|2657 Portage Bay East|
|Dinner, 5:30-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday|
|Lunch, 11:30-1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday|
|Chef di Cucina|
Osteria Fasulo is an upscale Italian restaurant. The vast majority of people who have eaten at the restaurant praise it as tasty (see comments below). Entrees are traditional Italian: primi are pasta and other starches, while secondi dishes are meat-centered. The food is presented attractively on large plates rather than just being functionally served. The dishes have the usual olive oil, eggplant, and tomatoes one would expect of a Mediterranean restaurant.
Osteria Fasulo's menu changes seasonally. In the past, the menu items tended to be more expensive, and it wouldn't have been unusual for some customers to pay $100 or more for dinner if they were inclined to splurge. The most expensive dish was $52 and appeared on the autumn menu of 2009. It was a pan-seared veal chop top with foie gras and black truffles ragout, served on a bed of fresh arugula. The item was taken off from the menu because of California Law prohibiting sales of Foie gras and all other items' prices were re-calibrated, albeit temporarily, to lure some business. It's currently (2012) pretty pricey for the Davis dining scene. Appetizers are $14-$25, salads are $10-$25. Primi (first course — can also be ordered alone as main course) is $16-$25 and secondi (second course — can also be ordered alone as main course) is $25-$35, and desserts are $8-$12. Note that these prices are for the dinner menu; lunch is less. They have a $ 15.00 3 course lunch special all year a round( salad or soup/special pasta and dessert). Of course, any wine you order can add to your bill substantially.
Fasulo's Osteria is located in Village Homes, the only restaurant to be so situated. There is an incredibly small interior and, in good weather, a large outdoor patio. They pick many of the vegetables from their own garden, which is generally quite colorful with Morning Glory and other plants. The menu is posted outside, next to the door. If you want to impress a date, or if your other is paying, this is the place to go. Keep in mind that this place is for those with a fat wallet, so if you or your other thinks McDonald's is pricey, someone is in for a shock.
"Osteria Fasulo" means a restaurant run by a Fasulo, like "Joe's Restaurant" in English, run by a Joe. The same owner opened another restaurant, Il Posto ("The Place"), in downtown Sacramento in August 2005, which closed early in 2006.
It is trying very hard to be in the same league as Bibas ? in Sacramento in terms of the quality of the food, although it is considerably higher priced when one takes into account that the servings at Osteria Fasulo are much, much smaller than those at Bibas. The good part is that, unlike Bibas where one needs a reservation, here you can always show up in shorts and flip-flops and tables are usually available. Of course, you also have to leave town for Bibas, both physically, and (given the laid back nature and no reservations needed) culturally. Plus, Fasulo's Osteria has colorful dog bowls, something Bibas doesn't have (shame on Bibas!).
Osteria Fasulo won the 2008 Souperbowl with their Roasted Tomato Soup (see the recipe below). They then won the 2009 Souperbowl with their "sensual" lobster bisque! And the 2011 with a cranberry beans soup.
Osteria Fasulo replaced Plumshire Inn.
Make It: Roasted Tomato Soup
From December 2008
This recipe, provided by Adam Walsworth, executive chef at Osteria Fasulo in Davis, took first prize at the 2008 Souper Bowl, a soup cook-off sponsored by the Davis Food Co-op. 3 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut in quarters 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup sugar 3 tablespoons salt 3 tablespoons butter 1 yellow onion, coarsely chopped 6 cloves garlic, minced 3 tablespoons flour 1 quart vegetable stock or broth 2 bunches fresh basil, chopped 1 cup heavy cream Salt and pepper Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sugar and salt. Spread out on a large baking sheet and roast in oven for 1 hour. Chop coarsely and set aside. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Add stock or broth and roasted tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cream and cook for 5 more minutes. (For a smoother soup, add an additional 1/4 cup of stock and purée in a food processor.) Remove from heat and add chopped basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.
