in one spot, a medieval looking sconce on the wall in another, and then a bare light bulb dangling from the ceiling on the other side of the room. It's like they're not even sure what it's supposed to look like.
We really enjoyed the cheese platter with "seasonal accompaniments" (honey, almonds, crostini, etc.). For our entrees, I had the carbonara and my husband had the gnocchi. The carbonara was tasty, but a little boring. I would've like to see some peas or something in it - other than the pasta and bacon (with the egg of course). The gnocchi was good - very traditional.
Overall, it was fine, but I'm not sure we'd return unless we had another gift card, of course. :)
Good Eats, Expensive Drinks – Had a very nice time her last Saturday. We really enjoyed the polenta with 3 meat ragout. I ordered the pizza of the month, something with sunchokes, king oyster mushrooms, and white truffle oil. It was decadent and flavorful, and was perfect with the suggested wine paring.
The only drawback is that the cocktails are downtown expensive, which I guess is to be expected in their neighborhood. A gin and tonic will run you $10. Stick with wine - my delicious pairing was only $7.
Terrible host service – Let me start by saying that our food actually was quite good. This does not compensate, however, for the terrible hosting staff. We had a reservation for my birthday for 9:30 and checked in at 9:15. 9:30 came and went and we were standing in front of the station until 9:45 when I asked when we could expect be seated. They then told me that they didn't have our name in the system. When they finally seated us at 10:00, we received no apology. Also annoying was the fact that my husband had told them that it was my birthday and asked for a cake, which never arrived. (Adding insult to injury, the table next to us was also celebrating a birthday, complete with a cake.) By the end of the night, we were extremely frustrated by the staff. I would never go back.
Authentic pies come from Osteria's bar repurposed as a standalone pizzeria. – In Short
The look is all decades-old wine cellar, from the cambered brick ceilings to the cobblestone floor--with plenty of darkly stained wood. Two dozen or so tables seat stylish couples and groups, all waiting for blistered-crust pizzas that emerge leaving terrific aroma trails. The housemade sausage pie seems to be a favorite. The bar does a clip too, pouring out dozens of (mostly Italian) wines in carefully measured doses.
Would Not Return – Went with great expectations. Were greatly disappointed. Felt like cattle being herded in and out. Very much a chain feel and quality of food far below expectations. Food not remarkable and too pricey based on the quality of food and service. Too noisy, service too fast and brusque. Nothing tasted special. In some cases, food was over oily and too salty. Six of us rated the restaurant exactly the same. Two stars. Definitely would not return.
Rosebud is good, this is "slightly" better ; ) – If you're willing to walk a little farther south from where Rosebud is located at (from Rush and Superior to Ontario and State) you'll find this classy restaurant adjacent to the even classier hotel. I've been here twice with friends and family members and I get the same consistant good treatment each and every time. Last time I was here was on New Years Eve 06-07 and you'd think there wouldn't be any seating at around 7:30PM with the hustle and bustle of everyone going out to eat before counting down the new year. To my surprise, we got seated right awayand left without feeling any rush from the staff. The staff is knowledgeable about the food and the 10 some page wine list they have to offer. The food may be small portioned to some who are used to the Olive Garden big plate-o-spaghetti crowd, but this is due to that French approach of plating (a mentality of a little goes a long way). You do get a choice once you walk in, you can either do a traditional 5 course Italian style meal which is usually a packaged deal, or order a la carte. You won't find much on their food menu since there main focus is mostly the wine. But nonetheless, I liked the experience and it is once of the best places to go for upscale but not too overpriced Italian cuisine.
Average – Unfortunately, I have to voice a minority opinion. We came here to celebrate a birthday party a few weeks ago after hearing rave reviews from both the press and friends. While the atmosphere is pleasant and the service friendly and helpful, the food was bland, boring and unexceptional in every way. While I?m happy so many people have had such enjoyable experiences here, Osteria, in my opinion, is a far cry from the city?s upper echelon of Italian restaurants. Bice, for one, is much better. You can do much better for your dollar dining in downtown Chicago.
