Last Updated on October 1, 2019 by Angie
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Dish Osteria in South Side is a cozy, traditional Italian restaurant that initially opened way back in 2000. While we had never made a visit before they closed in 2017, the spot had long been on our list of places to try. When they re-opened in the spring of 2019 we knew we had to make it a priority to hit up this much-loved Pittsburgh institution.
Dish Osteria Knocks it Out of the Park
We are happy to say that Dish met all of our expectations and then some.
Walking in, the atmosphere of the restaurant was very cute and transported us to a village in the Italian countryside. We loved the ceiling decorated with a huge display of wine corks.
We also noticed right away how amazing the service was. It's sad to say that although the Pittsburgh restaurant scene has greatly improved in the past decade, it's still somewhat of a rarity to get outstanding service. Not so here at Dish – the service was memorably fantastic from the thoughtful cocktail recommendations, to the pacing of the meal, to the genuine hospitality of the servers.
We started with The Med cocktail made with basil, lemon, soda water, and mastiha, a special liqueur made from an evergreen shrub that grows in Greece. The drink was like a fresher version of a lemon lime soda, in a good way. Even more delightful was the savory spritz cocktail with Campari, amaro, lime, prosecco, and olive. It was savory but not as much as, say, a martini, and was a fantastic accompaniment to a mushroom pasta dish that we ordered later.
Go For a Full Meal at Dish – You Won't Regret It
Soon after our cocktails arrived we received some house focaccia which was fluffy with a hint of rosemary and was served with olive oil dotted with balsamic vinegar for dipping.
It was difficult to pick just a few appetizers, but we ordered the beef carpaccio. The wafer-thin slices of beef literally melted in our mouths. Topped with a drizzle of lemon oil, arugula, and chunks of parmesan, this was a beautifully balanced dish with richness, acidity, and bitterness.
We also couldn't pass up the melanzane, super thin slices of grilled eggplant served chilled and topped with olive oil, an aged balsamic vinegar, and fresh mozzarella cheese. We weren't expecting a chilled dish based on the description, but it was still perfectly delightful with a hint of sweetness from the balsamic tamed by the cheese and the eggplant.
Our entrees included the grilled seafood dish and a mushroom papardelle.
The seafood entree was supposed to be served with a caponata that contained pine nuts, but the kitchen was very accommodating to my nut allergy and subbed in some spinach sauteed with garlic and lemon. The seafood included grilled scallops, shrimp, fish, and calamari. The preparation was simple such that the quality of the seafood was allowed to shine. Our only slight hesitation was that the scallops seemed left on the grill just a bit too long and had a grilled flavor that overpowered the delicate scallops. Our favorite seafood in the dish was the super tender calamari. The seafood was served with a saffron risotto that was creamy, floral, and delightful.
The mushroom papardelle was our favorite dish of the evening. The house made pasta was delicately thin and tender with several different varieties of mushrooms sliced thinly and cooked up in a garlicky, buttery sauce. Shaved brussel sprouts added some bitterness and bits of parmesan interjected some salty funkiness. All of the flavors came together harmoniously, and it paired surprisingly well with the savory spritz cocktail.
We tried the ricotta cheesecake with limoncello for dessert. We loved that it was light and fluffy but still creamy; it wasn't a dense bomb like a regular cheesecake. The graham cracker crust was fantastic, and a dollop of whipped cream and swirl of tart berry sauce kept the sweetness in check.
After this meal we can definitely see why Pittsburghers mourned Dish's closing and rejoiced in its re-opening. The pace and helpfulness of the service, the simple but refined flavor combinations, and the cozy atmosphere make this spot a great choice for everyone from couples to families and friends.
Dish Osteria is located at 128 S 17th Street in Pittsburgh's South Side.