The Italian Osteria & Cheesebar is now open in Walnut Grove, Langley. This is the first Italian concept restaurant for Joseph Richard Group (JRG), whose other establishments include 14 public houses and three S+L Kitchen & Bar restaurants. It’s a good addition to the area as there aren’t that many options in this area.
The menu was designed by JRG Director of Culinary Operations Matthew Stowe (Top Chef Canada winner) and the JRG Culinary team comprised of Executive Chef Andy Slinn, Corporate Chef David Jorge (MasterChef Canada winner) as well as the Chef of The Italian, Jason Harper. They also have vegetarian and gluten-free menus for those with dietary restrictions.
We were invited for a VIP tasting to get a feel for their restaurant concept a few days before their grand opening.
The 180-seat restaurant has some booth seating as well as tables for small to large groups. The interior is dim with dark coloured furniture. It makes for a cozy intimate atmosphere. There is a long bar on the other side of the restaurant if you want to see all the action from the bartenders.
To pair with Italian food, they have a range of drinks on the menu like wine, cocktails, beers and non-alcoholic options.
We started the evening with the antipasti, which has carefully selected local and Italian meats and cheeses, marinated artichokes, olives, eggplant caponata, Italian crackers and toasted focaccia. They have a cheese menu dedicated to different styles of cheeses too.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
There are 3 plump slow cooked house made meatballs, San Marzano tomato sauce, seasoned ricotta, Grana Padano, and fresh basil.
The Beehive Pizza
This unique pizza has spicy Calabrian salami, honey, mozzarella, Grana Padano, San Marzano tomato sauce. The honey is definitely different as I’ve never had honey on pizza till now.
The pasta is linguine, local garlic, fresh manila clams, white wine, parsley, and Calabrian chili.
Braised Shortrib Pappardelle
This has San Marzano tomato sauce, wilted baby arugula, and Grana Padano.
Local Butternut Squash Ravioli
Brown butter sauce, house made ravioli, roasted mushrooms, caramelized squash, and Grana Padano. Of all the pasta dishes we tried, this one was my favourite.
This is one exciting dessert on the menu, You will find lady finger cookies, vanilla mascarpone cream, and bitter chocolate crumble. They pour espresso anglaise over the chocolate shell until the chocolate melts to reveal the ingredients inside.
Nonna’s Lemon Tart
This deconstructed lemon tart has lemon custard, coconut crumble, vanilla bean gelato, meringue, and basil. A tart refreshing dessert option.
The Italian Osteria & Cheesebar is open seven days a week for dinner only (5pm to midnight), with plans to open for lunch within the first few months. My favourite dish was the Local Butternut Squash Ravioli and the tiramisu sphere is fun and interactive. I wouldn’t drive very far to go eat at The Italian, but it’s a good addition to the neighbourhood to give people more options. I would recommend getting a bunch of dishes to share family-style.
20330 88 Ave, Langley, BC