[Naples, Florida] Osteria Tuila

Situated on the city’s main drag of 5th Avenue South, the Osteria is big and noisy. And it’s turning out some very aspirational Italian and Italianesque food. For instance, there was home made fennel sausage, paired with perfectly cooked lentils. And when have sausage and lentils been other than a great match?

The other starter was a couple of really well made arancini – the rice balls enclosing an excellent beef ragu, enhanced with peas and a little mozzarella. They say on a good tomato sauce which kept everything moist. Really good. No, I mean it – really good.

They have a handful of pizza on the menu and the one they call the “Classic” is just that. A classic Margherita – a delicious crisp base, excellent tomato sauce, mozzarella and a good sprinkling of basil. You need nothing more from a pizza.

The other main was, perhaps, the most complex of the four dishes we ate. Or perhaps the most simple – it’s difficult to tell where’s skill in the kitchen with Italian food. So, several ravioli, stuffed with fontina lined the plate and lovely in themselves. But the sauce was wonderful – powerful flavours froma wild mushroom mix, together with the gentle savouriness of braised rabbit. Really clever, really good.

We passed on dessert but did have excellent coffee, as you might expect in an Italian gaff of this quality. Service was attentive but not overly so. Our waitress was welcoming, really on the ball and very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the food she was serving.

A great evening, even though the overall noise levels made it difficult to have a conversation , without joining in the shouting .