Cozy Restaurants, Comforting Food
By Kira O'Donnell | From October 2008
As the long, hot days of summer give way to crisp autumn, thoughts turn toward comfort food. It’s time to move from summer’s light, refreshing dishes to more substantial, nourishing meals that will keep you warm through the winter. Here are some of the region’s coziest restaurants, experts at dishing out food that will make you feel all toasty inside—even when it’s cold outside.Osteria Fasulo Davis’ Osteria Fasulo is one of the most romantic restaurants in the region. Situated on the edge of a fecund community vegetable garden, it has a stunning outdoor courtyard bordered by trellised grapevines and punctuated by leafy trees strung with tiny lights. Indoors, the charming dining room features scarlet walls hung with striking artwork painted by owner Leonardo Fasulo and old black-and-white photographs of the Fasulo family. The menu is Italian, and you can’t go wrong with pasta, especially the handmade raviolis, with their silky exteriors and flavorful stuffings. It’s clear Leonardo Fasulo loves seafood, which pops up in his rich lasagna di mare (housemade pasta layered with seafood and béchamel sauce) and his hearty cioppino. The pesce del giorno (fish of the day) is also a good bet. On a recent visit, I tried the pan-roasted sea bass served on fabulous white beans. The restaurant also offers a nice selection of Italian wines. Guys, if you’re going to propose, this is the place to do it. 2657 Portage Bay East, Davis; (530) 758-1324; osteriafasulo.com
- Sacramento Magazine
- California Tomatoes
2009 Food review and a feature story about owner Leonardo Fasulo and his motivation for opening this Village Homes restaurant in Davis Life Magazine.
20 Sacramento Restaurants Featured In 2009 Zagat Survey
Local leaders and restaurants to celebrate the City’s first Zagat rankings
Sacramento, CA (November 4, 2008)—For the first time ever, Sacramento’s dining scene received recognition from the internationally recognized Zagat Survey. Sacramento’s top 20 restaurants, ranked by local consumers, are featured in Zagat’s 2009 America’s Top Restaurants Survey.
The Downtown Sacramento Partnership (DSP), Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau (SCVB), Sactown Magazine and California Restaurant Association (CRA) will honor the top 20 restaurants at a reception at The Firehouse Restaurant on November 6 at 3 pm.
The restaurants that appear in the 2009 survey include Biba Restaurant, Bidwell Street Bistro, Boulevard Bistro, Ella Dining Room & Bar, The Firehouse Restaurant, Frank Fat's, Hawks, The Ktichen, Kru, La Bonne Soupe Café. Lemon Grass Restaurant, Mason's, Mikuni Sushi, Mulvaney's Building & Loan, Osteria Fasulo, Paragary's Bar & Oven, Tower Café, Tuli Bistro, Waterboy Restaurant, and Zocalo
Local officials expect the inclusion of Sacramento to be boost for local tourism. "One of the key marketing messages that we use to sell Sacramento to the rest of the world is the great quality and diversity of our restaurant scene," said Steve Hammond, president & CEO of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau. "A third-party endorsement from a well-respected source like Zagat presents a great opportunity for this City and our organization will leverage that endorsement in our sales materials on a year-round basis."
Until recently, Sacramento was off Zagat’s radar despite the region’s diversity and growth. Getting the attention New-York based company was no easy task. Several years ago, a coalition represented by the DSP, SCVB, Metro Chamber, The Firehouse Restaurant and CRA approached Zagat to create a Sacramento guide to no avail. Sactown Magazine successfully picked up the conversation with Zagat. The magazine ran an article calling for action in their March/April 2009 issue, which ultimately lead to the local survey in May.
“We’ve finally received the recognition Sacramento deserves thanks to the collective efforts of Sactown Magazine, the CVB and local restaurants,” said Michael Ault, DSP executive director. “Inclusion in the America’s Top Restaurant Survey is an accomplishment that our city should be proud of and we’re looking forward to the release of the Sacramento Pocket Guide in January.”
