We had an extremely unpleasant experience at this small restaurant on our Saturday evening. The manager on duty (who should not be allowed to work in the restaurant or any other hospitality business) rudely asked us to leave before we had finished our dinner / drink (our entire time there at our table took about 1 hour) - he also asked us not to come back when I told him we would not return to the restaurant ever again! Their focus is to have quick turn overs of the tables in their ultra small, noisy restaurant without any consideration for their customers. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AND MONEY at Osteria in Palo Alto if you are looking for a combination of pleasant experience, quiet, nice ambience, comfortable seating, best of Italian cuisine, and above all good cordial service. We live in the Palo Alto area and will never go back to this place and do not recommend it to others. There are far better restaurants with much better service and food in Palo Alto!
This is one of my favorite lunch stops. The food is great and priced well. The staff operates like a well oiled machine. Getting the lunch rush feed well, taken care of and off to finish the day.
Highly recommended for busy Palo Alto.
Good neighborhod Italian option.
I'm finally at the end of my California posts, and it finishes with our first meal: Friday lunch in Palo Alto at Osteria. It was the four of us grabbing lunch before driving into city. Osteria is a small, neighborhood, Italian spot in down town PA. We had a very nice meal, complete with fresh pasta, salads and bubbly.
Erica and I split a very good Caesar salad. The greens were california fresh, the croutons made in-house, and the dressing did not overwhelm. It was a very nice salad, plenty large to share.
The pastas were also made in-house, and it showed. The noodles were tender and fresh, very well made. My complaint though wasn't with the pasta, it was with the sauces on both dishes. Erica ordered a pesto pasta and I choose a marinara with pork. The first issue was quantity, there wasn't enough sauce for all the delicious noodles on the plate. But more sauce would not have changed the fact that neither dish's sauce contained enough flavor. Alyssa ordered a a fried calamari steak that was probably the best dish at the table. I've never seen a fried calamari steak before.
All in all it was a nice lunch and a good way to start our weekend. The champagne was tasty and we loved our salads. The fresh pasta was great, but the sauces need some work. It's a bit fancy and I think pricey, but a fun location and good vibe for a neighborhood Italian spot.
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Order pasta for satisfaction. The gnoccis here are unbeatable. Order pasta. I'd rate the rest of the food only one or two stars. I haven't seen the drunk owner in a year or two but he was always nice to us and our young children. The wait staff is quick-moving (don't expect warm/fuzzy). This is more of a quick eats restaurant than a stay-and-chat-for-awhile or party place. It is such a small restaurant that no doubt, they prefer the tables to turnover quickly. Must make a reservation a week in advance or they'll be booked.
Deal of the Century. Went here for the first time this weekend with my husband and seven-year old son. Was initially put-off when no one greeted us and our first interraction with the host was a hand-in-the-face as he walked past us to sit a regular who entered after us. All was forgiven, however. The host, perhaps knowing his faux pas, was extremely gracious thereafter. Our server was wonderful -- after admitting our ignorance of Italian wines, he didn't talk down to us but recommended a wonderful bottle that paired perfectly with our meal. And our meal!!!! Everything was delicious!!! We started with the artichoke bottoms with shrimp and a glass of presecco -- palatte pleasing to the extreme!. Next, the melon and prociutto was simple and perfect. My husband had the spinach pasta with bay shrimp, I had the spinach pasta with chicken and my son had a half-order of the tortellini with prociutto, peas and cream. We were all fighting over who's was best. We were drooling over the carpaccio delivered to our neighbor and have promised to order that next time. We sat towards the back of the restaurant in warm/cozy table. It was a fabulous family meal. We couldn't believe our tab when the check came!!! It was the deal of the century. We will most definitely return and cannot wait until our next meal at Osteria.
Here's the deal: Horrible, rude, drunk owner but great food.
Reviews of Osteria fall into one of two categories-either they loved the food or they hated the terrible service. And that's the thing about Osteria, both are right. The owner, a short man with curly hair, is horrible. He is drunk a lot of the time and is mean and rude to customers on a regular basis. So, while his staff are generally not bad, they know that if they're rude, whatever they dish out won't be nearly as bad as what the owner will say to you. The customer doesn't have any recourse and everyone knows it. You want to speak to the manager or owner? Good luck. Case in point. We were there about a week ago and the two guys next to us complained that there was a hair in one of the dishes (a gray hair, this guy had brown hair). The waiter apologized and took the dish away to replace it. A few minutes later though, the owner came wandering over saying that "he could order anything he wanted as long as it's not the same dish". When the customer said that he really liked what he originally ordered, the owner, I kid you not, said "why are you being such an a**h*le?". The guy was STUNNED(and so were we)but held it together pretty well. They went back and forth for a few minutes in which time the owner also called him a d*ck. Finally, and without apology, the owner wandered off and started randomly talking to people and picking up their kids. It was WEIRD. The waiter tried to apologize saying "you know, Italian temper" but clearly the staff have no control over him. We knew this guy had a reputation but it was like nothing I've ever seen before. He was also answering the phones and since he was so clearly drunk, that would explain the lost reservations in past reviews.
Regardless, the place is packed every night. The food IS good so, apparently at the end of the day, he can treat people any way he likes and he still packs them in.
Great Food.... not that great service....
At first when we entered the restaurant, we had a 7:30pm reservation, but still had to wait 'till 8pm to get seated. We sat down at the table and they did not even ask us for our drink order or if we wanted any wine. Lucky for us we didn't order any wine or we would be very upset that they didn't ask us. We started right away with order our main dishes and the dishes came out hot. The food was excellent here at Osteria. I had the Spinach Fettuccini with shrimp in a cream sauce. The sauce was not too creamy, the pasta was delicious because it was just right being not too soft and not too hard. Don't expect to get more water because they never filled our water again. Guess that is the treatment if you don't buy wine...
Overall.... great food, but don't expect great service...
don't bring guest to Osteria.
The hostess is VERY RUDE and bad attitude.
After we were seated and reading menu, the hostess came with very rude attitude that we have to leave the table if we have not ordered yet. We were waiting for our guests. Since we were "threaten" to order, we have to make our order before our guests arrived. We have never had such bad experience before.
When one had such a terrible experience, no one feel like enjoy the food anymore ...
This is not the first time we had bad service in Osteria.
If you have important date or meeting, don't pick osteria.
Great food, but very bad service. The Italian food here is good, and quite authentic, but the service is among the worse I've experienced. It seems especially bad because the slights appear to be intentional and they do not even pretend that customers that they know (and who appear to be among Silicon Valley's well to do's) are treated much better than everyone else. For that reason alone, I will not give them my business.
When I called to make a reservation, the man answering the phone answered by saying, "Get to it!" I asked him if he was talking to me and he responded rudely, "Yes, how can I help you?"
I called back to tell him that he lost a customer in Palo Alto and he responded, "Fine with me."
I have been to the restaurant once before and the food is only mediocre. I would not recommed waiting or putting up with their rude staff to anyone.
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