Less formal than chef Michael White's other renowned Italian restaurants (like Marea in Midtown West), the atmosphere at Osteria Morini is lively and upbeat, with communal tables at the center and a rock-and-roll soundtrack. The food still steals the show, though. Start with a selection of cheeses and cured meats, then move on to hearty pastas—a lusty ragu Bolognese or garganelli with prosciutto and truffle butter, for example—and main courses like oven-baked polenta accompanied by either sausage or mushrooms. Waits can be long, so try to come early or late, or grab one of the few bar seats for an inventive cocktail or a glass of Italian wine. Brunch is served on the weekends.
Mar 14, 2013
My spouse and I dined at Osteria Morini in the Little Italy/SoHo area for Sunday brunch in mid-December 2012. (Osteria Morini has a second location in Bernardsville, NJ.) We were some of the very first guests to arrive; however, the space filled quickly with other diners until every table was taken. (We even saw Kelly Ripa, her husband [Mark Consuelos], and their children dining while we were there.) We reserved our table using the Open Table reservation
system. The restaurant serves lunch (weekdays only), dinner daily, and brunch on weekends. We chose Osteria Morini for Sunday brunch because they served items other than just eggs and breakfast-y options on their menu. (We are not big breakfast-eaters for items like eggs and pancakes.) We particularly enjoyed the various crostinis available, especially the veal crudo. Both the physical space and the food style are rustic, setting a comfortable farmhouse atmosphere for the tasty cuisine. We have eaten at chef Michael White's more formal restaurant Marea, so this restaurant concept provides a nice contrast, with a more casual and more affordable menu options. The restaurant has a large bar towards the front, with reserved seating, and we can see why - if you are interested in salumi and cheese, it is sliced at the counter, providing some interesting entertainment for your meal. Michael White has the magic touch - we loved Marea and really enjoyed Osteria Morini! Next up: Ai Fiori at the Settai.