Coco Osteria (Lunch)

The Basics

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Cuisine: Italian Cafe
Ambiance: Modern Simplicity
Address: 214 North Tryon Street Suite 3, Charlotte, NC 28202
Neighborhood: Uptown
Phone: 704.344.8878
Web Site: http://cocoosteria.com/
Must Taste (Lunch):

  • Secondi: Pollo Paillard – $11 – “Pan seared chicken breast, fresh spinach, apple wood bacon, tomatoes, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette” (the online menu says $10, but I’m pretty sure it was $11)
  • Dessert: Tiramisu

Pricing Samples (Lunch):

  • Antipasto e Insalata: $5 – 9
  • Paste: $12 – 14
  • Secondi: $11 – 14

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Best For
: Date, Business Lunch
What to Wear: nice casual (not tennis shoes) to dressy
Fave Points: Authenticity, simple menu with many delicious options
My Fave Dish: Tiramisu – I love tiramisu and I’ve tried many from different restaurants. This one was really good…I liked the little (I think they were) chocolate shavings on top and the creamy texture paired with those coffee-soaked lady fingers. The creamy layer was very thick, but good-thick.

Menu pricing and availability subject to change.

My Dish

I took my foodie friend out for a chic lunch to celebrate her last week of work before she starts a new project. I let her choose the spot, and she picked Coco Osteria in uptown Charlotte, NC. I was really excited about the choice because I’ve been dying to try this spot out for awhile now.

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Like many restaurants uptown, Coco Osteria had a decidedly modern feel to it. I liked how the restaurant had lots of tall windows that let lots of natural light in and an open, airy ceiling area. It felt very fresh inside.

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As I mentioned above, the menu had lots of great options. I think I could have eaten anything on the menu and been happy. The pasta of the day had shrimp and crab, which I thought sounded like an interesting option. I kind of wanted to go for the Chicken Marsala, but since this was my friend’s day, I let her pick, and she chose a different chicken dish (one I was also eyeing).

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After ordering, we were quickly served some warm bread with a bean mixture.

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I love these types of bean-based-bread-toppings…they are a nice change of pace from the usual dips and butters. Don’t get me wrong, I love bread and butter, too, but I also like some variety.

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My friend and I each started with the soup of the day – Pasta e Fagioli, which we had topped with a friendly offer of fresh ground black pepper.

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Inside was a thick mixture of beans, veggies, pasta and some sort of meat (prosciutto maybe?). The soup was great with just a wee dash of salt. The soup was really filling, and I almost felt too full to eat the rest of the meal. The key word here is “almost.” I was, of course, very much looking forward to the entree.

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For our entree, we shared the Chicken Paillard (“Pan seared chicken breast, fresh spinach, apple wood bacon, tomatoes, tossed with balsamic vinaigrette”). If you’ve never had a “paillard” dish, it is a meat that is very flat – usually pounded to almost a 1/4 inch thickness, which kind of reminds me of a chicken cutlet.

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I served myself 1/2 of the entree. The chicken appeared to be very lightly breaded with some herbs and was quite tasty. The balsamic vinaigrette on the spinach and tomato pieces was nice and light, yet flavorful. I also enjoyed the little salty bites of bacon that made their way to my fork every once in awhile. This was a great lunch entree if you’re looking for something on the lighter side or one with a simple combination of flavors. I was certainly happy to not eat something so heavy I’d want to nap once I got back to the office.

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Although we were pretty full from the bread, soup, and entree, us foodies saved room for dessert. I knew I wasn’t leaving the place without it. We both decided to share the Tiramisu, which turned out to be an excellent choice. The creamy layers were nice and thick and the coffee-soaked ladyfingers helped balance out that richness. My fave part of the dessert was probably the chocolate shavings on top.

Final Dish

I really enjoyed my trip to Coco Osteria. I could see myself hitting this spot up every so often for those days when I have time to take a long lunch (1 – 1 1/2 hours). It took about 1 1/2 hours from the time I left the office to when I got back, though my friend and I weren’t exactly in a rush the day we went. I’m sure if you communicated to your waiter at the beginning of the meal that you’re in a rush, they could get you out sooner.

If the weather is nice, check out the patio, which features little cafe tables with blue umbrellas – kinda cute.

If you don’t want to worry about possibly waiting for a table, go early – the place gets pretty packed at lunch.

Hit up Coco Osteria if you’re looking for a quality meal with an upscale, Italian cafe feel and menu to match. Whether you’re looking for a classic favorite like lasagna or you’re in the mood to experiment with their special of the day, you’re sure to find something you like.

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