I was thrilled to be invited to experience the newly opened Osteria Accademia on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Osteria Accademia is a classy and sophisticated small Italian restaurant with Mediterranean overtones that is perfect for intimate dinners with loved ones and friends. It’s library-like vibe is really something different in terms of atmosphere and you can see that the guests just love it. Osteria Accademia has less than 20 tables and often people wind up waiting out in the cold to get in, so reservations are a must!
Osteria Accademia ( which by the way is located on Amsterdam Avenue between 91st and 92nd Street) is the brainchild of restaurateur Huseyin Ozer of Upper West Side mainstays Bodrum and Leyla partnered with Murat Akinci. The duo conceived the restaurant with Upper West Side residents in mind, creating an environment that I would call “Upper West Side brownstone dining room meets local library reading room.” The restaurant is flocked by shelves of books on either side and the name is a tribute to the universities, schools, and academies that the neighborhood is known for. This dynamic duo’s goal for the restaurant is to provide locals a cozy, warm spot where it is easy to lose track of time over delicious dishes, fine wine, and deep dinner conversation. But that does not mean that Osteria Accademia isn’t the type of place you would take out of town guests who are looking for quality Italian cuisine and a cozy atmosphere.
The Osteria Accademia menu was created by Consulting Chef Massimilliano Convertini (Cipriani, Barolo) and Executive Chef Claudio Cristofoli (Ciprinai, Il Mulino). Each dish on the menu represents a different region of Italy. Guests cannot resist this resto’s fresh, homemade pasta dishes created with imported Italian ingredients or their fabulous meat and chicken dishes. The short ribs over mashed potatoes seem to be on every diner’s plate when I went. Both my fellow food journo Gail Worley and I order the braised short ribs and were blown away—and we noticed that the people at the table next to us ordered it as well and were equally mesmerized. The braised short ribs are doused with red wine, placed on a tasty large bed of mashed potatoes and then topped with fresh Pecorino.
Before the short ribs, I decided to try the two inch long tubular pasta known known as Pacheri topped with shredded dried ricotta, tomato sauce and raw arugula. This pasta was off the charts and the portion was so big that I could have easily shared it with a guest and we would both be full.
My friend Gail got the Burrata and it was a hearty six ounce plus chunk resting over golden and red beet chunks tossed in a tangy viniagrette dressing made with top notch EVOO. She said it was the best Buratta she has had in the past few years, and that is saying something because both of us tend to order this delicious soft cheese whenever we get the chance.
We concluded our dinner with two incredible homemade desserts and the portions yet again were sizeable. The tiramisu served at Osteria Accademia is light and fluffy with just the perfect dusting of espresso to give it flavor. This particular piece was perfect looking and served artistically, almost like it came off the pages of a classic food magazine like Gourmet. I like that there was more whipped marscapone than cake!
I was blown away by the serving of two homemade cannoli as it was unlike any that I have had before. The shells were crispy, golden and light while the filling was creamy with the consistency of whipped marscapone although it was of course made with ricotta. A nice touch on this dessert is candied orange sliver stuck in the cream which was a major taste sensation on its own.
Osteria Accademia’s official site is simply accademianyc.com . There you can peruse the menu and drool a little before actually making your reservation…but do not wait too long because this restaurant is super popular and its accolades online are totally snowballing. They make super fresh Italian favorites with a sophisticated flair that is not equaled at too many places! It is really like a piece of Italy on the Upper West Side. Prices are moderate and children are welcome. There is a beautiful large outdoor dining shed out in front of Osteria Accademia if you prefer to eat al fresco but it only seems to be used in mild weather. It goes without saying that the UWS has tons of adorable storefront mom and pop eateries, but Osteria Accademia is in a league of its own.