About Zagat Known as the wildly popular “burgundy bible,” Zagat Survey is the world’s most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality. Unlike other guides that rely upon the opinions of a few critics, Zagat Survey content is based on the collective opinions of more than 300,000 savvy surveyors worldwide. The guides are built on the belief that consumers are best served when they have access to a variety of information resources from other avid consumers. The survey results are compiled into comprehensive, fun-to-read guidebooks that help consumers make quick, informed decisions.
The Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s mission is to establish downtown Sacramento as the vibrant business, cultural and entertainment destination in the Sacramento region through effective private-public collaboration to benefit residents, visitors and investors.
KCRA 2008 A-List Nomination
Osteria Fasulo was nominated for the 2008 KCRA 3 A-List, an annual contest for the best local businesses in the Sacramento area, under the "Best Italian" category. Visit the KCRA website to view the winners.
- Reviews from 2006 ~ 14 comments
- Reviews from 2007 ~ 16 comments
2008-02-05 01:23:44 A place that sells "foie gras" in Davis? And they haven't yet been picketed by P.E.T.A? Huh... Well if I ever get a date (like that's gonna happen anytime soon! HAH!!!), this'll be the place I'd pick. Better start saving now, I suppose. —thelonepiper555
2008-02-05 09:41:04 Osteria Fasulo is one of our standards for recruitment dinners. It is one of the best places to eat in Davis and you shouldn't trust any disrespectful reviews. But don't come here expecting to save either time or money. If your standard is a one-hour dinner for $25, then your expectations will put you in the mood to find fault with everything.
The last time that I was here, I had lobster ravioli and the chocolate creme brulee dessert. The ravioli was an A and the creme brulee was an A+. Is it worth it? Sometimes it is. The one big problem is that sometimes the dinner is too slow, even for the patient. If they could reduce the wait on busy nights, then the food would in my view justify the high prices.
2008-03-08 22:40:46 I went to Osteria Fasulo tonight for the first time. We were promptly seated (with reservations) and served a complimentary 1oz glass of prosecco. I ordered the carpaccio and the tenderloin (rare). My guests ordered the gnocchi. We shared a bottle of prosecco. Our final bill with tip was $156. Most of the food was great. The portions were much too small for my friend and I (we are weightlifters). The carpaccio had a very high moisture content. Carpaccio needs to be prepared from beef that has been aged (where the moisture content is decreased by evaporation/sublimation). This meat was not aged (unaged beef is pink, not deep red) and therefore the carpaccio was flavorless. The sauce with the carpaccio was also very flavorless. The carpaccio was not stuffed with lobster, I guess they changed the menu or something. The filet was served with two potato wedges and green beans. The green beans were excellent. I didn't get a chance to try the potatoes; my girlfriend snatched them away from me. The filet was not rare, it was medium/medium rare. I also noticed that the filet was not served as a steak, it was served in pieces. The gnocchi looked good, but there were only about 10 pieces in the dish. My guest was served a free dessert item for his birthday, and my girlfriend and I ordered a cannoli which was terrific. I won't be eating at this restaurant again, but not because the food and service weren't excellent, but because my appetite is far too robust for these portions. The bottom line? A lot of the food was great, but the carpaccio was completely unacceptable. —JackRoehrig
2008-03-17 10:58:22 My wife and I have eaten here a number of times for dinner over the years its been open. It is always quite a treat. Recently we went for a quick lunch and found that to be an excellent experience as well. If you want excellent food, and a good atmosphere, give them a try. Lunch time is great, as their menu is still quite good, but much easier on the wallet. —Aaron.Curtin
2008-05-06 09:11:25 My wife and I have been here numerous times over the past four or five years and while we usually spend more than we expected, we always leave feeling that it was worth it. We ate dinner here last Saturday night and though no one thing was perfect, the combination of the lovely seating out on the patio, the great food, the friendly staff, and the owner's attentiveness made it a perfect evening. Well worth the expense for us. —kieransdad
2008-06-06 08:52:40 This is a special dining experience that I always enjoy. The food is always wonderful. I recently went with a group of friends for dinner. I had the raviolois (yum) and the L’Insalata di Mare (extra yum). But, what makes this special is the atmosphere and the staff. We have always had great service and Leanardo always comes by to chat and enhance the experience. —LokiAbbi
2008-09-13 17:44:06 My review of this restaurant is long overdue, and so I cannot give specifics. Here's the impression that lingers: a relaxed meal on a lovely patio with our dog curled at our feet, slowly working our way through several courses of delectable food, followed by a stroll on the greenbelt. Definitely a place to go for a special occasion or even just a special treat. —CovertProfessor
2008-10-26 15:23:18 I came here with a friend and my Godfather, who (thankfully) paid for the dinner. We ordered pasta and soup to start and each of us had entrees after. I ordered the salmon, my Godfather the filet mignon, and my friend the lobster/spinach/cheese ravioli. It was really windy, so we decided to eat inside.