You will continue to CRAVE this food, and be compelled to return. – I have never written a review before, but eating here is almost an obsession for my me & husband while we are visiting Chicago. Even amongst Chicago's endless renowned restaurant offerings, this is THE ONE we just can't help coming back to. The recipes & presentation are so honest in their approach & quality that you get an amazing culinary experience without one ounce of pretense. It is Italian food at it's finest origins (nothing overly complex and mysterious): warm crusty bread, an exceptional sampling of olives, delicious antipasto, fresh fish, well-balanced pastas. Don't refuse dessert and miss the divine gelatos, and especially the Chococello which everyone at your table will want to try once they see it! It is the type of meal you only wish your own Italian grandmother would prepare! The servers have the right balance of food & wine knowledge, and attentiveness without being overbearing. They seem to understand that the food & extensive wine list are the stars of the show, and can stand on those merits alone without a lot of fluff from their department. Regardless, they always serve with great ease and replenish your items at your simple request. You truly feel like a guest in someone's home when they serve your portions tableside right out of a tiny copper saucepan! The whole experience embodies authentic hospitality. The family dinners are definitely a value, but I highly recommend visiting for lunch as well. The lunch menu shines with some delicious lighter options (antipasto, salads, seafood crudo), which is generally unexpected for an Italian eatery. You can not help but recognize and appreciate how these meals are prepared with great passion.
Great food – This place is great. The food was good, the service was awesome. Defiantly recommend for a nice romatic dinner. The place is a little crowded, but that adds to the atmosphere.
Unpleasing Italian – I must say we were quite disappointed with this Osteria. The service was very slow,it looked as though the restaurant was understaffed. Our antipasto and salads took forever to come to the table and were nothing close to the quality you would recieve at an Osteria in Italy more like a chain restaurant. The salmon entree was soaked in oil and the pasta was just fair. Our wine tastings came out so late we could only taste one and told our waitress to stop the rest because we were half way through our main course when the second arrived. All around our experience here very unpleasant.
Excellent Wine List – I have been here twice...once for prix fixe lunch and for dinner. Both times we were all pleased with the food, wine and service. How about that wine list? The sommelier definitely knows what he/she is doing! The service was friendly and unpretentious. One night we had to rush to an event so we couldn't have dessert. When we came back around 10:30PM the place was shutting down for a private event. The manager apologized and offered as her card for a future comp. Highly recommend this place!
Nice eatery – I like the outside seating (the casual area). The food is as good as the main dining area but more laid back. On the weekends with people crowded around waiting for tables, it does get hectic. But I sometimes, a noisy evening with great food isn't so bad. All the dishes, especially the salami and the other meats were great, the salad, the pasta dishes yum!!! The coffee gelato for dessert is a nice way to finish!
Will the servers find you attractive? – First of all, the food IS wonderful. Still, I'm not sure we'd return -- the service was annoying. Our waiter rushed us through dinner -- we were in and out in less than an hour (so much for the very Italian habit of a leisurely dinner). And we noticed that the macho male servers brought the basics to our table of guys -- but managed to bring all sorts of extras to tables full of cute girls. The lame service left us annoyed.
What a great meal! – I enjoy small plate eating and this is a great Italian version of that. If anyone's heard/been to English is Italian in NYC this is just as good. I sat at the wood stove bar and got great service from the staff (couple managers, server, sommelier). You're given antipasti (veal meatballs, roasted onion with parmesan, spinach salad with pomegranate seeds) and can ask for more of anything. Next are two pastas and you choose an entree. Meal started with great bread and olive plate (server wrote down the olive names for me and sommelier did the same with the wine. Would be just as great with friends...YUM
Most Authentic Italian in the city – I just got back from studying in Italy, and I must say Osteria Via Stato is without a doubt the BEST, morst AUTHENTIC Italian restaurant in the city. I'll go back and back and back...be sure to try the Chicken Brioni, or Pescatore (seafood stew) both amazing!!!! Long wooden tables make this the perfect place for large gatherings.
Fun experience, good food, good value – The semi fixed menu was not bad - a 5 different antipasto dishes, a couple pastas, and then the choice of main. good for 35 bucks. very satisyfing and good quality. the main dishes were good (short ribs and lamb shank were very tender). Also tried the "bring me wine" option where they bring a wine for each course (3) so you get to try a few different ones. Dessert was excellent as well (not included) and reasonably priced - about 4-5 bucks each. Try the chococello - a blend of cocoa and vodka that goes great with the chocolate gelato :)
The ambience is a bit different than traditional italian restaurants - some shared tables (though there is a divider on the table), light techno ambient music - but I think it adds to up to a new way to dine italian.
One of my favorites – I have been twice-about 1 year apart. The food was consistent. It is a prefix 35$ for a multicourse meal that is excellent quality. The pastas are wonderful. They serve them in small portions but you can ask for more. The main courses are good but not as wonderful as the appetizers and pastas. Excellent quality, excellent value, friendly service. Wonderful wine list-lots of options in terms of by the glass, or half/full bottles.
I would return without question.
