A day trip down the coast to East Lothian is popular at any time of the year for golf or fun at the seaside. Walking along the charming High Street in North Berwick you could easily pass by this intimate wee Restaurant at Number 71, hidden beside gift shops and art galleries. Shortlisted in the top three best Italian restaurants in Scotland 2012, the young chef Daniela Cocchia is a former Italian Chef of the Year. This is a family business - her father Angelo is the Restaurant owner. Osteria has a warm welcoming romantic atmosphere (white linen, gleaming crystal, fresh flowers), where you will experience superlative, authentic cuisine artistically prepared with care and passion.
Exquisite Italian cuisine beside the seashore
Reviewed by Vivien Devlin
Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 4:48am
Osteria opened in 2006 when Cosmo Tamburro transferred his legendary Italian restaurant from Edinburgh to North Berwick. And his fans followed him down to the seaside. When he decided to retire from the kitchen, Daniella Cocchia took over as Head Chef.
The standard of casually elegant service has never diminished from Cosmo's to Osteria with a consistency in superb cuisine and hospitality over the years.
Expect a leisurely dinner, with a glass of Prosecco to start and study the menu of Antipasti, Primi, Secundo and Dolci. If you have a good appetite you might take a starter, pasta and main course. My dining partner selected Piccola Parmigiana - Aubergine stuffed with buffalo mozzarella, tomato and pesto, a rich, satisfying dish served hot (I presumed it would be a chilled tricolore-style salad), while I selected an all time favourite – delicate slices of Smoked Salmon with a light herby mascarpone topping. The perfect light, classic, classy dish to begin a meal.
Instead of (or in addition to an antipasti course), taste the finest fresh pasta such as Ravioli di funghi misti, pasta parcels stuffed with ricotta and wild mushrooms, smothered in pungent truffle oil or homemade Gnocchi in a rich gorgonzola sauce sprinkled with wild rocket.
Meanwhile we sipped a smooth red Sicilian wine, Nero d’Avola chosen from an extensive Italian and New World wine list. By now the restaurant was packed – including a group of American visitors staying at Greywalls hotel along the coast. The party arrived with an extra guest – no problem to the staff who quickly adjusted the table setting.
And so on to our main course. Veal of course is a classic Italian dish, and here Vitello con Pancetta is most imaginative. Veal escalopes with cured pancetta in a sage sauce. But our eye was on the special market Fish of the day – locally caught Lobster as well as a platter of mixed seafood.
We chose one of each with myself indulging in another favourite – grilled juicy lobster with garlic butter and salad. My companion delighted in his fishy feast of chunks of halibut and monkfish with langoustines, mussels and clams.
Service is leisurely and attentive to let guests converse, sip wine and relax. To complete our fine meal, another classic, White Chocolate Pannacotta with apricot sorbet and cocoa tuile - one portion, two spoons.
A recent diner commented: “Last week I had dinner at both Gordon Ramsay's at Claridges, London and Osteria in North Berwick. The food at Osteria was far better. What else can one say?”
Take a trip down to North Berwick soon, - don’t drink and drive, so take the Scotrail train from Edinburgh - stroll along the beach for some fresh sea air, and then experience a fabulous lunch or dinner at Osteria. Be sure to reserve a table first.