It's expensive, especially on a college budget. For a special occassion or a treat, it's a pretty good choice. Their gnocchi is prepared differently than what you normally see (almost baked looking?), but the sauce is deliciously cheesy and the browning adds a satisfying crunch. The salmon was cooked perfectly, with a nice delicate sauce and tasty asparagus to go with it. The ravioli had a great, also cheesy taste, but didn't taste very much of lobster. My godfather especially requested that the filet mignon be cooked cut in half, and it came out delicious. The corn chowder soup was watery and not very tasty.
The service was great here. We wanted a larger amount of gnocchi to start than they offer in a regular order, but we didn't want to order double. They were willing to negociate "an order and a half" with us, but really they gave us about double the amount anyways. Also, when the waitor saw that we didn't like our soup, he offered to replace it with something else, on the house. Very professional. —BrandonWong
2009-01-16 12:14:28 Our absolute favorite upscale restaurant in Davis, and we've tried them all.
Patio setting is casual but lovely on a summer evening, with a very Tuscan feel to it. Inside is more formal. And not downtown = no parking nightmares!
Dress code outside is super casual; Village Homers are comfortable showing up in khaki shorts.
Servers are highly knowledgeable and helpful, friendly but not overbearing.
Prices are definitely up there, but it's a great splurge. Our server suggested coming just for dessert and a glass of wine to enjoy the setting. For the money, I would rather spend it here than at hushed, formal Seasons; hit-or-miss Mustard Seed; or Soga's with its bar scene.
Portions are not huge, but the food is rich, filling and seasonal. We've never been disappointed with a selection, only with the hefty price tag.
2009-03-01 20:16:44 When I heard the best restaurant in Davis had a new lunch special, I knew finally, it was time. Never having been able to afford this restaurant before, I was very excited to experience it such good food. I was not disappointed. For $20 you get soup or salad, a pasta entree, a dessert AND a glass of wine. Three courses for $20... Since I knew they had recently won the local Souper Bowl soup competition, I ordered that of course. I had the homemade spinach pasta (divine!) and my date had the pesto linguine with the most fresh, crispy vegetables you could imagine. Our server was very friendly and knowledgible. I was glad I didn't have plans after lunch because I would have been late. Other than that I was happy with the value I got and I WILL come back for dinner. On my next special occasion. —TCSmith
2009-09-08 13:06:06 I can't believe it took me 8 years in the area to come here! We went here last weekend for my birthday dinner and I was not disappointed. We had the tomato mozarella salad, halibut, and the bolognese lasanga, followed by tiramisu. Everything was excellent and I actually appreciated a place that had amazing food without a stuffy environment. The outside dining is especially casual. My only complaint was that I didn't see any wines by the glass (nor did I ask), but just ordered a whole bottle instead. Anyone know their corkage fee? They were out of the wine we ordered, so we had to get a more expensive variety, but I could definietly see the value of BYOW if their corkage is reasonable. I'd highly recommend Osteria Fasulo. —AmLin
2009-11-18 22:44:14 I went here for a birthday dinner with my boyfriend and his parents, and it was by far the tastiest meal I've had in Davis. The dishes we had included the frog legs (with polenta and marinara), gnocchi (pan-fried, has amazing texture), risotto, vegeterian dish (red pepper stuffed with magic), fish dish (pistachio-encrusted salmon), carpaccio, filet mignon, cannoli, and tiramisu. The textures and presentation of the foods was just soo perfect. The place has a beautiful patio and cozy indoor area, and very pleasant service. For wines <$50, they offer wine by the glass. Though we came here for the first time as a special occasion, I'm definitely excited to come back for the (cheaper) lunch or on another occasion. —lingawonga
