Birthday dinner – Firenze Osteria

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Birthday dinner – Firenze Osteria

We’ve eaten at quite a few Osteria in Italy – those eateries are typically high quality but offer a more limited menu than restaurants; we’ve usually had great success eating at osterias. And Firenze Osteria is no exception!

Here is the description from their flyer:

A stone’s throw from Universal Studios, Firenze Osteria is setting the standard for Italian cuisine in Los Angeles. Celebrity Chef Fabio Viviani brings 500 year old recipes from Florence to Los Angeles. Firenze Osteria’s high quality and commitment to excellence makes every dining experience memorable.

Our delicious menu includes homemade pastas, dry-aged meats, imported cheeses, organic vegetables, an extensive wine list and unique martini’s by Award Winning Mixologist, Jocopo Falleni.

A meal at Firenze Osteria will take you to Italy without needing a passport. And remember, there are three thing’s Italians take seriously: Love. Food. Misbehavior.

We parked at the valet parking – the attendant wasn’t there, and the staff just had us come in and get seated; the attendant came over a few minutes later, I thought it was nice that we didn’t have to wait in the sun.

The staff was friendly and very attentive yet not hovering – they seemed to be watching from a distance all the time and swooped in when we seemed to need something.

We started with two salads, Aviva had the Caprese di Burrata (a Caprese salad with a much softer, almost molten mozzarella cheese), and I had the Insalata di Pere (pear salad, something I often order in Italy). Both were exceptional – I could quibble with the presentation of my salad as it was layered in an American fashion, but it was easier to eat that way, so I liked it.

We decided on pasta for dinner – Aviva had the Ravioli d’ Aragosta (lobster ravioli) and I had the Penne Amatriciana (penne with spicy pork belly and onion). At first Aviva thought her order would be too small for a main course, but as she dug in she found it was quite rich and filling. The flavors blended nicely, leaving a gentle mix of lobster, fish and ravioli. My dish tasted very Tuscan – slightly spicy right in the middle of the tongue, without one element overpowering the rest.

We shared a Panna Cotta desert, which they serve in a brandy snifter with strawberries and a balsamic reduction. Normally I like mine straight up, but the reduction added a really nice taste to the panna cotta without overwhelming it. The snifter made it a little hard to eat though – a plate would be better if less artistic.

On the way out we got to shake hands and talk briefly with Fabio Viviani, who was a contestant in season 5 of Top Chef; his food on the looked and sounded wonderful and when I heard he had .

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