By Mike Cohen
Little Italy has a new restaurant called Osteria Pollino and from the time it first opened in October, the business has been booming!
Located at 251 rue Dante, veteran restaurateur Ted Dranias has partnered with Domenico Armeni and Donato Palazzo to make this the new “go-to” spot for Italian cuisine. The menu changes every week and you can see the different dishes at https://www.instagram.com/osteriapollino/
When I dropped by at a lunch hour to meet Dranias, Chef Armeni greeted us with a basket of bread, an appetizer of Fritto Misto – deep-fried calamari, shrimp and smelt- and delicious bowls of busiate pasta, with a braised rabbit in fresh tomato sauce.
Chef Armeni has a sumptuous arsenal of menu offerings, using recipes from the south and bringing them to a white table cloth experience. “All of our products are of the highest quality and locally sourced when possible,” says Donato.
Some of the early favorites for entrees are a warm cauliflower salad, with white anchovie vinaigrette; tuna tartare, sushi-grade bluefin tuna, with lemon dressing; grilled octopus, with a Nduja – pesto dressing on potato foam; seafood linguini ; bucatini with braised lamb; busiate alla trapanese; branzino on freola Sarda; lamb saddle with artichoke; and braised rabbit stuffed with bietola and olives.
The restaurant is housed at the locale formerly known as Cafe Via Dante. The partners undertook a significant renovation, gutting the place. Dranias actually purchased the shelving from the iconic Tony’s Shoes, which closed recently on Greene Avenue in Westmount. That material was used for the ceiling.
There is seating here for 50 people, plus seven at the bar.
Dranias owns four Petros Taverna restaurants. One in Little Italy will soon be accompanied by a Petros Express across the street. In November, Petros Fort Lauderdale is slated to debut.
It is open Tuesday to Friday from 11:30 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 10 pm, the latter also in effect for Saturdays. Reservations for private parties are being accepted for Sunday and Mondays.