2010-01-21 21:02:27 I've never dine here, but one night I was craving for crème brulée and called and ask them whether they do a take out. They said yes, but told me to "bring the container back" and I was like "huh?" Turned out the crème brulée was baked in the ramekin (duh, of course). They were so nice about it when I brought it back the next day. Only in a small town! —LeeY
2010-05-11 16:54:44 Went there last Thursday. So good. Our party had the lobster and beef carpaccio and the baked oysters for starters. Really good. The dinner was delicious. This truly is the best spot to have dinner in Davis. We sat outside in the patio and Leanardo stopped by and chatted with us, which made the evening even better. It is true that this is not an inexpensive place to eat. It is, however, a wonderful treat. I need to go there more. —LokiAbbi
2010-06-24 09:39:06 We went here last night for our anniversary dinner. Scallops, risotto and chicken dish were fabulous as usual, but we did have one low moment. A fellow courtyard diner brought her very well-behaved lab to accompany her. The chef came out and made her tie him up. Yeah, I get it, but she was so well-behaved! On a side note, I found out they put bread in their parsley-olive oil dipping sauce, so gluten free eaters beware. —AmLin
2010-07-12 02:54:01 This is definitely a dog-friendly joint. We went there a couple of weeks back and ate on their patio. There were only two other couples eating there and a lone woman who had a nice white lab with her. As soon as our dinner arrived, the lab was there, drooling and looking for food. It was a nice dog, but the food cost an arm and a leg and came in lilliputian quantities that it was hard for us to share with the dog. We spent the evening holding our forks in one hand and patting the dog with the other. It's now hard to even remember what we ate, since the dog became the center of our attention. I have a suggestion for the Fasulo owners: cut the menu prices by 50% and double the quantity of food you serve, and also add a dog food menu alongside the regular menu. I'll bet you'll double your clientele very quickly, especially from the sparse lot that we found there when we ate there, with dog owners flocking to your patio. The patio, by the way, is quite pleasant, and ideally suited to a dog-friendly atmosphere. —JohnBB
2010-08-23 09:26:12 The Tuesday night wine tasting with appetizers is such a perfect way to enjoy an evening. The patio is the best outdoor dining in Davis. The service is wonderful and the appetizers are free with a purchase of a glass of wine. They also have a light meal menu that goes well if want a little more than the appetizers. —LokiAbbi
2011-04-28 11:45:34 On a basic hit-or-miss scale, maybe last night, this restaurant was serving a miss. My date and I first started with the Carpaccio: it was saturated in olive oil, delimiting the flavor of the lobster and cutlets. Next the soup, a tomato bisque, which we pleasantly enjoyed (delicious) and the highlight of the meal. For primi, we had the special, ratatouille risotto, which was full of flavor but the arborio was under cooked. For our main course, she ordered a ricotta-filled ravioli, tasty at first but became overpowering by the end; I requested the cioppino, which had a excellent base, shrimp, and lobster, but the mussels, clams, and scallops were over cooked and mussels specifically were not fresh (having the shelfed, overly fishey after taste). The wine paring was right on (I forget the specifics of the wine but that is a good thing).
The reason it was a miss, for the $100 price point and clientele they are attempting to bring in (foodies), I feel everything needed to be dead on. I could understand if the house was booked, but it was half full last night, so that kitchen was not stretched and should have been able to get everything at least par. A million points for presentation, but it was simply lacking consistency and the flavor. Maybe I would be less harsh if the dinner did not come out to ~$160; at that price, I was just expecting more.
