The following is my wife's review of Vetta Osteria (199 Bank Street, Ottawa) for a lunch with her colleagues from work:
We arrived at 1 P.M. for our reservation at Vetta Osteria. The restaurant was already full for the lunch time crowd. The restaurant itself was not spacious but not small either. The front entrance would have trouble handling any more than two people to be seated. If there were several tables waiting to be seated due to a backlog, the line up of customers would be getting acquainted with the snow outside on the sidewalk.
Luckily we were shown to table promptly probably because of our reservation. The tables and chairs are basic wooden table and chairs with modern globe lights hanging from ceiling.
A chalk board for specials made an appearance. But the only specials were for the dinner crowd later that day. The specials should be reviewed as there was a sizable lunch crowd that probably would have taken advantage of something whipped up by the resident chef.
The group of eight was sat and given menus. We were shortly welcomed later by our server and placed our order.
Appetizer: CALAMARI FRITTI (Marinated in buttermilk, lightly dusted with flour and quick fried. Served with our house cocktail sauce and roasted garlic ranch dressing.)
Main Dish: PENNE OSTERIA (Short-tubed pasta with sausage, pepperoncini, bell peppers, onions and mushrooms).
The Calamari Fritti arrived a respectable seven minutes after ordering. For an appetizer, it had a decent quantity. Visually it was well laid out. Taste wise it was satisfactorily crispy enough but nothing over the top. The calamari was accompanied by two different kind of dipping sauces: a cocktail sauce and a roasted garlic ranch dressing which was nice depending on each person taste who might be sharing this dish.
Between food dishes I noticed it took a while for the wait staff to refill the complimentary water glasses at our table. Not sure if this was because the restaurant was busy for lunch or whether they wanted to encourage us to order other drinks from the menu.
The Penne Osteria was nicely prepared and looked good presentation wise. Sadly, the quantity was not there. A main dish is supposed to be the "main" eating component. The Penne dish was lacklustre in this department as the bowl it was served in made the pasta look like it was cowering in the bottom. With a $16.00 plus taxes price tag, it is a let down.
Overall, Vetta Osteria uses quality ingredients to make a great tasting meal. But if you are looking for quantity this place is not for you. Others at my table were enjoying a thing crust pizza that also looked high on the quality ingredients, but the crust was so thin, a lined piece paper could compete for thiness. This restaurant is a decent place to celebrate or treat yourself but not for everyday lunch as the prices are high for not that much food. In the end you will probably end up walking away looking for more food than what was provided.
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