Try the best, it shames the rest! – I visited Osteria via Stato at my sister's recommendation. I was skeptical at first. It can't be as fantastic as she says ... Italian food is all the same to me. I took a group from work. Our waiter never stopped smiling. His warmth made us feel that we were family. Osteria is truly dazzling inside and the food is out of this world. No words can describe it. Price is extremely reasonable given the food and service.
Everyone at my table raved about the restaurant. At the airport, I met a stranger who told me about her one-of-a-kind dining experience. We were both talking about Osteria and didn't realize it. She told everyone she met not to miss it (and she's a world traveler). TO THE OWNERS: Please open a restaurant in Washington, D.C. You will squash the competition -- hands down! Congratulations on a tremendously successful venture.
Not impressed – After reading these reviews I was very excited to try Osteria. The wine was good, and the bread and little amuse bouche type tastings they brought out we very good. I got a salad that was blah (I forget which one) but my sister got this chick pea salad that was delicious. The rest was bad though. It is set up as a three-course meal restuarant, where you order a pasta for an appetizer and meat for an entree, then dessert. This is usually how it is done in Italy, but it is too bad for vegetarians like myself. There were TWO pasta choices... one with meat and one without. So basically I had one choice, and it was a pasta in a sage butter sauce that was decent at best. For the price, you could do ALOT better with a lot better selection.
Classy, Delicious and Pampering – My husband and I recently dined here while we visited Chicago from Phoenix. It was the highlight of our trip. Beyond the amazing, perfectly balanced food, the service was impeccable (coming from a demanding customer). Our server, Bill, was flawless, knowledgeable and, most importantly, fun. This was the least pretentious upscale restaurant I've experienced. The sommelier was also very friendly and the wines were fabulous. (We thought the $15 sampler was as good as the $28 sampler.) We were stuffed upon leaving, so when they ask if you want more, remember you're going to get a lot, even if the portions seem small. The decor is rich, warm and gorgeous. If you like limoncello, their homemade version is the best I've tried. A must-do if in Chicago!
Great value for your money – Went here for my birthday. Great wine list, with great recommendations for the not so savvy wine consumer. I don't like much meat, but I was able to eat everything that was brought out to me. The service was spectacular, and the atmosphere is very relaxing and old world italian. Not the traditional "large portions" of italian food, but just the right amount of variety. Highly recommend it!
Outstanding restaurant! I will be back! – I have to say the only reason I checked out this restaurant was because of the customer reviews- and they were all right on!
The servers were excellent- the ambience was awesome and the food was absolutely fantastic! I will absolutely be back here- this is a great date place or a good venue to do girls night out.
Food and Portions need Lots of Work – The dinner portion of the Chicken breast was a Childs Portion and the Large and LOUD group sitting across the room was Over served on the beer and wine and the employees did not seem to care.
A terrible Dinner.
High Expecations Exceeded – After looking at the rating and reading the reviews here my expectations for our group's evening were pretty high.
The service and the food exceeded my expectations. Our waiter was attentive and entertaining, as were the other folks who helped him out. They took the two people in our party with food issues into account when bringing out dishes and were available without hovering.
The prix-fixe was plenty of food, partly because they asked what we liked and brought out second-helpings. It was also nice not to have to try to decide what to have, they just brought food out and it was all great. The only decisions were the main course (some were more "petite" than others) and which dessert. The bittersweet chocolate cake was good, but the burnt carmel gelato was fabulous.
It was a wonderful dinner, before we left were talking about when we would come back.
Fun Culinary Experience! – Osteria Via Stato is a loud high-energy place, so it's great when you're seaching for a place to have a fun time! The Italian cuisine is tasty, authentic and the presenation is simply awesome. The "Bring me wine" program is FABULOUS.
Go here if you want a FUN Italian experience.
A tase of Italy in your own backyard – We had a large group dinner at Osteria Via Stato and had a wonderful experience. The ambiance was reminiscent of an authentic Tuscan tratoria. The service was warm, and the food delicious. Plus, you have to love their affordable wine flights.
You've gotta go – My boyfriend and I went on a monday night and all I have to say is OMG!!!!! This place is amazing. The service is great and the food was even better. Make sure you try the Monkfish. It was amazing. Also, try to get a seat at the prep station counter. It seems as though you get a little extra food wise if you sit there.
Eat Italian style! – Both the concept and the execution here are excellent. If you want a longer and more extravagant dining experience you can order the pre-fix deal, or if you want to taste one thing and make it a shorter experience you can order a la carte. The food is outstanding, the pre-fix price is an extremely high value and you are showered with all kinds of different Italian foods to try. GO!!