Okay for Davis, sub-standard for Bay Area Cuisine. —ebespiritu
2011-05-16 13:16:20 I went with my boyfriend recently on a Saturday night at around 8pm for dessert. Half of the restaurant was empty but the host told us it would be a 15 minute wait until we could be seated due to the dinner rush. It seemed like they just didn't want to seat us because we were getting dessert. Perhaps if you are only going for dessert, don't tell them that and maybe they will seat you. We left to go to Seasons instead, which actually turned into a really fun night downtown. —ymdean
2011-05-23 20:12:06 Our group of four had the lunch special. On arrival we were greeted and seated on the patio by Leonardo Fasulo. Our server was Valentina who told us she is majoring in International Relations at UCD. Valentia impressed us when she unfolded the cloth napkins and placed them on our laps. She was very familiar with the menu and made suggestions when asked. Valentina brought us complimentary prociutto-wrapped cantaloupe and warm bread and Salsa Verde before taking our order. The following is what we ordered along with letter grades given each item. House Salad: Mixed green salad with Parmesan cheese crisps, tomatoes and radishes. B+ Soup of the Day: Cream of Asparagus with truffle oil. A Gnocchi alla Marinara topped with cheese. B+ Spaghetti con Polpette with three meatballs. A- Past of the Day: Ravioli with asparagus in white cream sauce. A Dessert: Crepes filled with strawberry custard. A-
2011-06-14 19:38:49 OK, so the location is somewhat inconvenient. But weigh that against the restaurant as a whole: Consistently delicious food. Well thought out menu. Great lunch. Lovely patio. Even dog friendly. It is worth taking the time to find next time you are in the mood for fine dining. —pilotgeek
2011-06-27 17:05:53 Checked out the wine bar and tapas deal which is Tues-Sat from 5:30 to 7:30. The owner makes his own Sangria,which was very tasty. He also has a choice of 7 tapas for $5. What a bargain. Not your typical appetizers. Sooo, good. Nice options for vegetarians as well. They have long wooden tables to encourage folks to sit together. This will be a weekly trip for sure. Check it out because you can't beat the food and the atmosphere on the patio. —LokiAbbi
2012-08-16 20:39:35 I live very near this restaurant. I believe this is the best restaurant in Davis. The very personal service they provide, the atmosphere, and the amazing food. It really is a little piece of Italy. —Sherri
2012-09-16 08:45:46 Three of us went there for the first time last night, and had a WONDERFUL evening. All of the food and wine was good, and some was marvelous: the tomato bisque soup, the swordfish roulade, the salmon tartare, the smoked trout, and the creme brulee. Superb service by Patricia and lovely ambiance. We will go there as often as our limited budget will allow! —Chamoudah
2012-09-28 17:27:57 Atilio....Have I told you lately how much I love you?? —ashleyinthemist
2012-10-11 06:22:17 Owner berated the staff right in front of us at dinner. Incredibly inappropriate and unprofessional. —DavisLurker
2013-02-27 17:29:36 I just love this place, its my 3rd time there in a month and as Italian i can tell you that the food is really great and remind me home. thank you guys —mikebennamer
2014-12-12 16:23:26 I'd passed this restaurant literally hundreds of times on my way to school and home again back in the late 90s. Hadn't actually eaten there until last night.
Pricey, but tasty. 10 tables in the restaurant last night. Total. 10. Didn't know I could have brought my dog with me, but I'll get over that.
Overall in the future it'll be a place at which to celebrate things...dog included. —DavidBarnum
Are you saying that there were dogs there in December? Is the outdoor patio heated? --cp
2014-12-15 22:18:50 Artfully presented food, laboriously prepared, but tiny portions, and just ok considering the prices. Our server was I'm sure well intentioned and was familiar with the offerings, but tried to upsell us repeatedly - kind of intrusive, interrupting our meal more often than should be. The diner who is at all value conscious will probably want to pass on this one. —grzyb
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